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Cablegate: Turkmenistan: Positive Start to the U.S.-Turkish

VZCZCXRO2211
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAH #0330/01 0720314
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 120314Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0417
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 3490
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1308
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1175
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 1744
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2307
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ASHGABAT 000330

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD, EUR/SCE, EUR/ACE, DRL
AID/W FOR EE/EA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM EAID KDEM TU TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN: POSITIVE START TO THE U.S.-TURKISH
COOPERATION DIALOGUE

REF: A) ASHGABAT 0161

B) SECSTATE 07210

1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: USAID Country Representative met on March 11
with Turkish International Development Agency (TIKA) Coordinator in
Turkmenistan and the Turkish Embassy in Ashgabat's Deputy Chief of
Mission to explore and identify possible assistance cooperation
activities in Turkmenistan. In a positive and productive initial
meeting, several specific areas of potential cooperation were
identified, principally in the health and agricultural sectors. In
the coming weeks, USAID will organize meetings between TIKA and
selected USAID implementing partners to discuss concrete ways in
which TIKA and USAID's partners can work together. END SUMMARY.

3. (SBU) Following a February 1 meeting between the U.S. and
Turkish Chiefs of Mission and Deputy Chiefs of Mission during which
both sides agreed to pursue cooperation on assistance at the working
level (Ref. A), USAID began efforts to arrange a meeting to discuss
potential joint activities. USAID Country Representative met on
March 11 with Turkish International Development Agency (TIKA)
Coordinator and Turkish Embassy in Ashgabat's Deputy Chief of
Mission to explore and identify possible assistance cooperation
activities in Turkmenistan. The TIKA Coordinator in Turkmenistan
asked USAID to lead the discussion, which ultimately resulted in the
areas of interest listed below.

PREVENTING AVIAN INFLUENZA (AI)

4. (U) Both sides recognized that their governments place a high
priority on preventing Avian Influenza in Turkmenistan. From
Turkey's perspective, in addition to sharing potential bird
migration routes with Turkmenistan, a TIKA-funded poultry project in
Tejen was closed by the government due to perceived risks from AI.


5. (U) USAID/W recently launched the STOP AI program, which will
support AI prevention activities in Turkmenistan by working with the
State Veterinary Service. Representatives of the implementing
partner, DAI/Winrock International, are in Ashgabat currently to
identify potential areas of activity, principally with the State
Veterinary Service. Upon completion of the USAID mission later this
week, USAID will share with TIKA information on possible AI-related
activities with the veterinary service. From its side, TIKA agreed
to inquire with Ankara whether it would be able to participate in
AI-related activities through provision of equipment, training or
other inputs.

SUPPORTING FAMILY MEDICINE TRAINING

6. (U) Through its partner, the American International Health
Alliance (AIHA), USAID in close cooperation with the Ministry of
Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan (MOHMI) previously
established training facilities and provided various training
courses on Family Medicine, Health Management topics, and Women's
Health issues to instructors from the project sites both within and
outside of Turkmenistan, including USA, Kazakhstan, Georgia, and
Ukraine.

7. (U) In response to the request of MOHMI, AIHA equipped project
sites with computers, office equipment, Internet connection, and
various training aids for both clinical and non-clinical purposes.
Partners and experts of AIHA assist their Turkmen partners to adapt
international guidelines, training programs, and related
evidence-based strategies and standards to incorporate them in their
curricula and training plans.

8. (U) To build on these efforts, TIKA expressed a willingness to
consider sending doctors to Turkey for further training in family
medicine, and will consult with Ankara. USAID proposed to arrange a
meeting between TIKA and its health program management specialist in

ASHGABAT 00000330 002 OF 003


Ashgabat to further discuss how such cooperation might work.

IMPROVING MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH

9. (U) Beginning January 1, 2007, all medical institutions in
Turkmenistan shifted to the live birth definitions recommended by
the World Health Organization. The transition to the WHO recommended
definition of live births means a step away from the former Soviet
recommendations. This decision by the Government of Turkmenistan
was a key step toward improving new-born care and survival and is
expected to help to reduce infant and child mortality. USAID has
supported Turkmenistan's transition to the international standards
of live birth, along with a variety of other donors, such as UNICEF,
the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Population Fund
(UNFPA), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC). These international agencies support the government efforts
at national and sub-national levels through institutional capacity
building of managers and academia at medical educational
institutions and through introduction into pre-service curricula.

10. (U) TIKA expressed an interest in supplying equipment, such as
incubators, to equip maternal care facilities in Turkmenistan, which
would supplement ongoing USAID-funded training programs. If such
equipment is not produced in Turkey, then possible interest to
support training courses for doctors could be considered. As a
next step, USAID's health program management specialist in Ashgabat
will meet with TIKA to discuss in greater detail how potential
cooperation might work. TIKA agreed to consider options for
cooperation in this area via either equipment provision or training.


INTRODUCING MODERN GREENHOUSE TECHNOLOGIES

11. (U) TIKA expressed interest in USAID's ongoing activities that
support the dissemination of new greenhouse technologies. A
demonstration greenhouse in Gorjaw village (Ahal province) was built
in an existing greenhouse production area to show the potential of
new production technologies and possible diversification from the
existing ones. The demonstration greenhouse was built with several
features new to Turkmen farmers: a higher roof, drip irrigation
system, multiple-source heating, and improved ventilation systems.
USAID supported a study-tour to Turkey in 2007 to learn about modern
greenhouse technologies in use there. The project organizes field
days for farmers to observe these improved features, and the
greenhouse is being used as a training center by USAID projects to
teach greenhouse vegetable producers how to increase yields. So
far, at least five field days have been organized and more than 100
farmers trained since November 2007.

12. (U) As a next step, USAID proposed to arrange a meeting
between TIKA, Winrock, and USAID's economic program management
specialist in Ashgabat to discuss further how such cooperation might
work within the framework of USAID's agricultural programs in
Turkmenistan implemented by Winrock.

INCREASING PISTACHIO PRODUCTION

13. (U) USAID was interested to learn about TIKA's project
supporting pistachio nut production. Since TIKA has been working
with groups of pistachio farmers, USAID was willing to consider ways
in which it might support these existing groups of farmers through
technical assistance from its Farmer-to-Farmer program or the
Agricultural Linkages (AgLinks) project, both implemented by Winrock
International. The AgLinks project works to increase agricultural
productivity in Turkmenistan (and Central Asia) by helping
private-sector firms and farmers:

-- improve market-driven agricultural production;
-- develop key market-linking agri-businesses; and
-- develop local capacity to understand, analyze and respond to
market opportunities through marketing and market information
support.

ASHGABAT 00000330 003 OF 003

14. (U) As a next step, USAID agreed to arrange a meeting among
Winrock, USAID, and TIKA to discuss opportunities for cooperation.
USAID's economic program management specialist in Ashgabat will
participate on behalf of USAID.

15. (SBU) COMMENT: This was a productive meeting for both sides.
In addition to specific areas of possible cooperation that were
discussed, the Turkish side learned about the extent of the USG's
development cooperation in Turkmenistan. Future meetings will allowan opportunity to explore the areas identified above in greater
detail. We should expect slow steps toward cooperation at first, as
each side gains a better understanding of the other's interests and
policies, but this worthwhile engagement also presents the potential
to bring TIKA into closer contact with the wider international
development community in Turkmenistan. As it stands now, TIKA is
not a visible player in donor circles, but appeared to be willing to
consider such opportunities. END COMMENT.

HOAGLAND

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