Cablegate: Exbs: Problems with Border Security in Turkey

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




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 183118

Sensitive but unclassified -- please protect accordingly.

1. (U) Summary: Turkish MFA has requested a hold on travel
to border areas under the EXBS program until the Turkish
Parliament ratifies the recently signed Nonproliferation
Cooperation Agreement. Following ratification, expected by
the end of October, full implementation of the EXBS program,
including travel to border areas, in Turkey can begin. As
reflected in Embassy Ankara's Consular information sheet, no
region of Turkey is off-limits to official or unofficial
travel. Caution in travel to all regions is advised
following the June 2004 announcement by the PKK terrorist
organization that it was ending its unilateral cease fire.
End Summary.

2. (SBU) The Nonproliferation Cooperation Agreement between
the Republic of Turkey and the United States, signed on June
14th, awaits final ratification by the Turkish Parliament.
Once this ratification is completed, all programs covered
under the EXBS umbrella will be open for engagement.
However, until final ratification, MFA has requested that
EXBS program engagement be limited to exchanges with senior
government officials in Ankara. MFA officials want to avoid
the appearance that the government is beginning work before
the Agreement is ratified which they expect by the end of the
month. Once this is done, travel by USG officials throughout
Turkey will be encouraged in order to make the program as
successful as possible. Many programs are awaiting this
final ratification, including the DOE Second Line of Defense
and an overall Customs and Border Protection Service

3. (U) Turkish Customs, Foreign Trade and other government
organizations are eager to participate in many of the EXBS
programs that will be available to Turkey. They understand
the importance of following established governmental
procedures towards ratification of the Agreement. All
Turkish agencies involved with the EXBS program are careful
to ensure that any actions that they undertake within the
EXBS program will not give the appearance of circumventing
the ratification of the Agreement by Parliament. Each
organization is ready to quickly move forward engaging their
U.S. counterpart once this final step is complete.

4. (U) In response to concerns raised in reftel, post
emphasizes that there are no general travel restrictions on
travel throughout Turkey. Travelers must exercise caution
when traveling in certain regions of the country due to
periodic terrorist activity or other concerns, but overall
safety is good. The border crossings with Syria, Georgia,
Bulgaria and Greece are generally free of violence and safe
to visit. Visits to SE Turkey, including the border
crossings with Iraq and Iran, are monitored and subject to
approval by the Embassy. While travel to SE Turkey requires
greater vigilance, travel to this region does occur in
support of specific mission goals and programs is possible.

5. (U) Questions concerning the Turkish EXBS program should
be addressed to the Turkish EXBS Advisor, Kevin Lyon. His
contact information is phone (90)(312)455-5555 ext 2525, fax
(90)(312)468-4775, email


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