Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 2497 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YE YM YI

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 10ASHGABAT5, TURKMENISTAN: BOUYGUES' SHIP IN THE INTERNATIONAL

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #10ASHGABAT5.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10ASHGABAT5 2010-01-04 12:12 2010-12-12 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ashgabat
VZCZCXRO0165
PP RUEHAG RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHNEH RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSL
RUEHSR
DE RUEHAH #0005/01 0041233
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 041233Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3999
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 6071
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3765
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 3624
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 4313
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1371
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 4250
2010-01-04


C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ASHGABAT 000005 

SIPDIS 

STATE FOR SCA/CEN; EEB 
COMMERCE FOR EHOUSE 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/04/2020 
TAGS: ECON PGOV EINV TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN: BOUYGUES' SHIP IN THE INTERNATIONAL 
ECONOMIC STORM 

REF: 09 ASHGABAT 1643 

Classified By: XXXXXXXXXXXXXX for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Bouygues Batiment International, a major 
French construction company, has relocated large numbers of 
its staff to Turkmenistan from other international operations 
that have closed due to the international economic downturn. 
While Turkmenistan seems to be a cash cow for the company, a 
Bouygues representative notes that working with the 
government of Turkmenistan can be highly problematic: little 
or no input on design, delays caused by presidential 
drive-bys and demands for bribes at customs to clear needed 
materials. Bouygues seems to have figured out how to stay in 
Berdimuhamedov's good graces and will likely continue its 
stream of "grandiose" projects as long as the money lasts. 
END SUMMARY. 

2. (C) According to XXXXXXXXXXX, most of the 
French company's international operations have shuttered, 
or greatly reduced staffing, due 
to lack of projects worldwide. He mentioned specifically 
operations in Moscow and throughout the Caribbean. The 
glaring exception is Turkmenistan: rather than lay off all 
the French nationals working around the world, the company 
moved them here to try and keep up with Turkmenistan's 
seemingly insatiable demand for large-scale projects 
(reftel). The companyXXXXXXXXXX, who is responsible for 
overseeing the 80 million dollar complex for the Institute of 
International Relations, noted that most of the roughly 450 
French citizens working here have arrived recently -- within 
the past nine months. 

3. (C) Bouygues is working on a number of design and build 
contracts for the Government of Turkmenistan, including new 
University complexes (classroom and student housing) and 
government buildings, some of which are located in the 
Archabil area to the west of Ashgabat proper. Bouygues' 
leadership visited Ashgabat on December 29 and signed a 
number of contracts with President Berdimuhammedov, reported 
in the newspapers as, "giving start to a whole complex of 
grandiose projects." While the headlines and press 
statements refer to great cooperation and the honor the 
Bouygues company feels to be working with Turkmenistan, 
XXXXXXXXXXXX we spoke with expressed frustration 
at the startling lack of input from the Turkmen side. 
Bouygues consistently seeks input on what the university 
directors want in their buildings, but the company is met by 
blank stares and a vague order to "submit whatever you think, 
and we'll review it." Seeking to maximize their value to the 
Turkmen government, Bouygues consults with European 
universities to determine what equipment should go into 
classrooms, how the student housing is best arranged and all 
the other details that should be provided by university 
leadership. Frustratingly for Bouygues, when facilities with 
state-of-the-art classrooms and modern European kitchens have 
opened, "the Turkmen go and cook food in the courtyard in 
their traditional kazans, the way they always do. It is, 
please excuse me, like throwing candies before pigs. They 
just don't know what to do with it." 

4. (C) Echoing a source of frustration that is widely felt, 
he also noted that whenever the President drives by any 
construction site, they lose at least a half a day of work. 
Not only are they not allowed to have workers visible, they 
also need to reposition the booms of the cranes in such a way 
so as to ensure that no snipers could possibly use them as a 
shooter's nest. "It is strange that this president is so 
paranoid." He also noted that the lost time due to 
presidential peregrinations is starting to add up, and might 
push the opening of some projects past their planned opening 

ASHGABAT 00000005 002 OF 002 


dates. He also noted delays in clearing building materials 
through customs because the company refuses to pay bribes to 
"expedite" the high quality goods they need to complete their 
projects. 

5. (C) COMMENT: This provides a glimpse into what some 
international companies are willing to put up with in order 
to continue working in Turkmenistan. In Bouygues' case, it 
might be a marriage of convenience: the Turkmen have the 
money, and they need the contracts. Likewise, the company 
has learned how to do business here. Repeated visits by the 
company's leadership to praise the president's economic 
policies and to stay in his good graces helps to guarantee a 
stream of "grandiose" projects. END COMMENT. 
CURRAN