Cablegate: Police Working On Dhs Emergency Aviation

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: Police Working on DHS Emergency Aviation
Amendments; Supportive of Fixing Gap in Border Controls

Ref: (A) 2003 State 348468 (B) 2003 Ankara 8023
(C) 2003 Ankara 7597

1. (U) This is an action cable. Please see para 8.


2. (SBU) Turkish police officials told us that they are
working on a system to ensure that the GOT can deploy an
armed law enforcement officer to civilian flights if
requested by the U.S. Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) under recent aviation emergency
amendments. They also said they supported institution
of border and customs controls for international
passengers at the first port of entry in Turkey. End

3. (SBU) Econoff and Econ Specialist met with Mustafa
Bal, head of the Turkish National Police' (TNP's)
Protection Department, and Turgay Sahan, head of the
TNP's Airport Division, on January 9 to discuss Turkey's
plans to comply with the Department of Homeland
Security's (DHS') aviation amendments on posting armed
law enforcement officers on flights to or over the
United States if requested, and to urge that correction
of a gap in immigration and customs controls for certain
flights arriving at Turkish airports.

Reaction to DHS Aviation Emergency Amendments

4. (SBU) Bal told us that the Interior Minister had been
informed of DHS' December 28 amendments (ref A) which
require carriers to provide an armed government law
enforcement officer on flights specified by TSA, and
that he was following this issue closely. TNP is
working with the Transport Ministry and other
stakeholders to iron out organizational details. Bal
stated that the Interior Minister has the authority to
deploy a law enforcement officer to a flight and that he
was prepared to take this step if needed. Bal
emphasized that TNP is identifying a pool of officers
with aviation experience that could be called on to
perform this duty, and said they planned to provide
about 15 days of training to each of them. However, TNP
told us that it and others in the GOT are concerned
about the cost of buying airplane tickets for the law
enforcement officers that would be ordered to fly.

5. (U) Bal and Sahan asked us to provide background on
the organization and financing of the USG's air marshal
program, and also expressed interested in specialized
USG training for Turkish police selected to travel as
air marshals.

Gap in Immigration/Customs Control

6. (SBU) Econoff again raised a loophole which could
allow international passengers to avoid passing through
border and customs controls in some airports (refs b and
c). In Ankara, airline staff direct international
arrivals connecting through Istanbul to a bus taking
them to a terminal with border and customs controls, and
domestic passengers to another terminal without those
controls. However, staff do not always check to ensure
that arriving passengers board the correct bus.

7. (SBU) Bal agreed with his colleagues in the
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (ref B) that
passengers should be required to clear customs and
border control at the initial point of entry to Turkey,
and said he would recommend this to his superiors.
However, he said that other state bodies, such as
Customs and the Jandarma, might resist the change on the
grounds that it could have a budgetary impact for them.
(Customs U/S Saygilioglu, however, told us January 7
that he supported the change. Transport U/S Kutlu, on
the other hand, told us January 6 that he thought the
problem had been fixed. After checking with his staff,
he confirmed the problem existed and promised to look
into it.) The issue will be discussed at the next
meeting of the National Civil Aviation Security Board in
late January or February.

8. (U) Action Request for DHS/TSA Paris: Post would
appreciate background information on the organization
and financing of the U.S. sky marshall program which
could be shared with the Turks. We would also encourage
DHS/TSA to consider training possibilities for the GOT
in this area.

© Scoop Media

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