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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09BASRAH24 2009-05-01 16:30:00 CONFIDENTIAL REO Basrah
Cable title:  

TURKISH CONSULATE TO OPEN IN BASRA

Tags:   PGOV PREL IZ 
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VZCZCXRO4505
PP RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHBC #0024 1211630
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 011630Z MAY 09
FM REO BASRAH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0868
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0446
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHBC/REO BASRAH 0905
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L BASRAH 000024 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 5/1/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL IZ
SUBJECT: TURKISH CONSULATE TO OPEN IN BASRA

CLASSIFIED BY: Mark W. Bocchetti, PRT Team Leader, PRT Basrah,
Department of State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)





1. (C) Summary: Over a REO-hosted lunch on April 19th, Turkish
Consul General Ahmet Yazal announced his government's plan to
open a consulate in Basra next month. The proposed consulate
will be located in a temporary office until a suitable building
can be constructed. The Turkish government's intent, according
to Yazal, is to establishing strong economic and political ties
with southern Iraq. He blamed Basra's former provincial
government for blocking economic opportunity in past years and
spoke optimistically, albeit cautiously, about the province's
future. He also suggested that Iranian economic dominance in
the region will be short-lived.
End summary.



2. (C) Yazal explained that he plans to use his temporary
office, where he has been working since his arrival in Basra two
months ago, as the new consulate until a proper building can be
constructed. He said his government was in the process of
acquiring a suitable piece of land and negotiating with
construction contractors. Construction of the new building, he
added, will necessarily begin by March 2010, when the lease on
his temporary office expires. He projected that construction of
the building would take one year.



3. (C) Yazal described his government's search for a suitable
location for the new consulate. He said Ankara had explored
relocating to the Basra Air Station, but ultimately deemed it
too expensive. He also said his government had considered
taking up residence near the Iranian Consulate, but decided
against it after learning that violence against that particular
mission was not uncommon.



4. (C) Yazal explained that by launching a consulate in Basra,
the Turkish government hopes to facilitate economic links
between Turkey and southern Iraq. He described Basra's economic
potential as "enormous" and believes both countries would
benefit from a close economic relationship. He expressed
interest in meeting with members of the Basra Investment Council
and Basra Chamber of Commerce, and hopes to organize trips to
Ankara and Istanbul for its members in the near future. Yazal
added that over the last several years, Basra's corrupt and
ineffective government had made trade and investment very
difficult. "Local government," he said, "was usually the
largest obstacle to conducting business in Iraq. He was
cautiously optimistic regarding the province's newly-elected
government, suggesting that its chances for success depended
largely on the new governor's relationship with Prime Minister
Maliki.



5. (C) Yazal added that the new consulate would also serve to
increase Turkey's political contact with Iraq. Acknowledging
the importance of Iran in the area, he clarified that Ankara's
outreach was not meant to be a balance against Iranian
influence, contrary to the opinions of many Basrawis. He
discounted any desire to compete with Iran, adding that he was
not particularly concerned with its dominance of the local
market, as it would be "short lived." He explained that as
Basrawis prosper, locally produced goods will multiply and more
expensive imports will be accessible, creating many options to
Iranian goods.

BOCCHETTI