Cablegate: Turkish Humanitarian Assistance Convoy for Tal Afar

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

160441Z Sep 04




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Levent Sahinkaya, MFA Head of Department for
International Organizations, called in Pol-Mil Counselor on
September 15 to request USG cooperation in delivering Turkish
humanitarian assistance to Tal Afar on September 17.
Econoff, Task Force Olympia LNO and Alp Ay, of the MFA
International Organizations Department, also sat in on the

2. (SBU) Sahinkaya said that the GOT had appropriated USD 1
million in relief for Tal Afar, the first tranche of which is
to be sent by the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC) in a 7-TIR truck
convoy via the Habur Gate this Friday. The convoy will
include 2 trucks of food, 2 of water, 2 of tents and 1 of
blankets. TRC also plans to send ambulances, communications
vehicles and medical personnel. He provided us with a
diplomatic note describing the convoy (see para 5 for further
details), and stated that the GOT is in contact with the
Department, the Iraqi Interim Government in Baghdad and the
Iraqi Embassy in Ankara on this subject. Sahinkaya told us
TRC was putting together a list of staff and materials
traveling in the convoy, and that this would be shared with
us in the near future. Some TRC staff are planning to stay
on after distribution of assistance to conduct a needs
assessment in Tal Afar. He added that the GOT has asked the
Iraqis for appropriate security coverage for the convoy.

3. (SBU) Pol-Mil Counselor said that Turkish assistance was
welcome, but that proper coordination with the Iraqi
authorities, as well as with other relief efforts, is
essential. He urged Sahinkaya to establish direct contact
with Ninewa Assistant Governor Arafat, the IIG,s point of
contact on humanitarian assistance for Tal Afar (reftel), and
to keep the Embassy and Task Force Olympia informed of
developments related to the convoy. Sahinkaya agreed to do
this. Polmilcouns also welcomed that the TRC would do an
independent needs assessment. He noted that there had been a
lot of erroneous information in the Turkish press, and that
the TRC would likely discover that the situation is not
nearly as dire as some local press reports suggest.

4. (SBU) Comment: Task Force Olympia LNO observed that the
Task Force would also be sending its own relief aid to Tal
Afar. In order for Assistant Governor Arafat to prevent the
Turks from duplicating our efforts, it will be important that
he also be informed of our assistance and reconstruction
activities. End Comment.

5. (SBU) Begin text MFA dipnote 2004/UKGY/386389:


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey
presents its compliments to the Embassy of the United States
of America in Ankara and has the honor to inform that the
Turkish Government has decided to dispatch humanitarian aid
to the people of the city of Talafar in Iraq.

In this framework, as the first phase of the humanitarian aid
of the Turkish Government, a humanitarian assistance convoy
of the Turkish Red Crescent consisting of 7 TIRs, 2 emergency
assistance ambulances, 3 communication vehicles and one for
personnel is planned to pass the Habur Border Gate on 17
September 2004. The convoy is supposed to transfer 450
family tents, 3000 blankets and enough food and water to
respond to the needs of 5000 people, together with 14
drivers, 3 technicians, 2 doctors, 2 nurses and a team of 15
personnel for dispatching the material.

The details of the vehicles, material and personnel of the
convoy will be transmitted to the esteemed Embassy at the
earliest convenient time.

The Ministry would highly appreciate the assistance of the
esteemed Embassy in informing the relevant U.S. authorities
and arranging the necessary security measures.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey
avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Embassy of
the United States of America the assurances of its highest

Ankara, 15 September 2004.

End text MFA note.

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