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Cablegate: Country Clearance for Inr/B Officer Nigro And

VZCZCXYZ0020
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAK #2430/01 2711254
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281254Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3860
INFO RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY 3351

UNCLAS ANKARA 002430

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINR OTRA TU
SUBJECT: COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR INR/B OFFICER NIGRO AND
POLITICAL OFFICER WILL

REF: STATE 132953

1. (U) Mission warmly welcomes and grants country clearance
to INR/B Officer Alexandra Nigro and Political Officer
Melissa Will. Christina Bobrow will be your Control Officer
for Ankara. She can be reached at: Office:
011-90-312-457-7250; Home: 011-90-312-491-7700; Cellular:
011-90-555-358-6803. Rusty Ingraham will be your Control
Officer for Istanbul. He can be reached at: Office:
011-90-212-355-9385; Home: 011-90-212-351-6843; Cellular:
011-90-533-520-7031.

2. (U) Hotel Reservations have been confirmed at the Divan
Hotel in Ankara. Address is Tunali Hilmi Caddesi, Guniz
Sokak 42, Kavaklidere, Ankara. Telephone number
011-90-312-457-4000. Confirmation number 102526-101499.
Cost is USD 142.00, inclusive of tax and breakfast. Visitors
should take Taxi from airport to hotel and contact control
officer upon arrival. Hotel information for Istanbul will be
conveyed separately.

3. (U) Visas: Please note that all Americans entering Turkey
must have a valid Visa. The only exception is military
personnel under CINC control 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 30 fee in cash. (This fee is payable only U.S. dollars
cash.) 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.

3. (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: 1-877-394-747); fax 1-800-232-3299; or via
the internet at HTTP//www.cdc.gov.

4. (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.

5. (U) Attacks over the last few years, attributed to these
groups, have occurred mainly in the Aegean and Mediterranean
coastal resort areas, as well as in Istanbul. In Istanbul,
most of the attacks, generally small-scale bombings, have
occurred in neighborhoods 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. In May 2007, a
suicide bombing in downtown Ankara, attributed to the PKK,
killed 6 and injured close to 100. On September 11, a van
packed with explosives was found about 2km from the Embassy;
it was safely removed by security officials.

6. (U) The Kurdish Freedom Falcons (TAK), a 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. The most recent incidents claimed by this
group occurred in summer 2006 and included explosions in the
town of Manavgat (Antalya Province), Marmaris, and in the
city of Antalya. Both Turkish and foreign citizens were
injured and killed.

7. (U) Violent demonstrations have occurred throughout
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

8. (U) 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
truck 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 Al-Qa'ida network supported
the indigenous radical Islamic terrorist group responsible.
The August 2005 discovery in Antalya of a potential plot
against maritime interests and subsequent arrest of a Syrian

Al-Qa'ida facilitator and planner further attest to the
ongoing transnational threat.

9. (U) The incidence 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 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 is 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, at which point 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 immediately. 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:
HTTP://WWW.USCONSULATE-ISTANBUL.ORG.TR

10. (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:
HTTP://WWW.TRAVEL.STATE.GOV/TURKEY.HTML

--US Embassy Ankara:
HTTP://WWW.USEMB-ANKARA.ORG.TR


Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON

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