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Cablegate: Turkish Boycotts of U.S. Goods

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 006848

SIPDIS

DEPT PLEASE PASS USTR FOR LERRION
USDOC FOR ITA/MAC/DDEFALCO

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECON PREL BEXP IZ TU
SUBJECT: TURKISH BOYCOTTS OF U.S. GOODS

Sensitive But Unclassified. Please Handle Accordingly.

This message has been coordinated with Istanbul and Adana

1. (U) A barrage of media disinformation about Falluja and
U.S. actions in general in Iraq has added to negative public
opinion in Turkey, and has led to calls for boycott of
American products in recent weeks. The following is a
summary of these boycott calls based on press sources.

-- Bulent Yildirim, Chair of the Turkish Human Rights
Organization, has called on Turks to boycott American,
British and Israeli goods to protest "massacres" in Iraq and
Palestine.

-- The Turkish Chamber of Mechanical Engineers (TMMO) Bursa
Branch Office announced it would boycott American products,
due to alleged U.S. military action against civilians in
Iraq. Bursa Branch Office President Ismail Kavurmaci stated
that the operation which the U.S. claimed would bring
democracy to Iraq had become a massacre. Kavurmaci called
the general public to support TMMO's boycott and to stop
buying American products.

-- The Health and Social Services Labor Union (Saglik Sen)
Erzurum Branch announced that it would protest "the inhuman
military action and massacre" in Iraq, and stop buying
American and Israeli goods. Saglik Sen called on all its
members and the Turkish public to support this campaign.

-- The Saadet Party Adana Branch protested the U.S. military
action in Iraq by leaving a black wreath in front of the
American Consulate in Adana. SP Adana Branch President
Sitki Cengil called the Turkish public to stop financing the
arms used in Iraq through purchases of American products.

-- The Civil Servants' Labor Union (Memur-Sen) Elazig Branch
started a campaign to boycott American products. Memur-Sen
Elazig Branch called on the Turkish public and the world to
join the campaign, and burned some American products during
the protest.

-- The Civil Servants' Labor Union (Memur-Sen) Rize Branch
also called for a boycott. Memur-Sen Rize Branch President
Mehmet Sadik Cengiz claimed "the greater Middle-East Project
of Israel and the U.S." was the main reason underlying the
"massacre" in Iraq.

-- The Malatya Chamber of Commerce and Industry started a
campaign to boycott American products, in order to protest
U.S. military action in Iraq. Chamber President Mucahit
Findikli said the USG, while claiming to bring democracy to
Iraq, was conducting mass murder in Iraq. Findikli called
the Turkish public to join the campaign to demonstrate their
sensitivity about the developments in Iraq.

-- The Middle East Technical University Lecturers'
Association (in Ankara) encouraged its members to protest
the U.S. invasion in Iraq by avoiding investment in and use
of USD in transactions. The Association also stated that
companies continuing commercial relations with the temporary
administration in Iraq, including trucking companies, should
also be boycotted.

-- At least two shopowners in the Ankara Castle area have
put up signs indicating American customers would not be
welcome. This story has been covered widely in the Turkish
press, including in Turkey's largest-circulation daily,
"Hurriyet."

-- The extremist Islamist pres -- "Vakit" and "Milli Gazete"
have frequently called on their readers (combined daily
circulation of about 100,000) to support a boycott of US
(and Israeli) goods.

2. (SBU) Comment: While these boycott calls reflect anti-
American sentiment in Turkey, it is unlikely that they will
have a significant impact on U.S. companies. Coca-Cola told
Istanbul Polecon Chief that they expected no impact. The
Coca Cola representative said that "even in the hottest days
last year" when there were similar efforts they saw no
impact on their sales and bottom line, and that they expect
that will be the case again this time.

3. (SBU) Meeting with the Turkish-American Business
Association (TABA) December 7, the Ambassador suggested that
TABA, which represents Turkish companies that do business
with the United States, as well as some U.S. companies,
speak out against these boycotts. Embassy and Consulates
Istanbul and Adana will continue to monitor the impact of
such boycotts.

Edelman

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