Cablegate: Turkey: Mfa Non-Paper On Security Concerns Of
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
211438Z Oct 04
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 005996
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MOPS ECON PREL PTER IZ TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY: MFA NON-PAPER ON SECURITY CONCERNS OF
TURKISH DRIVERS IN IRAQ
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED
1. (SBU) During an October 20 meeting (reported Septel) to
discuss steps the GOT is taking to address security concerns
of Turkish truck drivers, Turkish MFA DDG for Economic
Affairs presented EconCouns with a non-paper listing a
number of concerns and suggestions for operational
improvements in the provision of security to Turkish
truckers. The non-paper is based primarily on reports from
truckers. It includes a number of previously-reported
complaints about the adequacy of military escorts and or
difficulties receiving compensation for damage and theft.
It also raises some new issues, including reports that U.S.
military personnel have burned broken-down trucks to prevent
them from falling into the hands of Iraqi groups and that
drivers were beaten by U.S. military personnel. We have no
factual basis on which to judge the accuracy of these claims
and allegations, but since the GOT provided the paper to us
as part of their dialogue with us on trucker security, we
felt it necessary to pass it on to addressees.
2. (SBU) Begin text of non paper:
Despite lack of security and threats to their lives, and a
mounting increase in the kidnapping and killing of Turkish
truck drivers recently, they are continuing to transport
humanitarian supply and other goods to the Iraqi people, and
are also transporting the necessary supplies to the
On the whole, the reinforcement of security measures by the
US Government under difficult conditions, by providing
escorts for convoys driven by Turkish truck drivers is
appreciated, knowing that not all Turkish trucks are
provided with security.
Yet, we have received information from our truck drivers
that the stepping up of security measures has been only of a
temporary nature; namely, at times when our drivers have
boycotted voyaging (traveling), or when large-scale attacks
In April 2004 every 3-4 trucks were said to have been
accompanied by one escort, as well as with a military
helicopter. It would be useful to continue this practice.
We would welcome the US keeping the number of vehicles at no
more than 20 in each convoy. Unloaded trucks on their return
trip should not travel at night and should enjoy the same
level of security along the whole route, not just in and
We have also been informed that there has been a return to
the three-car escort system once again. It should be noted
however that three escorts are not sufficient to provide
security for a convoy of half a kilometers' length (up to 20
Turkish citizens have let us know that, in the event of an
attack on the convoys, the first to leave the scene of the
event have been the escorts, and that the trucks have been
used as shields to protect the escort vehicles and their
We have even heard that the lorries are being utilized as
shields against attacks around the military camps at night
while the drivers sleep in them.
For example, when trucks unload their cargo in Iraq and set
out on their return trip, although the number of vehicles in
the convoy numbers 40-50, only 3 escorts are said to be
provided, the voyage is done at night, with no head lights
allowed to be turned on.
Although the security measures have been increased
relatively in and around Baghdad where there are more US
military units or other related organizations, the same
protection measures have not been extended to other areas,
especially for convoys which have unloaded and are on their
When a vehicle is in need of being repaired, the drivers are
forced to leave their trucks. The cargo is then collected by
another towing vehicle while the original one is abandoned
on the road.
On some occasions, in order to prevent the trucks from
falling into the hands of Iraqi groups, it has been reported
that the lorries are burned along with their towing vehicles
by US military personnel.
In other instances, the trucks are handed over to the Iraqi
police, the whereabouts of which are later never determined.
The reports drawn up by the US officials in Iraq about such
incidents are said to reflect only a part of the reality and
seem to be insufficient, and allegedly lately these reports
have not even been prepared.
As a result, problems arise about compensation and other
It is clear from the examples of the contracts signed
between the US firms and the Kuwaiti subcontractors, that
the US firms such as PWC do not assume any responsibility
concerning the lorries. Instead responsibility is
transferred over to the subcontracting firm. The Kuwaiti
subcontractors in turn turn over this responsibility to the
Turkish firms from which they rent the trucks and drivers.
In the delivery form which is to be signed by the drivers
before going on their trip, it is indicated that the US firm
PWC is not to be held responsible for any losses or theft
incurred by the drivers or trucks in Kuwait or Iraq.
Thus in practice, the whole responsibility concerning the
lorries is left to the drivers.
It is for this reason that some drivers are unwilling to
leave their vehicles, when a reparation is necessary. The
concerned drivers claim to have been coerced out of their
vehicles, even beaten by US military personnel, as a result
of which have had broken limbs.
The above-mentioned occurrences have led to unrest among
Turkish drivers who are already working under very hard
circumstances, and have increased their unwillingness to
It is requested that these matters are taken up with the
relevant US authorities, in order to enhance security
measures, and to prevent these unfortunate acts displayed by
It would be appreciated if the involved companies' contracts
could be altered to include clauses on the compensation of
drivers and their vehicles, as well as a clause on financial
support to be disbursed to the families of the drivers in
case of death as a result of abduction or attack.
3. (U) Baghdad minimize considered.