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Cablegate: Demarche to Turkey On Fuel Supplies to Iraq

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

241045Z Dec 04

UNCLAS ANKARA 007141

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR NEA/I AND EUR/SE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EPET MOPS PREL IZ TU
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE TO TURKEY ON FUEL SUPPLIES TO IRAQ

REF: A. STATE 273248

B. ADANA 171
C. ANKARA 7119

1. (SBU) Summary: Post passed on ref a message to foreign
ministry officials on December 24. Turkish MFA says it is
seized with the issue and is doing what it can to encourage
transporters, fuel contractors and truckers to resolve the
strike. MFA officials believe the single biggest problem is
fees levied by authorities in Northern Iraq which add to
Turkish truckers' costs. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Following up on CDA's conversation with Turkey's
Special Representative on Iraq Koruturk yesterday (ref c),
Acting Econ Couns passed on the message in ref a to
Koruturk's office as well as to Deputy Undersecretary for
Economic Affairs Ender Arat. Both Koruturk and Arat are at
the parliament all day today as the Foreign Ministry defends
its budget. A/EconCouns spoke separately with Director
General for Economic Affairs Oguz Ozge and with Deputy DG
Mehmet Gucuk who has been following this issue.

3. (SBU) Both officials undertook to pass on the message to
Arat and Koruturk. Ozge claimed that, in addition to
financial issues, there were "political considerations" that
Koruturk is looking into. When pressed to explain, Ozge
suggested their may be a "Kongra Gel" (i.e. PKK) link to the
intimidation experienced by those truckers trying to deliver
product. In the conversation with Gucuk, he said the GOT was
trying to stop the intimidation but he did not allude to any
Kongra-Gel connection.

4. (SBU) Gucuk went into more detail on economic factors. He
said the MFA is seized with the issue, up through the
Minister, who had met with the manager of one of the
transport companies whose truckers are striking last week.
This particular transporter is also a board member of the
RODER transporters' union. Gucuk said that the Minister
urged the transporters to do what they could to resolve the
strike but that the transport companies say they can no
longer control individual truckers.

5. (SBU) Gucuk also said that the Turkish authorities believe
that the single biggest problem is the fees levied by
"Northern Iraqi authorities." He said that even if SOMO
raised its payments, the "Northern Iraqis" would increase
their fees accordingly, as this has happened in the past.
According to Gucuk, the "Northern Iraqis" charge an average
of $300 per truck on all petroleum products. Gucuk also said
that the $300 sometimes runs as high as $500. He said there
are other charges on other products, such as $368 per
truckload of electronics.

6. (SBU) Finally, Gucuk said that both the Foreign Ministry
and Foreign Trade Undersecretariat would continue to work on
the issue, and would welcome discussions with SOMO and the
IIG on how best to resolve this complex problem.

7. (SBU) Comment: Post passes on GOT officials' comments
without being able to verify their assessment of the problem
in Northern Iraq. Post also urges the Department and Embassy
Baghdad to factor in the information obtained by Consulate
Adana in ref b, based on discussions with contractors and
transporters on the ground. On ref a's reference to Petrol
Ofisi being government-owned, post notes that majority
ownership (51%) of Petrol Ofisi was sold to private companies
in 2000 and our understanding is that the company operates
like a private business. Moreover, post's understanding is
that Petrol Ofisi is the leading contractor on sustainment
fuels, but is only the third or fourth largest Turkish
supplier to SOMO.

8. (U) Baghdad Minimize considered.
O'BRIEN

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