Cablegate: Srap Consultations in Ankara, December 2-3

Published: Tue 22 Dec 2009 12:36 PM
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1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On December 2-3 an interagency U.S.
delegation led by Deputy Special Representative for
Afghanistan and Pakistan Dan Feldman met with Turkish MFA
officials and representatives from Turkish ministries and
agencies that have a current or potential role in Afghanistan
and Pakistan. The delegations discussed areas of potential
U.S.-Turkey collaboration in Afghanistan and Pakistan in
several broad categories, including health, governance,
agriculture, economic development, education and
counter-narcotics, and together developed a "summary note"
outlining specific areas in each category where the U.S. and
Turkey could take quick joint action. The Turkish delegation
also presented information on its PRT in Wardak and planned
PRT in Jawzjan as well as on its current and planned programs
in the field of religious training. Both sides agreed to
follow up with meetings between the respective embassies in
Kabul and Islamabad within the next month. END SUMMARY.
2. (SBU) The Ministry of Health gave a presentation on its
projects in Afghanistan, which include polio screenings and
donations of vaccines, and training Afghan healthcare workers
in Turkey. The Ministry of Health is interested in
organizing more health courses and medical screening
campaigns, and increasing efforts toward curbing infant
mortality. TIKA (Turkish International Cooperation and
Development Agency, the equivalent of USAID) has also done
work in Afghanistan's health sector, including construction
of 15 clinics and hospitals, four of which it managed in
2009. TIKA has also donated medical equipment and trained
Afghan healthcare workers. In Pakistan, TIKA was the
administrator of Turkish emergency aid to IDPs in the
Northwest Province. The delegations discussed TIKA's plan
for a basic health care certificate program targeted at young
girls in Afghan villages and focusing on midwife training and
basic nursing. The U.S. delegation suggested such a program
should be harmonized with the curriculum of and feed into a
professional nursing degree program at Kabul University and
provided information on U.S. plans to develop
university-level nurses training. At the conclusion of
talks, the Turkish and U.S. delegations determined that one
of the most immediate deliverables would be to jointly equip
a hospital in Afghanistan and/or Pakistan. Both sides also
agreed to consider additional support to Kabul Medical
University, joint vaccination campaigns and/or polio
eradication efforts, midwife training, and jointly producing
a documentary on midwife techniques, and joint work on
increasing maternal and child healthcare.
Good Governance
3. (SBU) TIKA president Musa Kulaklikaya told the U.S.
delegation the Afghan Civil Service Commission (ACSC) was
committed to reform, and had asked for Turkish examples of
civil service training, and had sent representatives to visit
related Turkish institutions. TIKA has organized "train the
trainers" courses for Afghan civil servants in Turkey, and
TIKA intends next year to build a training center for civil
servants in Kabul. The planned center will have a capacity
of 80 students at time and will focus on training trainers
for civil servants at all levels in all sectors. The U.S.
side emphasized the importance of civil service training,
especially at the sub-national level, and both sides agreed
that a short-term project for joint cooperation in this
sector could be assisting in training the trainers at the
Kabul ACSC training institute as well as through the
rehabilitation of provincial training centers, including one
in Jawzjan The Turkish delegation also agreed to a U.S.
suggestion that both sides support informal local governance
structures in Northern Afghanistan (on the basis of the
Afghanistan Social Outreach Program (ASOP) model.)
4. (SBU) The U.S. delegation highlighted agriculture as a top
area of priority for the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and
referred to President Obama's December 1 speech. Both sides
agreed that the collaboration between Turkish PRT in Wardak
and USAID in cold storage was a success they wanted to
replicate in other areas of Afghanistan and/or in Pakistan.
The U.S. suggested adding an element of increasing local
capacity in food processing and building on U.S. expertise in
connecting farmers to markets. Both sides also agreed to
consider: providing senior advisors to the Afghanistan
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Ministry of Agriculture, agriculture vocational training in
Afghanistan, improving transportation infrastructure,
establishing a farm and milk processing center in Wardak, and
developing irrigation projects.
Economic Growth
5. (SBU) Turker Ari, head of the Turkish PRT in Wardak,
raised the idea of developing an industrial park in
Afghanistan, and possibilities for cooperation and
encouragement of the new Afghan Chamber of Commerce in
Wardak. TEPAV (economic policy research foundation) managing
director Guven Sak was less positive about the possibilities
for an industrial park, however. He said it was important
first to develop Afghanistan's business and investment
possibilities (and security) enough to encourage companies
and investors to go there. Sak said supporting and working
with chambers of commerce in Afghanistan could bring positive
benefits, but that he felt Afghanistan would benefit more by
enacting the Turkish model of mandatory chamber of commerce
membership. The U.S. and Turkish delegations agreed that
replicating the Wardak provincial chamber of commerce and
linking provincial chambers of commerce would be a short term
deliverable for cooperation in the economic sector. The U.S.
side highlighted that cooperation on improving agricultural
capacity and energy cooperation in both Afghanistan and
Pakistan would also have a positive effect on economic
development. Several Turkish parasatal companies presented
on energy projects they would be willing to undertake in both
countries if they could find sufficient private financing.
The U.S. delegation explained that its energy assistance
programs in both countries focused on the need to improve
efficiency and the energy regulatory framework. The U.S.
side also briefly presented some models for private financing
of energy projects.
6. (SBU) Ministry of Education (MOE) representative Yucel
Yuksel said that the MOE runs one girls school in Akcha,
where 19 Turkish teachers instruct along with Afghan
teachers. Yuksel said the MOE would like to do more projects
like this, but faces a shortage of qualified local teachers.
Both sides agreed on the need for more teacher training, as
well as for assisting in developing curriculum and training
materials for other Afghan and Pakistani schools. The U.S.
delegation raised the idea of establishing "centers of
excellence" in Afghan and Pakistani universities specializing
in particular disciplines and twinning them with U.S. (or
potentially Turkish) universities. The Turkish side was open
to this idea and Yuksel mentioned that recently Konya and
Mazar-a-Sharif agricultural schools signed a "sister school"
agreement for cooperation. The delegations decided
development of a nursing curriculum and schools should be an
early priority for cooperation. They also agreed to consider
future cooperation on creating master programs, establishing
multi-program vocational high schools, providing advisors to
the Ministry of Education, enhancing scholarship programs,
and/or establishing partnering relations with Afghan
universities. While TIKA director Kulaklikaya said Turkey
was ready to take a role in developing religious education in
Afghanistan and had begun construction of a religious faculty
in Kabul, the U.S. highlighted the need also to train
religious school teachers in core academic subjects such as
math, science, and language arts.
7. (SBU) The Turkish delegation was interested in
collaborating with the U.S. in the short-term on a joint
anti-narcotic/drug use public awareness campaign in
Afghanistan (and also potentially with Pakistan.) TADOC
(Turkish International Academy Against Drugs and Organized
Crime) deputy director Ilkay Akyay said TADOC had done
alternative livelihood and anti-drug use campaigns with other
countries, for example in Burma, but that Afghanistan would
likely be more difficult as it is a "bigger prize" for those
in the drug trade and they would fight back harder. The
delegations agreed that future projects could include
establishing a drug rehabilitation center, training more
counter-narcotics officers, Turkish sharing of more
intelligence with ISAF, enhancing the capacity of the Afghan
Counter-Narcotics Training Academy, and promotion of
alternative livelihoods/licit crops.
Religious Training and Instruction
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8. (SBU) Two representatives from the Turkish Ministry of
Religious Affairs (Diyanet), presented their current and
potential activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The
Diyanet officials said their goals abroad, particularly in
Afghanistan and Pakistan, are to "save youth from extremism"
and ensure a stable future for both countries based on an
accurate understanding of Islam. To accomplish this goal,
the Diyanet brings Afghan students at various levels to
Turkey for religious education. Around 300 Afghan students
have completed undergraduate and/or graduate study in
theology in Turkey. These students often then return to
Afghanistan to work in public services, which is the goal of
the Diyanet. The Diyanet had planned to build a theology
school for Afghan religious personnel in Mazar-a-Sharif, but
canceled the project due to security concerns. The Diyanet
is still considering opening a theology school in Kabul,
which they thought could attract more students because of its
central location. If this were successful, they said could
then potentially build branches around Afghanistan. They
also offered other possibilities for their engagement in
Afghanistan, including helping to organize an Afghan Diyanet,
offering Turkey's system of religious schools (Imam Hatip
schools) as a model for Afghan religious school reform (as
they have already offered to Pakistan), and more religious
faculty exchanges and seminars. They also explained their
desire to teach moderate, tolerant Sufi beliefs through
publications of Rumi's works in local languages and
encouraging their use in religious instruction and general
education. The U.S. side noted that the U.S. had a very
limited role in religious instruction and general education
reform in Afghanistan and Pakistan and any joint efforts in
this area would be Turkish-led, but said the SRAP office
could help connect Turkey with other countries, such as the
UAE and Egypt, that might be interested in contributing to or
funding work in the field of religious education.
PRT Jawzjan
9. (SBU) MFA Department Head for South Asia Korkut Gungen
said plans were still underway for a new Turkish PRT in
Jawzjan, which would also undertake development activities in
Sar-e-Pol. It will be based on the same civilian-led model
as the current Turkish PRT in Wardak, focusing on police
training, health care, and humanitarian/development work.
Gungen said discussions with Sweden and NATO were ongoing,
and security was the main outstanding issue. Turker Ari,
head of PRT Wardak, noted that Turkey's "hearts and minds"
campaign (of engagement with and support to local residents)
itself brought security benefits. He also requested strong
and public U.S. support for Turkey's efforts to establish a
PRT in Jawzjan. Turkish Special Representative for
Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Engin Soysal said that if
agreements on security arrangements can be reached with
Sweden, PRT Jawzjan would be operational by mid-2010.
Regional Conferences
10. (SBU) As part of the way forward, the delegations
discussed upcoming regional conferences on Afghanistan and
Pakistan. Turkish SRAP Ambassador Soysal said Turkey planned
to host three conferences in 2010: the fourth
Turkey-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral summit, as part of the
"Ankara Process," would likely take place in early February
and would focus on education; Turkey plans to host a regional
summit of all of Afghanistan's neighbors, including China and
key extra-regional partners such as the Gulf and Arab states,
in the first half of 2010; and Turkey plans to host RECCA
(Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan) in
the second half of 2010. Soysal noted that the trilateral
summit could also include a foreign ministers meeting and
education ministers meeting. He noted that Pakistan might
object to the topic of education and the education ministers
meeting, as Pakistan does not want to be grouped with
Afghanistan on education issues, but he said Turkey would
continue to push for the education topic. The U.S.
delegation encouraged Turkey to consider inviting to the
regional summit non-traditional partners, such as Egypt and
Indonesia, which have indicated an interest in engaging on
civilian assistance to Afghanistan. Soysal said Turkey was
also considering a parallel brainstorming conference of
prominent regional think tanks and academics.
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