121148 9/6/2007 7:56 07ANKARA2273 Embassy Ankara UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY 07ANKARA1785 VZCZCXRO9464 PP RUEHDA DE RUEHAK #2273/01 2490756 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 060756Z SEP 07 FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA TO RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT PRIORITY 1947 RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ASTANA PRIORITY 0020 RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS PRIORITY 8330 RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU PRIORITY 1531 RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 1016 RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST PRIORITY 1029 RUEHUP/AMEMBASSY BUDAPEST PRIORITY 0270 RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 4263 RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV PRIORITY 0032 RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 5578 RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 5419 RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 6681 RUEHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA PRIORITY 1187 RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI PRIORITY 3127 RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA PRIORITY 1679 RUEHLJ/AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA PRIORITY 0158 RUEHVB/AMEMBASSY ZAGREB PRIORITY 0183 RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3639 RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY INFO RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 3258 RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 2265 UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ANKARA 002273
SENSITIVE SIPDIS FOR CHIEFS OF MISSION E FOR U/S JEFFERY EEB FOR A/S SULLIVAN EUR FOR DAS BRYZA SCA FOR PDAS MANN DEPT PASS TDA FOR DAN STEIN DEPT PASS DOE FOR PDAS FREDRIKSEN DEPT PASS NSC FOR LAUREN CATIPON
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: OTRA, ENRG, TU SUBJECT: REGIONAL ENERGY CHIEFS OF MISSION CONFERENCE - ADMINISTRATIVE AND LOGISTICS INFORMATION
REF : ANKARA 1785
1. This message grants country clearance and provides an update on administrative and logistical arrangements for the Regional Energy Chiefs of Mission Conference to be held at the Conrad Hilton hotel in Istanbul September 20-22, 2007. Attendees will receive a notional schedule via email in coming days.
2. Based on email exchanges with Mission Turkey, the following is our list of current participants. If your name is not included, and you think you are or should be participating, please be in touch with Elaine Taylor at Consulate Istanbul (TaylorEB@State.gov) and Dale Eppler at Embassy Ankara (EpplerDB@State.gov).
Ashgabat - Amb. Richard E. Hoagland Astana - Amb. John M. Ordway Athens - DCM Thomas Countryman Baghdad - Amb. Charles Ries Baku - Amb. Anne E. Derse Berlin - Amb. William R. Timken, Jr. Bucharest - Amb. Nicholas F. Taubman Budapest - Amb. April H. Foley Kyiv - Amb. William B. Taylor Ljubljana - Charge Maryruth Coleman Moscow - Amb. William J. Burns, Geoffrey Lyon Paris - Amb. Craig R. Stapleton Rome - Amb. Ronald P. Spogli Sofia - Amb. John R. Beyrle Tbilisi - Amb. John F. Tefft USEU Brussels - Amb. C. Boyden Gray Vienna - Charge Scott F. Kilner Zagreb - Amb Robert A. Bradtke E - U/S Ruben Jeffery, III and Executive Assistant David Nelson EEB - A/S Daniel S. Sullivan SCA - PDAS Steven R. Mann EUR - DAS Matthew J. Bryza TDA - Dan Stein DOE - PDAS Kathy Fredriksen and DAS Alan Hegburg DNI - Amb. Joseph Presel NSC - Lauren Catipon Other - Bud Coote
3. Arrivals: Attendees who have not already done so should notify Elaine Taylor and Dale Eppler via email of their flight arrival and departure times. We suggest that attendees book the Vista Travel Service for airport arrival and departure. Those who want to use this service should notify Elaine Taylor by email and the Consulate will then arrange for a Vista driver to be waiting with a name placard at the airport. The one-way fare is USD 35 payable in cash to the driver; a receipt will be delivered to the hotel. Round trip fares of USD 70 can be paid on the first leg of the trip and a receipt will be provided on the return leg. Attendees also can take taxis from the airport for which the fare is approximately YTL 45 or USD 36. A separate arrangement will be made for U/S Jeffery.
4. Hotel: Arrangements have been made for participants to stay at the Conrad Hilton where the conference meetings will take place. Reservations should be confirmed through the consulate rather than directly with the hotel. The Conrad is located at Yildiz Caddesi, Besiktas, 34353, Istanbul. The telephone and fax numbers, respectively, are (90) 212 227-3000 and (90) 212 227-3407.
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Participants are, of course, free to stay elsewhere, but transport to off-site events will be arranged to and from the Conrad. Check-in time at the Conrad is 10 AM on Thursday, September 20. Attendees arriving before that time will be able to leave their luggage at the hotel until they check-in.
5. Sightseeing: For spouses interested in visiting some of Istanbul's many sites, the Consulate will arrange a sightseeing program on a self-pay basis for Friday, September 21. Upon request, the Consulate can make additional arrangements for English-speaking guides. Consulate Istanbul requests attendees notify Elaine Taylor no later than September 13 of their interests and requests for guides so that they can contract services.
6. Conference fee: To defray the cost of conference incidentals, dinner Thursday, lunch Friday, and transportation within Istanbul, participants will be charged a USD 150 conference fee. This fee should be reimbursable as a separate item against attendees' travel orders. We will collect this fee on Friday morning at the beginning of the Conference and provide a receipt for your travel voucher.
7. Events: The Conference will kick off at 7:00 PM Thursday, September 20 with a welcome dinner hosted by Istanbul Consul General Sharon Wiener at her residence. Transportation will be provided to and from the Conrad. Spouses are welcome, but we ask that you notify Elaine Taylor and Dale Eppler if your spouse plans to attend. Dress for this dinner is casual. Dress for the conference meetings on Friday and Saturday, September 21 and 22, is similarly casual. Lunch Friday will be informal among the conference participants, and it will be at the Conrad. For dinner Friday, one of the American Chamber of Commerce affiliates here, the American Business Forum in Turkey (ABFT), has offered to arrange a Bosporus cruise and dinner. Dress will be informal/smart casual. Spouses are welcome at this event, but we ask that you notify Elaine Taylor and Dale Eppler in advance if you and your spouse plan to attend.
8. Cultural Note: The Conference will be taking place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. While Turkey is a secular country, many Turks will observe Ramadan by fasting between the hours of sunrise and sunset.
9. Visas: Please note that all Americans entering Turkey must have a valid visa. 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. 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 20 fee in cash. (This fee is payable only in U.S. Dollars cash. Note that this could involve significant delay at the airport.)
10. 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 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
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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 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.
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. Through 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 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.
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, 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 immediately.
Useful security information about Turkey is available on the following websites:
--Embassy Ankara: http://ankara.usembassy.gov. --Consulate General Istanbul: http://istanbul.usconsulate.gov.