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Cablegate: Blue Lantern Level 3: Pre-License End-Use Check On

VZCZCXYZ0010
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAK #0017 0041208
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041208Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4833

UNCLAS ANKARA 000017

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

PM/DTCC - BLUE LANTERN COORDINATOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETTC TU KOMC
SUBJECT: BLUE LANTERN LEVEL 3: PRE-LICENSE END-USE CHECK ON
LICENSE 05-050075628

REF: A. STATE 164844 (07)
B. STATE 217260 (05)
C. STATE 140478 (06)
D. ANKARA 502 (07)
E. ANKARA 6252 (06)

1. This is an action request. Please see paragraph 6.

2. Per ref a. we met with Mechanical and Chemical Industries
Corporation (MKEK) Director of Marketing and Export Akif
Akgul on January 3, 2008 to discuss case number 05-050075628
related to an order for approximately one thousand Smith and
Wesson handguns.

3. Akgul confirmed that MKEK is a state-owned company which
falls under the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM)
in the Ministry of Defense. MKEK was established in 1950
and is one of the leading defense companies in Turkey. MKEK
is the sole seller of imported handguns and rifles in Turkey,
a responsibility that SSM assigned the company. The sole
point of sales for imported handguns is at MKEK headquarters,
located in Tandogan, Ankara. Imported handguns are stored on
site in a secured facility that is guarded around the clock
by several layers of security. Akgul also stated that
individuals seeking to purchase an imported weapon must first
obtain a purchasing license from the Ministry of Interior.
The Ministry of Interior approves the licenses only after
conducting a criminal background check on the applicant.
Once the license is obtained, an individual would apply to
MKEK to purchase an imported gun, and will be notified once
the type of weapon requested is in stock. Upon purchasing
the weapon from MKEK, the individual must register with and
apply for a handgun user license from the provincial Security
Directorate. Individuals are permitted to own at most two
handguns. These licenses must be renewed annually by the gun
owner. Once the two-gun limit has been reached, a gun owner
can only purchase another gun by turning in a gun that was
previously purchased. Gun owners may purchase up to 200
rounds of ammunition per year. Akgul said he is familiar
with the restrictions governing the import of U.S. Munitions
List (USML) commodities, and stated that the re-exporting of
imported handguns by individuals is prohibited under Turkish
law.

4. Akgul stated that the amount of weapons in the order
reflect the projected sales of each type of handgun over the
course of the year. Akgul estimated the total number of
imported guns sold in all of Turkey at about 4000 per year.
Although Akgul was courteous and cooperative throughout our
meeting, he expressed frustration that this was the third
time in two years that he has met with embassy officials to
discuss the status of MKEK and the controls that are in place
to satisfy the restrictions associated with USML commodities.
He also stated that none of the orders that MKEK had placed
with Smith and Wesson over the past three years have been
delivered. We confirmed that there were at least two other
occasions in the past three years when we conducted
pre-license end-use checks on MKEK (refs b and c), one of
which involved an order with Smith and Wesson (ref. b).

5. Based on reporting in ref. d and e, and the fact that
MKEK is a well-established, government-owned entity that is
the sole authorized point of sales for all imported handguns
in Turkey, and that there are robust controls established to
limit ownership of these weapons to vetted individuals, Post
believes the proposed sale meets the appropriate end-use
standards.

6. Action request: We would appreciate PM/DTCC confirmation
whether the licenses in refs b and c were approved. We also
request that PM/DTCC no longer require pre-license end-use
checks on handgun orders by MKEK.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey

MCELDOWNEY

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