Cablegate: Turkey Convinced That Preliminary Usg License

Published: Mon 31 Oct 2005 12:11 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
311211Z Oct 05
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: U/S for Defense Industries Bayar advised PM
DAS Suchan that an Advisory Opinion issued by the USG to a US
firm on a license request related to a Turkish defense tender
meets the requirement for "preliminary government approval"
contained in two recent Requests for Proposal (RFP) and
agreed to revise the RFP wording to reflect that. Major
General Inak, head of the MND Economic and Technical
Division, raised in a separate meeting his standard complaint
that the US isn't doing enough to support the Turkish defense
industry and pressed the USG to encourage US firms to invest
in Turkey. Suchan advised Inak of the USG policy change
regarding re-transfer of curios and relics granted to foreign
countries. ACTION REQUEST: On Sept. 15, SSM submitted to us
a one-word revision to the ATAK Helo RFP which SSM says is
intended to recognize that a US Advisory Opinion meets SSM's
requirement for preliminary government approval. Post
requests Department determination whether the language
contained in paragraph 6 is acceptable to describe an
Advisory Opinion. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) Responding to a challenge issued to the Charge by
Under Secretary for Defense Industries (Savunma Sanayi
Mustesarligi - SSM) Murad Bayar for the US to send an expert
to Turkey to discuss how Turkey could work with US firms
within US export control policy to achieve its procurement
goals (see reftel), PM DAS Greg Suchan and PolMilOff Kristin
Dowley met with SSM and Ministry of National Defense (MND)
officials in Ankara on Sept. 12 and 13. Suchan raised USG
concerns with wording contained in RFPs issued for the ATAK
Helicopter (2/05) and utility helicopter (8/05) programs
which states that "The Bidder shall provide preliminary
government authorizations and/or licenses which depict that
there exists no government or administrative policy or action
which is inconsistent with any and all of the Program
Objectives and the requirements of the Program as described
under the RFP."
3. (U) In a Sept. 12 meeting with Bayar and the SSM Aviation
Department ATAK Helicopter project team, Suchan stated
categorically that the USG cannot provide preliminary
government approval of a license application. He explained
that the US Congress will not accept a license notification
request without a signed contract. This is true both in the
case of US platforms and foreign platforms with US content.
The most the USG could offer is an Advisory Opinion, which is
submitted by a US firm and goes through the standard
licensing review in DOS and DOD, but is not notified to
Congress, and therefore does not/not constitute preliminary
government authorization. Advisory Opinions, like license
applications, said Suchan, can take several months or more
for approval. Suchan also described a US Marketing License
but suggested that it was not detailed enough to meet SSM's
requirements. (Note: Complete participant list at para. 11.
End Note.)
4. (SBU) According to Bayar, SSM wants to find a way to
achieve its goals for the ATAK program -- integration of
Turkish and other components onto a foreign platform as they
come on-line -- that is consistent with US law and
regulation. Saying that it is in Turkey's best interest to
have US firms in the competition, Bayer commented that he's
"not concerned with the language contained in the tender if
he can find a way to work with the US." Bayar pronounced the
Advisory Opinion as "something we can live with" and
dismissed US congressional holds on license applications as
rare occurrences, despite Suchan's reminders of past
problems. Suchan advised Bayer that the current ATAK RFP
wording was inconsistent with the definition of a US Advisory
Opinion and Bayar agreed to change the contract wording.
5. (SBU) Suchan underscored that, based on his discussions
with US defense firms and the American-Turkish Council (ATC),
resolution of this issue would not necessarily satisfy US
companies, many of whom had expressed significant concerns
with other Terms and Conditions contained the helo tenders.
Bayar claimed those concerns were being addressed directly
with the participating companies.
6. (SBU) On Sept. 15, SSM Aviation Department head Sedat
Guldogan and ATAK Program Manager Demir ? called in Acting
PolMilCouns and Office of Defense Cooperation Defense
Cooperation in Armaments (ODC/DCA) Manager to pass a one-word
revision to paragraph 12.2 of administrative section of the
ATAK Helicopter RFP (provided in para. 2 above) to reflect
SSM's acceptance of a US Advisory Opinion as meeting the 12.2
requirement. SSM asked us to submit the revised wording to
Washington to determine whether it would meet the USG
definition of an Advisory Opinion. In response to Deputy
PolMilCouns' suggestion that the continued use of the wording
"government authorization" could still be problematic,
Guldogan said that SSM wants to minimize the changes in order
to avoid confusing the meaning for non-US bidders.
7. (U) Begin text of revised paragraph 12.2 of he ATAK
Helicopter tender:
The Bidder shall provide preliminary (advisory) Government
authorizations and/or licenses which depicts that there
exists no government or administrative policy or action which
is inconsistent with any and all of the Program Objectives
and the requirements of the Program as described under the
End Text.
8. (SBU) COMMENT: In our view, the addition of the word
"advisory" to paragraph 12.2 of the ATAK Helo RFP, without
the removal of the phrase "...Government authorization..." or
any other revision to the language, would not appear to
adequately describe a US Advisory Opinion. However, we defer
to Washington for a final analysis and for any suggested
alternative language. END COMMENT.
9. (SBU) MG Omer Inak, in a separate meeting at MND on Sept.
13, expressed annoyance with the US refusal to provide
preliminary government approval, saying the RFPs should
contain enough information for the US to give an approval.
He then launched into his perennial mantra of inadequate USG
support for the Turkish defense industry. According to Inak,
the US is not living up to its commitments under the
bilateral Defense Economic Cooperation Agreement (DECA) to
support the development of Turkey's national defense
industry. Bilateral trade is inadequate and consists
primarily of Turkish purchases from US firms, and the USG
must do more to convince private US industry to partner with
Turkish firms as it has with companies in Europe. Suchan and
ODC Chief MG Sutton pointed out existing partnerships between
US and Turkish firms; described Sikorsky's proposal to move
its global Blackhawk production to Turkey; and noted Turkey's
participation in the Joint Strike Fighter program. Both
emphasized that, in a free market society, it is up to
Turkish companies to provide their merits to potential
partners around the world, and noted the importance of a fair
and impartial judicial system.
9. (U) Suchan outlined for Inak a recent revision to US
policy that will allow the review, on a case-by-case basis,
of foreign requests to re-transfer US origin curio and relic
items to a third party. He noted US understanding that the
Turkish General Staff (TGS) is considering the re-transfer of
some WW II-era weapons. Inak welcomed the news and promised
to look further into the matter.
10. (U) Bayar Meeting Participants: PM DAS Greg Suchan,
PM/DTTC Officer Kristin Dowley, Charge d'Affaires Nancy
McEldowney, A/DCM Tim Betts, ODC Chief, MG Peter Sutton,
A/PolMilCouns Maggie Nardi, ODC/DCA Manager LTC Doug Kiser,
SSM U/S Murad Bayar, SSM Deputy Under Secretary Faruk Ozlu,
SSM Aviation Department Head Sedat Guldogan, SSM ATAK
Helicopter Project Manager Demir ?, SSM Foriegn Relations
Chief Asuman Vangolu, SSM Foreign Relations Officer Necati
Subasi, other members of SSM ATAK Helicopter project team.
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