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Cablegate: Istanbul - Osac Country Council Update

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 ISTANBUL 001289

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DS/EUR/IP, DS/DSS/OSAC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC
SUBJECT: ISTANBUL - OSAC COUNTRY COUNCIL UPDATE


1. (U) Summary. The Istanbul Country Council was
"re-established" on February 26, 2003. Post philosophy
for the Istanbul chapter has been to hold three to four
meetings each year using guest speakers on substantive
matters. In April 2004, a new steering committee signed
the chapter's charter, which was forwarded to DS/OSAC.

While the chapter's steering committee has remained
largely passive, there is one particular member of
the OSAC who has been instrumental in maintaining
communications with the membership. He is the director
of a private security firm who helped create an internet
system that allows the membership to communicate on
security related matters. Post uses this as a vehicle
to send public announcements and warden notices. Any
correspondence RSO Istanbul sends is first cleared to
ensure there is no conflict with the "no double standard
policy."

Following the November 2003 bombings, in addition to the
membership, Post has invited other organizations to attend
the OSAC presentations. These organizations include:

- Select foreign consulates
- Non-governmental organizations
- Schools participating in the Overseas School Security
Program
- Management of the residential communities where
Consulate personnel reside.
- British companies
- Other businesses frequented by American citizens

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This policy will be reviewed with the new Post management.

2. (U) Key Events and Significant Activities:

Overview of Events: Key events since the chapter's
re-establishment include:

- On February 26, 2003, the OSAC chapter was
re-established. Approximately one hundred and ten were in
attendance. The Consul General was the keynote speaker.

- On March 30, 2003, Consulate personnel met with the newly
established OSAC steering committee.

- On September 21, 2003, the OSAC steering committee met
with two visiting analysts from DS/OSAC and the new
Istanbul RSO.

- On October 7, 2003, Ambassador Edelman attended a lunch
with several members of the Country Council and RSO Istanbul.

- On December 8, 2003, the Ritz Carlton Hotel hosted a
meeting of the Istanbul Country Council. Assistant
Secretary of State Frank Taylor was the keynote speaker.

SIPDIS
This meeting was particularly well attended in light of the
four truck bombings that had occurred in Istanbul in
November 2003. One hundred and seventy-five were in
attendance.

- On March 11, 2004, Marla Petal was the guest speaker on
the subject of earthquake preparedness for the business
community. This meeting of the Country Council was hosted
by the Hyatt Regency Hotel and one hundred twenty-five were
in attendance.

- On April 7, 2004, the new steering committee unanimously
adopted the Council's charter.

- In May 2004, the RSO hosted a luncheon at the Consulate
for the newly appointed steering committee.

- On October 4, 2004, the Ceylan InterContinental Hotel
hosted the Country Council. Tom Marlowe, from FEMA's
Emergency Management Institute, presented a lecture on
"Emergency Planning." Ninety-two were in attendance.

- On March 31, 2005, Joe Schafer, Sr, from Diplomatic
Security's Office of Counter-Intelligence, spoke before
fifty-three members of the Istanbul OSAC on "Economic
Espionage: The Threat and How to Combat it." Due to the
subject matter invitations were restricted to only the
OSAC membership. The RSO found this presentation to be
particularly well received by the membership. The venue
for the event was the Hilton Hotel.

- On April 15, 2005, Colonel Nick Pratt, USMC (Ret), the
Director of the Marshall Center's Program on Terrorism and
Security Studies, made a presentation to the Istanbul OSAC
Country Council at the Ciragan Palace Hotel entitled "What
is Terrorism Today and What Measures are Available to
Counter this World-wide Threat." One hundred guests were
in attendance. Colonel Pratt's visit to Istanbul was
sponsored by the Consulate's Public Affairs Section. In
addition to the OSAC presentation, Colonel Pratt made
three other presentations on various terrorist related
subjects for Public Affairs. RSO found the collaboration
between the security office and Public Affairs to be
particularly valuable.

3. (U) Issues and Concerns:

Clearly the major issue on the minds of the membership is
terrorism. Post will continue to work with the Country
Council to help ensure that they are both informed and
prepared. In Istanbul, the threat of earthquakes remains
ever present. Both of these subjects will continue to
dominate the Istanbul Chapter's agenda.

4. (U) Outlook
RSO hopes to have the opportunity to introduce the new
Post management, to include the new ambassador, to the
Country Council in the coming year.

RSO and Public Affairs are again collaborating on bringing
a speaker to Istanbul in the coming months. The subject
will again be on Emergency Planning and Earthquake
Mitigation.


ARNETT

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