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Cablegate: Turkey's Disaster Management - Still Untested - Still In

VZCZCXRO0946
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAK #6624/01 3430918
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 090918Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0251
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1413
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 1769
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1521
RHEBAAA/DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 006624

SIPDIS

PLEASE PASS TO USGS FOR MFOOSE AND ESAFAK
USAID FOR OFDA

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID SENV EINV TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY'S DISASTER MANAGEMENT - STILL UNTESTED - STILL IN
NEED OF STREAMLINING

REF: A) ANKARA 3436
B) ISTANBUL 1098
C) ISTANBUL 693

ANKARA 00006624 001.2 OF 002


Sensitive But Unclassified. Please handle accordingly.

1. This is an Action Request. See Paragraph 2.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: After the devastating 1999 Marmara earthquake,
the World Bank made recovery loans contingent on broad changes in
Turkey's building codes and disaster management mechanisms. This
included creation of a "Turkish Emergency Management Directorate"
(TEMA), which was established in 2000. Although Turkey's disaster
preparation and planning has clearly improved since the earthquake,
responsibility is still shared by a variety of players, and TEMA is
still relatively new and untested in its critical coordinating role
for a multitude of local, provincial, and national players.
Legislation that would clarify and streamline its coordinating role
has been held up by bureaucratic infighting. End Summary.

2. (U) ACTION REQUEST: TEMA Director Hasan Ipek asked for USG
assistance in gaining training at FEMA for six young disaster
experts in his agency. Ipek noted that FEMA would be the most
suitable source of expert training, because TEMA is modeled after
FEMA and uses comparable information management systems. Ipek noted
that TEMA has the mandate for the functions carried out by both U.S.
FEMA and OFDA. Please contact David Young at Embassy Ankara
(YoungDK@state.gov) to follow up.

3. (SBU) BACKGROUND: Turkey is highly vulnerable to a major
earthquake, especially the population mass centered around Istanbul
and the Marmara Sea. Turkey's response to the August 1999 - 7.4
magnitude earthquake that killed more than 17,000 people was widely
criticized as slow, insufficient, and uncoordinated. As a
consequence, the World Bank's Marmara Earthquake Emergency
Reconstruction Project (MEER, 2000-2004) required the establishment
of the Turkish Emergency Management Direcorate (TEMA or TAY in
Turkish) under the Prime Ministry, along with other changes in
building codes and regulation.

--------------------------------------------- -----
TEMA Still Struggling - can it really coordinate?
--------------------------------------------- -----

4. (SBU) Under the umbrella of the Prime Ministry, TEMA acts as the
national central coordinating body for natural disaster preparedness
for all relevant government bodies. TEMA was created under 2000
legislation, but has slowly been gaining competence and authority.
A 2005 law assigned it the critical role of coordinating national
disaster response, but a newer law that would provide further
clarity and empowerment to TEMA and streamline the organizational
structure has faced bureaucratic resistance and has failed to move
out of the Prime Ministry. TEMA Director Hasan Ipek told us that
the GOT has been unable to do away with excessive bureaucracy,
streamline multiple agency involvement, and clarify TEMA's
coordinating role, which could have a negative effect on effective
and timely coordination in the event of the "big one" that everyone
expects some day.

5. (SBU) TEMA's resources and personnel remain limited. For the
moment located in cramped offices downtown, TEMA plans to move to a
new crisis coordination center outside Ankara at the end of this
year. As a result of the 1999 earthquake, there are now a variety
of new and old crisis centers operating at the local and national
levels, which will all in turn require overall national
coordination, the role assigned to TEMA. A natural disaster would
be handled first at the Provincial level; TEMA's role would be
activated if the disaster's scale demanded resources beyond the
scope of the province and the request for help was made to Ankara.

6. (SBU) According to Ipek, in the event of a serious national
disaster, there would be three levels of control: a) an ad hoc
Crisis Coordination Board under the chairmanship of the Deputy Prime
Minister; b) an oversight board under the chairmanship of the Prime
Ministry Undersecretary; and c) a crisis management secretariat
under the formal leadership of the PM Deputy Undersecretary - but
effectively led by TEMA. At each level, there would be
representatives of the military and relevant ministries and agencies
(MFA, Interior, Public Works and Settlement, Red Crescent),
depending on the nature of the crisis.

7. (SBU) TEMA is also tasked to coordinate receipt and distribution

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of relief supplies from voluntary agencies. For example, TEMA
worked with the UN and Red Crescent to coordinate delivery of public
and private assistance totaling $13 million in Lebanon. MFA is the
lead for coordinating international assistance in the event of a
disaster in Turkey.

------------
Red Crescent
------------

8. (SBU) The General Directorate of the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC)
has responsibility for organizing rapid disaster response and
assisting in the delivery of international and national humanitarian
aid. TRC has rebuilt itself after most of its management faced
charges of irregularities in public tenders and abuse of office in
the wake of the 1999 earthquake. TRC opened a new Emergency
Operations Center (AFOM) outside of Ankara, modeled after the
American Red Cross' Disaster Operations Center in Falls Church,
Virginia.

9. (SBU) Like Ipek, Red Crescent General Manager Omer Tasli cited
the U.S. FEMA model as the best in the world. He emphasized that
Turkey was much better prepared than in 1999, but stressed that
Turkey still had a long way to go and that the passage of time had
unfortunately diminished the sense of urgency on disaster readiness.
Tasli expressed disappointment at the GOT's failure to advance the
legislation which would clarify and streamline TEMA's coordinating
role. He described a surfeit of competing general directorates at
various ministries that were loathe to give up power and positions.


--------------------------------
COMMENT: Can They Work Together?
--------------------------------

10. (SBU) The key question is how well these disparate entities
(with their own structures, budgets, and agendas) can work together.
Although created in 2000, TEMA was effectively started only in 2003
with a modest budget and presence, and received full legal
authorization only last year. TEMA has organized regular training
and disaster simulations to facilitate pre-disaster planning and
coordination among critical agencies, holding a first national scale
simulation in February. A recent simulation testing Istanbul's
response and search and rescue capacity did not include observers
from TEMA or MFA. In the event of a big disaster, Embassy would need
to contact both MFA and TEMA to coordinate U.S. assistance.

Wilson

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