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Cablegate: Istanbul's Miniature Oecd: Encouraging Private

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A


2. (SBU) SUMMARY: Officials at Istanbul's Center for Private
Sector Development, a joint undertaking of the OECD and
Turkish International Cooperation Administration (TICA),
outlined an ambitious program of seminars and programs for
next year in recent meetings with Pol/Econ Section Chief and
Econ Specialist. The center seeks to encourage the
development of a vibrant and sustainable private sector in
target regions through programs focusing on such themes as
encouraging foreign direct investment, enterprise finance and
financial sector development, investment and agribusiness,
and rule of law and anticorruption efforts. In addition, a
handful of Turkey-specific activities are planned, including
an assessment of regulatory reform in Turkey (the subject of
a major series of OECD studies last year) and several
sectoral workshops, organized in cooperation with the
Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO) As in the past, the
center will focus on bringing together a range of government
officials from transition economies to share experiences and
focus on best practices. In effect, Center Manager Engin
Goksu stressed, the center functions as a "miniature OECD",
focusing on the Southeastern European, Black Sea, Caucasus
and Central Asian regions, but also including Russia, Eastern
Europe and Mongolia. While primarily funded by the OECD and
TICA, the Center is also seeking enhanced cooperation with
bilateral donors active in these areas, as well as with
potential corporate sponsors of specific programs. End

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3. (SBU) A Turkish/OECD Partnership: Pol/Econ Section Chief
and Economic Specialist recently toured the spacious offices
and conference facilities of Istanbul's "Center for Private
Sector Development" in the downtown Eminonu district,
overlooking the Golden Horn and Bosphorus. The new
facilities, which the center moved into last year, permit it
to organize conferences on site, obviating the need to rent
more expensive facilities at local hotels. TICA and the OECD
jointly support the center's activities, with Turkey paying
for the Istanbul facilities for the center, as well as
covering lodging and per diem costs for conference and
seminar participants. The OECD largely covers the costs of
the materials and experts who organize the seminars (Center
Manager Goksu is on the OECD's Paris staff), leaving sending
countries responsible only for the airfare for their
participating officials. On average, the center hosts 15-20
programs a year, with some 30-50 participants per program.
Goksu indicated, however, that in some instances Central
Asian countries in particular have had difficulty paying the
high airfares from the region, so that Central Asian
participation has suffered as a result. He indicated that in
his travels through the region in recent weeks he has sought
to disseminate information about the center to various
bilateral aid missions, in the hope of encouraging future
cooperation to help meet some of these costs.

4. (SBU) 2003 Program: Goksu outlined an ambitious draft
agenda of 22 separate programs for the center in 2003. Eight
programs will be devoted to encouraging foreign direct
investment, including sessions on investment in the tourism
sector (a followup to a 2002 program to assess the impact of
the earlier session), public-private partnerships, exchange
controls and liberalization and its impact on FDI, and FDI,
privatization, and environmental issues. Special regional
seminars will address investment in extractive industries in
the Caspian region, the Eurasia investment initiative
(including the Black Sea Investment initiative), and the
investment compact within the Stability Pact and the
Southeast European Cooperative Initative (SECI). Two
programs are planned on enterprise finance and financial
sector development, including enterprise finance and risk
capital for Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchange (FEAS)
member countries, and a FEAS group meeting on capital market
development that will be held in Almaty. Programs on
investment and agribusiness are planned focusing primarily on
Central Asia (in conjunction with UNCTAD), while the OECD
itself will take the lead on a series of programs addressing
Rule of Law issues, including "Constitutional Courts on the
role of constitutional law in the economic reform process,"
dispute settlement and commercial arbitration, and the annual
meeting of the Anti-corruptio network for Transition
Economies. Finally, separate programs will address
regulatory reform in Turkey, privatization in transition
economies, EBRD programs for investors in transition
economies, sectoral developments in Turkey (with Turkey's
ISO), E-government and E-commerce, and WTO membership for
transition economies.

5. (SBU) "A Miniature OECD": Goksu stressed that the center
essentially functions as a small-scale OECD, in that it
provides a forum for officials from a range of transition
economies to come together and exchange knowledge, best
practices, and information on how policies can best be
implemented. While the center's geographic range is wide,
reaching essentially from Vienna to Ulaanbator, its focus
remains on the core regions of Southeastern Europe, the
Caucasus, and Central Asia. Officials from other Eastern
European countries and the Russian Federation have
participated as well, however, as have officials from

6. (SBU) Comment: In addition to being an important outreach
mechanism for the OECD in its efforts to work with non-member
transition economies, the center also represents a
substantial commitment of resources by the GOT. As such it
particularly represents Turkey's commitment and efforts to
build bridges to its newly independent neighbors in Central
Asia and the Caucasus. While the center has in the past also
benefited from bilateral economic assistance, in particular
from GTZ, that aid has now ended, and it is solely reliant on
the GOT, OECD and assorted other international organizations
that help organize some programs. Goksu stressed, however,
that he is committed to seeking not just some limited
targeted bilateral assistance to facilitate attendance, but
also to outreach to the corporate sector, as the center seeks
to fulfill its mandate of encouraging private sector
development in its target regions. End comment.

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