Cablegate: Ankara Osac Discusses Soft Target Vulnerability

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

B. STATE 133022

1. RSO, CONS and FCS hosted a reconstituted OSAC Country
Council on 5/27/03 to discuss the critical nature of the
global terrorist threat and the focus on "soft" targets. RSO
provided an overview of the historical terrorist threat in
Turkey, the worldwide threat from Al-Qa'ida and its network
of terrorist organizations, and host country efforts to
combat terrorism in Turkey. RSO, CONS and FCS briefed the
group on the outreach programs offered by the Embassy and the
avenues available to pass/share security information to the
official and private sector American citizens in Turkey. RSO
and CONS then reiterated the security preparedness
information that has been passed through a series of warden
messages on the potential for terrorist acts focused on
"soft" targets and the need to practice good security habits
at home and office, when traveling, visiting tourist
destinations, etc. In light of the recent Al-Qa'ida attacks,
and the ongoing spate of leftist terrorist bombings in
Turkey, both official and non-official Americans must
maintain vigilance in any location that could be considered a
soft target.

2. The Country Council was appreciative of the overview of
both the worldwide and Turkey-specific terrorist threat
analysis. The members present felt comfortable with their
profile in the current security climate in Turkey; no members
voiced concern over their individual security posture. The
council discussed the merits of clustering versus dispersing
residential housing. The clustered option counters the
historical pattern of assassination attacks by Dev Sol (now
DHKP/C) in Turkey, while dispersed housing lessens the damage
that could be inflicted from a VBIED, the preferred Al-Qa'ida
attack scenario. While an individual decision, there are
obvious drawbacks to either option in Turkey. The Council
discussed and voiced their unanimous approval of the USG "No
Double Standard" policy regarding threat dissemination and
security notices. The consensus was that members would
prefer more, rather than less, regarding security notices.
RSO will maintain a distribution list of Country Council
members as parallel means (with Consular Warden System) of
communicating with Americans living and working in Turkey,
and with representatives of US-affiliated businesses.

3. This initial meeting of a reconstituted Country Council
was well received by all participants and Country Council
meetings will be held on a quarterly basis. The Country
Council was especially enthused to be included in another
information loop, whereby the Embassy can communicate with
our private sector constituents on security matters of mutual
interest. RSO expects membership to swell by the next
scheduled meeting in September.

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