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Cablegate: Turkey: Peace University to Develop Economy,

DE RUEHAK #2914/01 3411127
R 071127Z DEC 07




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) This cable contains confidential business
information not intended for external distribution.

2. (SBU) Summary: As President Gul prematurely announced
during the recent Peres/Abbas visit to Turkey, Bilkent
University Rector and philanthropist Ali Dogramaci is
building a "Peace University" straddling Israel and the West
Bank to increase understanding and create sustainable
development. Surrounded by a high security wall, the campus
will house 4,500 Palestinians, Israelis, and others, who will
work or study at the nursing and teaching colleges or medical
facilities. Dogramaci says he has gained GOT and GOI support
and will have full control over every aspect of the project.
Like the Erez Industrial Zone, the Peace University is a
Turkish private sector initiative designed to complement the
ongoing Middle East Peace Process by strengthening the
Palestinian economy. While Dogramaci,s plans may seem
ambitious, he has the financial resources and political
connections to deliver on his promises. End Summary.

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3. (SBU) After developing several community-based school
projects in rural Turkey, Bilkent University Rector and
Foundation Chair Ali Dogramaci was determined to find a
swords-to-ploughshares approach to the Israel-Palestine
conflict. His answer -- a "Peace University" straddling
Israel and the West Bank. Envisioned as more than a college,
Dogramaci explained to us that the Peace University will be a
community where Israelis and Palestinians will work and live
together in a secure environment and provide desperately
needed services to the local Palestinians. Since beginning
his project in August 2006, Dogramaci told us he has lobbied
ruling and opposition parties in Turkey and Israel to
successfully gain political buy-in. He claimed that Benjamin
Netanyahu initially objected to 3,000 Palestinians residing
on Israeli soil, but extended his support contingent on
maintaining the highest level of security. In reciprocity,
Dogramaci will build a second, larger university in the West
Bank to provide services to neighboring Israelis.

4. (SBU) Dogramaci has fully developed his vision. A large
security wall encircling the campus will include two heavily
guarded entrances; one opening into Israel and the other to
the West Bank. In addition to the nursing and teaching
colleges, Dogramaci plans to build a 200-bed state-of-the-art
hospital and an adjacent hotel of equal capacity for the
patients, families. The faculty, administrators, students,
staff, and their families, including 3,000 Palestinians, 800
Israelis, and 700 Turks, Europeans, and North Americans, will
live together in modern high-rises. Support facilities will
include restaurants and shops as well as primary and
secondary schools for the employees' children. Dogramaci
also envisions a mosque, synagogue, and chapel located in a
central quad. University students will gain on-the-job
training at the medical facilities and schools. Outside the
West Bank wall, Dogramaci has planned a 1,000-2,000 capacity
outpatient clinic to provide medical services to local
Palestinians at market prices. Contingent on GOI
case-by-case approval, the clinic could transfer patients
requiring additional treatment to the hospital within the
walled campus.

5. (SBU) Working with the GOI, Dogramaci said he has
identified a property adjacent to the north-west tip of the
West Bank. The GOI extended qualified industrial zone (QIZ)
status to the area, providing Dogramaci with full autonomy
over the project. Dogramaci plans to use companies owned by
Bilkent University's foundation to build and secure the
facility. He has, he stated, already begun to personally
recruit the faculty from top institutions around the world.
Should any resident not abide by the principles of peaceful
coexistence, under the parameters of a QIZ, Dogramaci can
fire without question. He plans to make his first trip to
the site in January and begin construction of his 'university
upon a hill' shortly thereafter.

6. (SBU) Comment: The Dogramaci family has a long history of
education-based philanthropy. In 1984, his father,s
foundation established Bilkent, Turkey,s first private
university. After assuming the position of rector in 1993,
Dogramaci parlayed his family,s wealth and political
influence into a series ambitious projects, many requiring
the amendment of Turkish law. He is dedicated to the
creation of the Peace University, which he plans to name
after his father, and has taken the necessary steps to remove
any potential political road blocks. While his projects may
seem ambitious, Dogramaci has always delivered. End Comment.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at

ANKARA 00002914 002 OF 002


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