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Cablegate: Turkish Truckers' Strike Threatens Supplies For

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 006810

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB ETRD IZ PREL PTER TU
SUBJECT: TURKISH TRUCKERS' STRIKE THREATENS SUPPLIES FOR
IRAQ

Sensitive But Unclassified.

1. (SBU) Turkish truck drivers delivering sustainment
supplies and refined products into Iraq called a wild cat
strike December 7. It is not clear how widespread is the
support for the strike among truckers. Officials from the
Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) and one of its largest
contractors -- Petrol Ofisi -- confirmed that loading of
trucks has been affected and that striking truckers have
threatened other drivers, in an effort to prevent them from
loading their trucks.

2. (SBU) Petrol Ofisi Land Transport Coordinator Alper Peker
reported that the strike initially was aimed at trucking
companies working for Iraq Oil Company SOMO. However, Peker
reported that the strike has spread to include loadings of
all deliveries to Iraq, including deliveries of sustainment
and humanitarian supplies under U.S. contract. The strikers
are demanding a doubling of payments for deliveries. Strike
leaders have circulated flyers with their demands -- see para
4. Most of the demands concern security and support for
drivers in convoys, compensation for delays or losses, and
complaints about harassment by Kurdish authorities in
northern Iraq. It is not yet clear who organized the strike.
A similar wild-cat strike in 2003 was organized by two
large, family-owned trucking companies. That strike lasted 3
days; the strikers won significant increases in their
payments.

3. (SBU) Comment: So far it does not appear that the strike
has affected the flow of supplies across the Turkish border;
the journey from the depots to the border takes a couple
days. There does not appear to be any effort on the part of
strikers to stop already loaded trucks from completing their
deliveries. However, if the strikers can stop all loading at
the Turkish depots, we expect the number of trucks crossing
into Iraq will drop sharply in a few days. Based on past
experience, a strike lasting more than 10 days or so could
affect the supply situation for U.S. personnel and programs
and the overall fuel situation in Iraq heading into winter.

4. (U) Text of truckers' grievances:

Attention to Our Driver Friends

1. Safety Coordination must be increased. Convoys are being
attacked in an organized manner; our driver friends are being
killed and burned. Loading of trucks should not take place
without greater safety guarantee.

2. USA: Emergency (first aid) EMT teams are requested with
convoys.

3. USA: Mechanics/engineers requested with convoys. With
any small mechanical failure trucks are being left behind and
burned.

4. Translators that know both English and Turkish are
requested.

5. Insurance is requested for the trucks/drivers to
compensate for losses sustained.

6. Terminals where fuel is emptied. Drivers are made to
wait 15-20 days under danger. Request that drivers are paid
to wait after 2 days.

7. At the terminals where fuel is emptied,
duties/taxes/bribes are being asked for. If drivers don't
pay, they are being told that their fuel is old. 1,000-2,000
liters of fuel being taken; needs to stop.

8. Drivers are being taxed at the Habur and Halil Abrahim
control site and suffering monetary losses. Needs to stop.

9. Tickets/traffic penalties are being issued at the above
control site unnecessarily. Needs to stop.

10. The below adjustments need to be made to prices. See
attached. (Note: Attachment not provided to us. End Note.)

Support if requested from all drivers.

End text.

5. (U) Baghdad minimize considered.

EDELMAN

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