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Cablegate: The Got Takes Steps to Resolve Outstanding

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

UNCLAS ANKARA 000979

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR DS, EB/TRA AND EUR/SE
ROME FOR FAA
PARIS FOR TSA - JESUS PRESAS
DHS FOR TSA


SENSITIVE


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR PTER TU
SUBJECT: THE GOT TAKES STEPS TO RESOLVE OUTSTANDING
CIVIL AVIATION SECURITY ISSUES


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE HANDLE
ACCORDINGLY.


REF: ANKARA 262


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: THE TURKISH NATIONAL POLICE'
(TNP'S) AIRPORT SECURITY DIRECTOR TOLD US THE
NATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION SECURITY COUNCIL RECENTLY
DISCUSSED THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY'S
(DHS') AMENDMENTS ON POSTING ARMED LAW ENFORCEMENT
OFFICERS ON PLANES AND A GAP IN IMMIGRATION AND
CUSTOMS CONTROLS FOR INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS ARRIVING
AT TURKISH AIRPORTS. THE COUNCIL DIRECTED GOT
AGENCIES AND THE AIRLINES TO COMMENCE STUDIES AND
MAKE OTHER PREPARATIONS FOR POSTING LEOS ON PLANES
IF NECESSARY. THE COUNCIL ALSO DECIDED TO RETURN
TO A SYSTEM OF REQUIRING INTERNATIONAL PASSENGERS
TO CLEAR CUSTOMS AND BORDER CONTROLS AT THE FIRST
PORT OF ENTRY, BUT WITH A FOUR TO FIVE-MONTH
TRANSITION PERIOD. END SUMMARY.


2. (SBU) ECONOMIC SPECIALIST CONTACTED TNP AIRPORT
SECURITY DIRECTOR TURGAY SAHAN ON FEBRUARY 13 FOR
AN UPDATE ON THE GOT'S PLANS TO COMPLY WITH DHS'
RECENT AVIATION AMENDMENTS WHICH COULD REQUIRE
POSTING ARMED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS (LEOS) ON
FLIGHTS TO AND OVER THE UNITED STATES, AND
CONCERNING A LOOPHOLE IN IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS
CONTROLS FOR INTERNATIONAL PASSENGERS ARRIVING AT
TURKISH AIRPORTS (REFTEL). SAHAN TOLD ECON
SPECIALIST THAT THESE WERE THE MAIN AGENDA ITEMS AT
TURKEY'S NATIONAL AVIATION SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING
ON FEBRUARY 10.


3. (SBU) LEOS: SAHAN SAID THE COUNCIL WAS HESITANT
ON THIS ISSUE, DUE MAINLY TO A LACK OF GUIDANCE
FROM ICAO AND TO INFRASTRUCTURE DEFICIENCIES AT
TURKISH AIRPORTS. SAHAN NOTED THAT ANOTHER MAJOR
CHALLENGE THE GOT FACED IN IMPLEMENTATION WAS THE
FINANCING OF TRAVEL, LODGING AND INSURANCE EXPENSES
OF THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS ON THE PLANES. THE
COUNCIL DECIDED TO MOVE AHEAD WITH THE PREPARATIONS
DESPITE THESE PROBLEMS. THE COUNCIL DIRECTED THE
AIRLINE COMPANIES TO CONDUCT A STUDY ON THE COST OF
TRANSPORTING THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, THE
TRANSPORT MINISTRY TO PREPARE THE REGULATORY BASIS
FOR POSTING THESE OFFICERS ON FLIGHTS AND THE
INTERIOR MINISTRY TO PREPARE A TRAINING PROGRAM FOR
THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS. SAHAN UNOFFICIALLY
COMMENTED THAT THE GOT WAS NOT PLANNING TO PUBLICLY
ANNOUNCE ITS STANCE REGARDING THIS ISSUE, DUE TO
POSSIBLE NEGATIVE REACTION FROM OTHER ICAO
COUNTRIES.


4. (SBU) GAP IN BORDER CONTROLS: THE COUNCIL ALSO
DISCUSSED CLOSING A LOOPHOLE WHICH COULD ALLOW
INTERNATIONAL PASSENGERS TO AVOID PASSING THROUGH
IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS CONTROLS IN SOME AIRPORTS
(REFTEL), AND DECIDED TO GO BACK TO THE PREVIOUS
SYSTEM IN WHICH INTERNATIONAL PASSENGERS WERE
REQUIRED TO CLEAR THESE CONTROLS AT THE FIRST PORT
OF ENTRY. SAHAN NOTED THAT THE GOT FACED SEVERAL
DIFFICULTIES WHEN THIS SYSTEM WAS FIRST
IMPLEMENTED, DUE TO INSUFFICIENT PREPARATIONS AT
THE AIRPORTS. SAHAN SAID THAT, TO AVOID THIS
PROBLEM, THE COUNCIL GRANTED A TRANSITION PERIOD OF
FOUR TO FIVE MONTHS FOR GOT AGENCIES TO COMPLETE
PREPARATIONS. EMBASSY WILL CONTINUE TO PRESS TO
ENSURE THE TRANSITION IS DONE IN THE SHORTEST
POSSIBLE PERIOD.
EDELMAN

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