Cablegate: Turkish Response to Faa Request for Consultations

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


1. (U) This cable contains an action request. See paras 2
and 8.

2. (SBU) Summary and action request. EconCouns delivered
reftel points to senior GOT officials January 21-22. The
Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority (DGCA)
acknowledged that the DGCA had not yet implemented all the
recommendations in the 2001 ICAO report, but emphasized that
he was now working hard to do so in the coming months. He
noted that the DGCA was also working to prepare for the March
5 ICAO audit, and requested that FAA schedule its
consultations after March. Post requests that FAA propose a
way forward to the GOT given their concerns, and that FAA
consider providing the DGCA with informal assistance and/or
training prior to the March 5 ICAO audit. End summary and
action request.

3. (SBU) EconCouns and econoff delivered reftel points to GOT
officials January 21-22, including: Director General of the
Civil Aviation Authority (DGCA) Serdar Cebeci, Ministry of
Foreign Affairs Deputy Director General for Aviation Vakur
Gokdenizler, and Ministry of Transportation Deputy
Undersecretary Tahir Dengiz. DG Cebeci acknowledged that the
DGCA was still working on implementing the recommendations of
the 2001 ICAO report. He emphasized that he was personally
committed to resolving all outstanding issues related to
safety oversight procedures, and that he had made this point
several times to various FAA officials.

4. (SBU) Cebeci noted that, although the DGCA had received
the ICAO report well over a year ago, the "political
situation" as well as his taking over as DG had slowed down
the reform process. Still, he said, serious efforts were
underway to address the ICAO concerns. New legislation
proposing changes to the civil aviation code was currently
pending in Parliament. Cebeci said this legislation would
resolve all the remaining problems, but it may not pass until
summer given that the Parliament was new.

5. (SBU) Cebeci told EconCouns he was "very disappointed" by
the tone of reftel points, which he perceived to be a threat.
He said he understood from previous conversations with FAA
officials that FAA was willing to offer "informal
consultations and training" to help the DGCA prepare for the
March 2003 ICAO audit. However, he said, FAA now seemed to
be proposing its own audit, which could result in an IASA
reassessment taking place within strict time deadlines.
EconCouns emphasized that the points were not meant to be
threatening; rather, he believed it was FAA's intention to
engage the GOT in order to resolve the outstanding safety
oversight issues as soon as possible in a manner that would
benefit both the United States and Turkey.

6. (SBU) Although clearly disturbed by the timing, Cebeci
admitted that the FAA "was right" in pursuing the concerns
raised by the ICAO, noting that U.S. pressure would help him
move the government to accomplish the tasks at hand. Cebeci
noted that the ICAO audit had been moved up to March 5;
therefore, the DGCA would be extremely busy in the next
several months preparing for that visit. He suggested that
the FAA wait to see the results of the ICAO audit rather than
performing its own review. If, however, FAA insisted on
scheduling consultations now, late April or May 2003 would be
better for the GOT.

7. (SBU) Ministry of Transportation Deputy U/S Dengiz echoed
Cebeci's comments, stating that the GOT would prefer to
schedule the FAA consultations after the ICAO visit in March.
He emphasized that the GOT was working hard to meet the
recommendations in the ICAO report, noting that most of the
deficiencies had already been corrected, or would be by
end-March. The one pending item was the new civil aviation
code, which was pending with the new parliament. MFA Deputy
DG Gokdenizler, while deferring to DGCA on timing, also
indicated a preference for scheduling the consultations after

8. (SBU) Comment and action request: Post supports moving
ahead. As Director General Cebeci admits, the DGCA has had
the ICAO recommendations for almost two years and still has
not resolved all of the ICAO concerns. On the other hand, we
think a bit of flexibility on timing makes sense, given the
apparently sincere GOT efforts underway to address the
problems. It would have been useful to pursue the informal
advice Cebeci had been led to expect. It could be, however,
counter-productive to overload the DGCA in the run-up to the
March ICAO inspection. Post requests that FAA propose a way
forward to the GOT given their concerns. Further, post
recommends that FAA consider whether it would be possible to
provide the DGCA with informal training and/or assistance
prior to the March 5 ICAO audit. End comment and action

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