Cablegate: Country Clearance for U.S. Department of Labor


DE RUEHAK #6119/01 2991405
O 261405Z OCT 06




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 177391

1. (U) Mission warmly welcomes and grants country clearance
to USDOL official Mr. Mihail Seroka. Control Officer is
POLOFF Chris Krafft who can be reached 24 hours at
90-312-455-5555, ext 0 or via cell 0533-523-3592.

2. (U) Hotel and other logistical information will be
communicated in separate communication.

3. (U) Visas: Please note that all Americans entering Turkey
must have a valid Visa. The only exception is military
personnel traveling on NATO orders. Military IDs are not/not
acceptable travel documents. Travelers with tourist
passports can obtain a Visa valid for one entry/three months
at ports of entry upon payment of a USD 20 fee in cash.
(This fee is payable only U.S. dollars). Holders of official
or diplomatic passports must obtain Visas from the nearest
Turkish Embassy (not Consulate) before arriving in Turkey.
Visas for official and diplomatic passports will not/not be
available at ports of entry.

4. (U) Health Safety: Information on vaccinations and other
health precautions can be obtained from the Center for
Disease Control and Prevention hotline for international
travelers (tel: 1-877-394-8747); fax 1-800-232-3299; or via
the internet at HTTP//

5. (U) Security Assessment: In light of ongoing military
operations in Iraq and continued operations in support of the
war on terrorism there remains the potential for both
transnational and indigenous terrorist groups with
anti-Western sympathies, to include Kongra Gel (formerly
PKK), Revolutionary People's Liberation/Front (DHKP/C),
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), Turkish Communist
Party/Marxist Leninist (TKP/ML), Turkish Workers and Peasants
Revolutionary Army (TIKKO) and Islamic Greater Eastern
Raiders/Front (IBDA/C) continue to operate in Turkey.

Attacks over the last few years, attributed to these groups,
have occurred in the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal resort
areas, as well as in Istanbul. Most of the attacks,
generally small-scale bombings, have occurred in
neighborhoods of Istanbul not generally frequented by
official Americans or tourists. Also in 2005 and 2006 public
buses have been set on fire, with the most recent incident
resulting in three deaths. Thus far, these attacks on buses
also have taken place in areas of Istanbul distant from
official American or tourist destinations. A Kurdish group,
ostensibly aligned with the PKK terrorists, claimed
responsibility for many of the incidents noted above, and in
April 2006 this group issued a statement renewing a threat to
target Turkey's tourism industry.

Violent demonstrations have occurred in Turkey, the most
recent in Istanbul, and in several cities in Southeastern
Turkey. Just as with members of Mission Turkey, USG visitors
are required to obtain RSO Ankara and DCM approval for travel
to the Southeast.

Al-Qa'ida threats to target U.S. facilities in Turkey have
been public knowledge for some time. On November 15, 2003
two synagogues in Istanbul were the targets of suicide car
bombs. On November 20, 2003, the British Consulate General
and the London-based HSBC bank in Istanbul were struck by
powerful explosions, killing dozens and wounding hundreds.
Though prosecutions of those responsible are still ongoing,
indications are that the indigenous radical Islamic terrorist
group responsible was supported by the Al-Qa'ida network.
The August 2005 discovery in Antayla of a potential plot
against maritime interest and subsequent arrest of a Syrian
Al-Qa'ida facilitator and planner further attest to the
ongoing transnational threat.

The incidents of crime, both violent and the more traditional
tourists crimes (pick pocketing, purse-snatching, etc.), is
relatively low throughout Turkey. However, over the last
year, there has been a marked increase in the number of
crimes reported to Consulate General in Istanbul. Much of
the crime is centered in the areas frequented by tourists,
Consulate employees and official visitors. Visitors should
be particularly attentive for pick pockets in and around the
Sultanahmet, Taksim Square, and Istiklal Caddesi areas of
Istanbul. Often pick pocketing if preceded by some sort of
diversion, such as an argument or fight, or children asking
to assist tourists, for example with their bags. If you
encounter such activity, secure your wallet or purse and
quickly leave the area. Another scam that is becoming more
prevalent is that of a stranger approaching a visitor and
striking up a conversation which is continued inside a
restaurant or club, where one is either drugged and robbed or
presented with an enormous bill and intimidated into paying

it. The security office encourages visitors to report any
security incidents, including surveillance, to the RSO

Useful security information about Turkey is available on the
following websites:

--Embassy Ankara: HTTP://WWW.USEMB-ANKARA.ORG.TR (Click on
Security Matters)

--Consulate General Istanbul:

6. (U) For further information regarding travel in Turkey,
consult the consular information sheet. The consulate
information sheet and public announcements are available on
the internet at: HTTP://TRAVEL.STATE.GOV

Other information is available on the following websites:

--The State Department Consular Affairs (CA) websites:
--Turkish Daily News (ENglish Language Turksih newspaper):
--Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
--The Republic of Turkey Home Page:
--Weather for Turkey:

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at


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