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Cablegate: Turkmenistan: U.S. Company to Erect World's

VZCZCXRO0472
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAH #0483/01 1080932
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 170932Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0621
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 0304
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 3645
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1463
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1330
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 1899
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2423

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASHGABAT 000483

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, EUR/CARC, EEB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON ETRD SCUL TU AJ TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN: U.S. COMPANY TO ERECT WORLD'S
TALLEST FLAG POLE IN ASHGABAT

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. PRESIDENT

2. (SBU) Turkmenistan is home to the world's biggest carpet
-- a fact certified by the Guinness Book of World Records and
not particularly surprising given the world renown of Turkmen
carpets. Soon, albeit briefly, Turkmenistan also will be
home to the world's tallest flag pole, thanks to the American
company, Trident Support, whose managing director briefed
EmbOffs April 17 on this unusual project. It was
commissioned by the Turkish construction company, Polimeks,
as a birthday gift for President Berdimuhamedov. The flag
pole (with a flag, of course) will be located in front of the
National Museum on Archibil Avenue, not far from the U.S.
Embassy housing compound, and will be presented to the
president on his birthday, June 29. An official from the
Guinness Book of World Records will come to certify it when
it is commissioned.

A COMPANY IS BORN

3. (SBU) According to the managing director, Trident Support
is the only company that makes giant, world-record flag
poles. It all started in Abu Dhabi several years ago when
the managing director worked for Sheikh Abdullah. One day,
the Sheikh decided he wanted the world's tallest flag pole,
and so the managing director built it (369 feet). As time
went by, various visitors from other countries came, admired
the flag pole, and wanted one of their own. The Sheikh gave
the managing director his blessing to start the company,
which is based now in Dubai.

THE ASHGABAT FLAG POLE

4. (SBU) The Ashgabat flag pole, made from 150 tons of
steel, will be 399 feet tall with a 105 ft. by 156 ft. flag.
The base of the pole is 7.8 feet and the diameter is three
feet. It will cost $1 million (paid in Euros, so the cost
may even be higher when finally paid), which the managing
director said makes it one of the cheaper poles. In fact, it
is a bare-bones model. Polimeks was unwilling to spring for
the man basket (for bringing people up and down the pole),
laser light system at the top, and camera, which are usually
standard on the poles. In addition, Trident Support will
throw in three flags for free, despite the difficulty of
producing a large flag as detailed as Turkmenistan's with its
intricate strip depicting the carpet patterns of the five
provinces. Each flag costs approximately $15,000 and lasts
about a month. The company will have to bring in a crane
from Turkey, since none of the cranes currently in
Turkmenistan are capable of raising the flag pole.

NOT NUMBER ONE FOR LONG

5. (SBU) Alas, the glory of having the world's tallest flag
pole will be fleeting. The company will erect an even taller
one (483 feet) two months later in Baku. The Azeri
government will not scrimp and will pay $4.2 million for its
flag pole. The Baku flag pole will also be 9 feet wider than
Turkmenistan's.

6. (SBU) COMMENT: We are curious how President
Berdimuhamedov will react when he finds out that he didn't
get all the trimmings and, even worse, that his pole will be
overtaken by the Azeris. Of course, it could mean repeat
business here for Trident Support if flag-pole envy takes
over and the Turkmen decide they want to take back the title
from the Azeris as possessors of "world's tallest flag pole."
Or maybe Berdimuhamedov will console himself with the new TV
tower that is to be completed (also by Polimeks) for the 20th
anniversary of Turkmenistan's independence. Located on a
southern foothill overlooking Ashgabat, the structure will be
about 800 feet tall and is projected to cost about 137

ASHGABAT 00000483 002 OF 002


million euros. END COMMENT.
HOAGLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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