Cablegate: Ambassador's Introductory Meeting With

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
SUBJECT: Ambassador's Introductory Meeting with
Transport and Communications Minister

1. (U) Baghdad minimize considered.


2. (SBU) Meeting with Transport Minister Binali Yildirim
on October 1, the Ambassador emphasized U.S. interest in
maintaining high safety and security standards in civil
aviation. Yildirim agreed that aviation safety and
security are priority issues. He also provided
information on upcoming tenders for modernization of
Turkey's air traffic control system and for the
privatization of Turk Telecom. Yildirim made the pitch
for a Turkish role in transport and communications areas
of Iraq reconstruction. The Ambassador raised the
Motorola case, noting its negative impact on Turkey's
ability to attract foreign investment. Binali agreed on
the importance of attracting FDI, and said the GOT was
taking steps to prevent the Uzans from putting their
assets out of the reach of the GOT and other creditors.
End Summary.

3. (SBU) In their introductory meeting, the Ambassador
and Transport and Communications Minister Binali
Yildirim discussed a range of issues, including air
safety and security, navigation in the straits, Iraq
reconstruction, Turk Telecom privatization, commercial
opportunities for U.S. companies and the Motorola case.

Aviation Issues

4. (SBU) The Ambassador congratulated the Minister on
his visit to Washington in September, including the
signing of a technical assistance agreement with the
FAA. He emphasized the USG interest in high standards
for civil aviation safety and security. The Ambassador
inquired about Turkish plans to modernize air traffic
management, noting that U.S. companies are very
competitive in this area. He also raised American
Airlines application for a codeshare agreement with
British Airways flights between London and Istanbul,
which is awaiting GOT approval.

5. (SBU) Yildirim agreed on the importance of
maintaining high safety and security standards. He
stated that the air traffic management modernization
project would be awarded in a tender open to
international companies, with a request for proposals to
be issued by the end of 2003. The Minister told the
Ambassador that Lockheed-Martin had met with him earlier
in the day to discuss this project.

Congestion in the Straits

6. (SBU) Yildirim noted Lockheed-Martin's work on a
vessel management system for the Bosphorus/Dardanelles.
The system, due to become operational at the end of
October, should help with the problem of congestion in
the straits. Yildirim contended that Russian Government
demands for greater throughput through the straits were
unreasonable and could not be accommodated.

Iraq Reconstruction

7. (SBU) Yildirim raised the GOT's interest in transport
and telecommunications cooperation in Iraq
reconstruction, and suggested that Turkish partnership
with the United States in Afghan reconstruction provided
a good model for what could be done in Iraq. The
Ambassador responded that he believed Turkish companies
would be competitive in Iraq reconstruction.


8. (SBU) In response to a question from the Ambassador,
Yildirim stated that the GOT was preparing to announce
its privatization plan for Turk Telekom by the end of
October, with the objective of holding an open tender in
the first quarter of 2004. Noting that the GOT faced
budget constraints in implementing its public investment
program, the Ambassador suggested that the Transport
Ministry might also examine the possibility of garnering
private investment through Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT)
arrangements. Yildirim agreed that this or similar
arrangements might provide an opportunity to address
priority projects.


9. (SBU) Noting that Gen. Scowcroft had discussed this
issue with the Prime Minister, the Ambassador raised
Motorola's dispute with Telsim, and the severe negative
publicity this had created for Turkey's investment
climate. The Minister agreed that attracting foreign
direct investment is one of Turkey's top priorities. He
said that the GOT also had claims on the Uzan family in
connection with the failure of Imar Bank, and that the
GOT was doing everything it could to prevent the Uzans
from siphoning assets to shelter them from legitimate
claimants. Yildirim agreed with Motorola that Telsim
should keep its mobile phone license, which would
increase the chances of satisfying claims on the Uzans,
at least in part.

© Scoop Media

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