Cablegate: Ambassador Edelman Discusses Eu Environmental

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

Sensitive But Unclassified.

1. (SBU) Summary. Ambassador Edelman met November 18 with
Turkish Minister of Environment and Forestry Osman Pepe to
discuss Turkey's environmental challenges and to advocate
that the Ministry purchase Sikorsky helicopters to fill its
need for firefighting helicopters. Minister Pepe noted the
high financial cost of implementing EU environmental
standards. On the helicopters, Pepe's response and other
Embassy conversations suggest that Sikorsky's Russian
competition is offering a concessional deal involving
official debt reduction that the U.S. company would not be
able to match. End Summary.

Challenge of Adopting EU Standards

2. (SBU) On environmental issues, the Ambassador opened the
discussion by noting that a positive decision by the EU on
December 17 would open up tremendous opportunities for Turkey
-- as well as some challenges. For example, there are
estimates that the cost of meeting the EU environmental
standards in Turkey could be as high as $60 billion. Pepe
agreed that this poses a significant challenge for Turkey.
He said there are several estimates of the cost, and it will
require more detailed studies of EU requirements and the
kinds of projects Turkey must implement to come to a better
estimate. Nevertheless, he expected the total cost to be
closer to $30-35 billion. The EU is providing funds to help
Turkey evaluate the requirements and begin to assign
priorities, he noted. The Ministry understands that it will
take ten years to meet the EU standards and is evaluating
different options to finish the projects needed. Pepe said
that a large part of the responsibility for meeting
environmental standards would fall to the municipalities, who
must find better ways to finance improvements in water and
solid waste treatment. Pepe added that the Ministry would
host a "donors meeting" December 8 to present to interested
embassies Turkey's plans for some "high-cost" environmental
projects. The Ambassador pointed out that the U.S. is
working with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources on
projects with important environmental benefits, including
renewable energy, clean coal, clean fuels and the Hydrogen

Firefighting Helicopters

3. (SBU) The Ambassador told Pepe that Sikorsky had put
together an attractive offer to meet the Ministry's need for
firefighting helicopters. The Ambassador emphasized several
important advantages of the Black Hawk over what we
understood was its Russian competition: it can carry
firefighters at the same time as it carries water; some of
the helicopters will be available by summer 2005; and because
the Turkish military flies Blackhawks, there is a large pool
of trained pilots, mechanics and maintenance facilities in
Turkey. Pepe thanked the Ambassador for the information. He
said the Ministry considers the purchase of firefighting
helicopters an important need. In recent years, the Ministry
has been forced to borrow military helicopters or rent from
Russia and Ukraine. Pepe asked if Sikorsky could offer some
"offsets" if awarded the deal.

4. (SBU) Comment: Post discussed the request for offsets
with the local Sikorsky representative, who told us that
Sikosky would not be able to offer offsets for a deal of this
size. Other Ministry officials told us previously that MOEF
is considering a Russian offer to purchase Russian
helicopters in exchange for cancellation of Russian debt to
Turkey's Ex-Im Bank. This may indicate that MOEF does not
have funding to pay cash for the U.S. helicopters and might
be reluctant to ask the Turkish Treasury to authorize a loan
for the purchase.

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