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Cablegate: Usaid/Dart: Ngo Registration Process in Turkey: The

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 001380

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR PRM/ANE, EUR/SE, NEA/NGA, IO AND SA/PAB
NSC FOR JDWORKEN, HMANN, ZKHALILZAD, QUANRUD AND BRYZA
DEPT PASS USAID FOR NATSIOS; DCHA/OFDA FOR WGARVELINK AND
BMCCONNELL; ANE/AA FOR WCHAMBERLAIN; USAID/A, DCHA/AA,
DCHA/RMT, DCHA/OFDA, DCHA/FFP, DCHA/OTI, DCHA/DG, ANE/AA
AND USAID/AA
ROME FOR FODOG; GENEVA FOR RMA AND NKYLOH
EUCOM FOR J3, J5, SOJ7 AND POLAD
CENTCOM FOR J3, J5 AND POLAD
PACOM FOR POLAD
GENEVA FOR RMA


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF EFIN PHUM AORC MOPS PREL IZ TU WFP
SUBJECT: USAID/DART: NGO REGISTRATION PROCESS IN TURKEY: THE
WAY FORWARD

THIS CABLE WAS DRAFTED BY THE USAID DISASTER ASSISTANCE
RESPONSE TEAM AND CLEARED BY EMBASSY ANKARA.


-------
SUMMARY
-------


1. HUMANITARIAN NGOS SEEKING FORMAL REGISTRATION IN TURKEY
CONTINUE TO FACE A CUMBERSOME PROCESS, BUT THE TURKISH
GOVERNMENT HAS SAID IT WILL CONSIDER EXPEDITED ARRANGEMENTS
TO ALLOW DELIVERY OF RELIEF TO IRAQ THROUGH TURKEY. MEMBERS
OF THE UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT'S
DISASTER ASSISTANCE RESPONSE TEAM (USAID/DART) ARE IN ANKARA
TO FACILITATE THE REGISTRATION OF NGOS IN THE COUNTRY.
USAID/DART STRONGLY RECOMMENDS THAT NGOS WISHING TO PROVIDE
HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO NORTHERN IRAQ THROUGH TURKEY
PURSUE A TRANSIT PERMIT IMMEDIATELY. END SUMMARY.


2. THE PROCESS OF NGO REGISTRATION IN TURKEY HAS AND
CONTINUES TO BE A CUMBERSOME AND COSTLY ONE WHICH FEW NGOS
HAVE MANAGED TO SUCCESSFULLY NAVIGATE. THE REGISTRATION
PROCESS CALLS FOR AN NGO TO SUBMIT EXTENSIVE DOCUMENTATION
TO THE GOT, WITH A REQUIREMENT FOR HIGH-LEVEL REVIEW OF EACH
APPLICATION TO REGISTER. HOWEVER, IN TIMES OF CRISIS, THE
GOT HAS ALLOWED FOREIGN NGOS TO OPERATE IN TURKEY WITHOUT
COMPLETING THESE FORMALITIES. DURING THE 1999 EARTHQUAKES
IN TURKEY, THE GOT ESSENTIALLY LOOKED THE OTHER WAY TO
ALLOWINTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS TO RESPOND TO
THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION. ORGANIZATIONS, SUCH AS THE
AMERICAN RED CROSS, DID RESPOND TO THE DISASTER BUT WITHOUT
COMPLETION OF THE REGISTRATION PROCESS. THIS ARRANGEMENT
LEFT HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS IN A DIFFICULT SITUATION, AS
THEY WERE UNABLE TO SEEK LEGAL RECOURSE IN TURKISH COURTS,
COULD NOT FULLY COMPENSATE STAFF THROUGH SOCIAL SECURITY
CONTRIBUTIONS, AND EXPERIENCED DIFFICULTIES WITH TAXATION OF
HUMANITARIAN SUPPLIES FOR THE AFFECTED POPULATION.


3. USAID/DART MEMBERS ARE ON THE GROUND IN TURKEY AS PART OF
THE USG'S CONTINGENCY PLANNING FOR HUMANITARIAN RELIEF FOR
IRAQ. USAID/DART MEMBERS, AS WELL AS EMBASSY PERSONNEL,
HAVE MET WITH THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SEVERAL TIMES
IN RECENT WEEKS ON NGO ACCESS TO NORTHERN IRAQ VIA TURKEY.
TWO LIKELY SCENARIOS HAVE EMERGED FROM THESE DISCUSSIONS.


4. NGOS WISHING TO ESTABLISH A PRESENCE IN TURKEY, BY
PROGRAMMING FUNDS INSIDE THE COUNTRY OR ESTABLISHING AN
OFFICE, MUST PROCEED WITH THE FORMAL REGISTRATION PROCESS.
THIS PROCESS IS ONLY FOR NGOS WHO PLAN TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE
IN TURKEY. BASED ON INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE MFA AND
INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR RED CROSS AND RED CRESENT
SOCIETIES (ICRC), USAID/DART BELIEVES THAT THIS PROCESS WILL
TAKE SEVERAL MONTHS. MFA INSISTS THAT EXTERNAL RELIEF FOR
DISTRIBUTION IN TURKEY BE COORDINATED WITH THE TURKISH RED
CRESCENT AND/OR UN AGENCIES.


5. A SECOND AND MORE PROMISING SCENARIO IS FOR NGOS TO SEEK
A TRANSIT PERMIT THAT WILL ALLOW HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS
TO PASS THROUGH TURKISH CUSTOMS AT THE BORDER TO NORTHERN
IRAQ, BUT NOT ESTABLISH A PROGRAMMATIC OFFICE OR PROGRAM
FUNDS INSIDE OF TURKEY. THE MFA HAS SAID THAT IT WOULD
CONSIDER NGO APPLICATIONS TO DELIVER HUMANITARIAN RELIEF
ITEMS IN THE EVENT THERE IS A NEED FOR THEM IN IRAQ. MFA
ADVISED THAT THIS PERMIT COULD BE ISSUED WITHIN SEVERAL
WEEKS. USAID/DART FEELS THAT THIS OPTION WOULD EXPEDITE
THE PROVISION OF HUMANITARIAN RELIEF TO NORTHERN IRAQ AND
ALLOW NGOS TO TRANSIT THROUGH TURKISH CUSTOMS IN A TIMELY
MANNER. USAID/DART IS INVESTIGATING WHETHER THIS TRANSIT
PERMIT WOULD BE SUFFICIENT TO PROVIDE NGOS LEGAL RECOURSE,
BENEFITS TO EMPLOYEES, AND RELIEF FROM TURKISH TAXATION ON
PURCHASE OF HUMANITARIAN SUPPLIES.


-----------------------------------
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE WAY FORWARD
-----------------------------------


6. USAID/DART STRONGLY RECOMMENDS THAT NGOS WISHING TO
PROVIDE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO NORTHERN IRAQ THROUGH
TURKEY PURSUE A TRANSIT PERMIT IMMEDIATELY. THE MINISTRY OF
FOREIGN AFFAIRS ENCOURAGED ALL NGOS SEEKING TO TRANSIT
HUMANITARIAN RELIEF SUPPLIES TO CONTACT THE MFA DIRECTLY.
THE CONTACT FOR THIS PROCESS IS THE HEAD OF DEPARTMENT IN
THE OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS. NGOS
SHOULD BE PREPARED TO SUBMIT INFORMATION, IN ENGLISH, ON
THEIR CHARTERS, FOUNDING MEMBERS AND BY-LAWS, AS WELL AS ON
ANY PRIOR EXPERIENCE IN TURKEY. USAID/DART ALSO RECOMMENDS
THAT NGOS CONTACT DART MEMBERS IN ANKARA, AS WELL AS MISSION
DISASTER RELIEF OFFICER ALDO SIROTIC (TEL. 90 312 455-5555),
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THIS PROCESS. USAID/DART
REQUESTS THAT OFDA/WASHINGTON FACILITATE THE BROADCASTING OF
THIS INFORMATION TO THE NGO COMMUNITY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.


7. TO DATE, USAID/DART HAS BEEN IN CONTACT BEEN WITH SEVERAL
NGOS WISHING TO PROVIDE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE THROUGH
TURKEY TO NORTHERN IRAQ, INCLUDING THE INTERNATIONAL RESCUE
COMMITTEE (IRC), MERCY CORPS INTERNATIONAL, AND SAVE THE
CHILDREN/USA. IRC APPEARS TO BE THE FURTHEST ALONG IN THIS
PROCESS AND PLANS TO SUBMIT THESE MATERIALS TO THE MFA IN
THE NEAR FUTURE. USAID/DART WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR AND
REPORT ON THE STATUS OF IRC'S REGISTRATION, AS WELL AS OTHER
NGOS, TO ENSURE THAT THE PROCESS IS EXPEDITED AND AS
TRANSPARENT AS POSSIBLE. PEARSON

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