Cablegate: Back in Business: Fuel Deliveries From Turkey To

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

111522Z Mar 05



E.O. 12958: N/A


B. ANKARA 1214

1. (C) Summary: Following Embassy's strong objections,
Turkish officials appear to have rescinded the March 1
decision to stop the loading of SOMO and MNF-I fuel trucks.
Turkey allowed trucks hauling JP-8 to load beginning March 5,
and we confirmed March 10 that all MNF-I and SOMO fuel trucks
are being allowed to load. To avoid future disruptions,
Turkish officials asked for pre-notification of Iraqi
decisions to close the border. They also asked for
information on road security in Iraq and agreed to support an
Embassy request to allow tanker trucks to carry full loads of
fuel on Turkish roads. End Summary.

2. (C) In a series of meetings with senior MFA and Turkish
Customs officials, we objected to Turkey's decision to
suspend loading of SOMO and MNF-I fuel trucks because it
discriminated against our trucks and could harm our efforts
in Iraq and urged Turkey to rescind the order. The Turkish
officials claimed that they had been obliged to take the
decision because of the exceptonally long lines of trucks
waiting to enter Iraq that had developed following Iraqi
decisions to close the border for security reasons during the
elections and Ashura. They said pre-notification of such
closings would allow them to take preventative steps to
prevent such conditions from developing again. Ozge inquired
about possible plans to close the border for the Nevruz
holday. (We later passed to Ozge information from Embassy
Baghdad that it appeared that Iraq did not plan to close the
borders for Nevruz.)

3. (C) MFA DG Oguz Ozge added that the MNF-I and SOMO
trucks have been receiving expedited treatment at Habur,
which has caused growing frustration among local businesses
involved in border trade activities. We replied that we were
not aware that our trucks received expedited treatment, and
pointed out that this border trade is one of the causes of
the congestion at the border, because these traders make
short trips in and out of Iraq, sometimes only for the
purpose of smuggling fuel. We noted that much of the delay
on the Iraqi side is related to efforts to apprehend the
smugglers. (Note: Ag Counselor spoke recently with an
official of a Turkish food company shipping to Iraq, who told
him that the company routinely transfers its load to local
truck drivers in Cizre and Silopi because these local drivers
are allowed preferential treatment by Turkish border

4. (SBU) Ozge promised to support the request by DESC for
an exemption to the Turkish Transportation Ministry's policy
to limit fuel trucks to filling their trucks to 70% of
capacity. The policy is designed to minimize the damage to
the crumbling road network feeding into the Habur border
crossing, but requires DESC to hire a third more trucks to
meet CENTCOM fuel requirements.

5. (SBU) Ozge and Customs Deputy Under Secretary Guler said
that construction to expand and modernize the Turkish Customs
area at Habur will commence in April but that steps would be
taken to avoid disruptions of traffic. Ozge added that
Turkey will proceed with the agreement reached at the
November 2004 trilateral meeting to build secure truck stops
along the route from Habur to Baghdad. Ozge said the GOT was
looking at finance options, and was likely to use the BOT

6. (SBU) Ozge asked if U.S. forces would be in a position
to share information about current security conditions on the
roads between Mosul and Baghdad. He said it was his
perception that security had improved in recent weeks, but
would appreciate any confirmation that we could provide.

7. (U) Baghdad Minimize Considered.

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