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Turkish Press Review, 97-08-21
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From: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.tr>
TURKISH PRESS REVIEW
THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 1997
Summary of the political and economci news in the Turkish press this morning.
 ECONOMIC REFORMS ON THE AGENDAThe government is working on an economic reform package aiming to stabilize the national economy. The High Planning Board is to determine the main principles of the package that is expected to be released within two weeks. The package envisages reforms in social security, taxation and collective bargaining. Further measures call for raising the retirement age, increasing the basic wage, lifiting compulsory savings, and registering all employed personnel. Moreover, there are comprehensive changes in the offing also for the tax system. Every tax payer will be assigned a tax number, and various taxes will be lumped together in one special consumper tax. The government is also planning to limit state guarantees for bank deposits to ECU 20 thousand. /Milliyet/
 TENSION OVER "PEACE TRAIN" MOUNTSSeparatist groups in Europe are planning to organize a train journey to Turkey. The "Musa Anter Peace Train Journey", backed by the PKK terrorist organization, will start out from Brussels on August 26. The train is scheduled to arrive in Diyarbakir on September 1. European socialists and Pauline Green, renowned leader of the Greens at the European Parliament, have also voiced support for the initiative. The Peace Train Coordination Center has asked President Demirel, Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz , Parliamentary Speaker Kalemli and the Chief of the General Staff General Karadayi for assistance. Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Sermet Atacanli said: "We believe this is a propaganda initiative linked to the PKK terrorist organization, and we have conveyed our concern to European officials." Foreign Ministry officials have announced that the train will be stopped at Edirne. /Milliyet/
 DEPARTMENT FOR RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS IN CHARGE OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATIONThe government is working on regulations on religious education to bridge a gap in the bill on education reforms. The Department for Religious Affairs supervised by the National Education Ministry is assigned with the task of coordinating religious education. Students having completed the first five years of primary education will qualify to attend Koran courses held over the weekends or during summer holidays. Tuition will be carried out by the Department for Religious Affairs. Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz gave details about the new regulation at a press conference yesterday together with Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit. /All papers/
 SUSURLUK ON THE AGANDAToday's papers concentrate on the Susurluk case that has once more become a top issue on the agenda. Kutlu Savas, head of the Prime Ministry Supervisory Board, has been assigned to investigate the Susurluk case in detail and has been granted full powers by Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz. Savas is to initiate a broad scale investigation into the case. Yilmaz pledged that in October everybody will be able to see the success of the government in dealing with the corruption charges involved in the scandal. /Y.Yuzyil/
 PENTAGON INDICATES TURKISH FRIGATES WILL SET SAIL SOONThe three decomissioned Perry-class frigates that Turkey has been trying to take delivery of since 1995 could indeed start sailing toward Turkey as soon as August 25, according to the Pentagon.
On Tuesday, the department of Defense spokesman Capt. Doubleday said, "Two donated frigates, are subject to a delay while awaiting the completion of the 30-day congressional notification period. That period expiers at the close of business on the August 23. Once the notification process is completed and Congress has expressed no objections, the Navy will work directly with the Turkish Navy to effect the transfer."
Turkish naval crews are expected to go to the United States in September to prepare to bring the frigates to Turkey. /All papers/
 LARGE PROJECTS TO DEVELOP GERMAN-TURKISH RELATIONSThe foundations for sulphur and gas refinery plant for the Yatagan thermal power plant, a hydro-electric power plant and the Dalaman-Akköprü dam will be laid on August 21 by Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, reported the Anatolia news agancy on Wednesday. Accroding to the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry, a consortium formed by the companies Lentjes Bizchoff (Germany) and Guris (Turkey) will contruct the foundations. Ministry officials said that the construction will cost $ 77.7 million, adding that $ 25 million of the total amount will be paid with credit from EDC-Canada.
 FOREST FIRE IN MUGLAFive thousand square meters of red pine forest burned on Wednesday around the village of Kayacik near Fethiye, Mugla, reported the Anatolia news agency. Officials from the Mugla Regional Forest Directorate stated that wind caused a fire to spread to the forest. Citizens and technical personnel from Kemer Forest Management intervened and the fire was controlled, but not before 5,000 squares meters of forest had been destroyed.
 BARZANI, NOT OPPOSED TO TURKISH MILITARY OPERATIONS IN N.IRAQMassoud Barzani, leader of one of the leading Kurdish factions in northern Iraq, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), stated that they had not invited Turkish troops into northern Iraq for the cross border operation of the Turkish Army - whose objective was to clear the area of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party )PKK). Talking to an Iranian daily, Barzani added that his party had not been opposed to the Turkish military's operations because they believed that the PKK had left them with no alternative. "If the PKK leaves our area, then we will not have to struggle with the PKK," said the Kurdish leader. /All papers/
 GERMAN INTERIOR MINISTER, 'BAN ON PKK WILL CONTINUE'Manfred Kanther, the German interior minister has stated that the ban on the out-lawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Germany will continue. Talking to the German daily: 'Bild', Kanther said that according to their own intelligence sources, the PKK has been continuing with its terrorist activities. /All papers/
 TURKEY AWAITS EU DECISION TO TAKE STEPS IN CYPRUS CONFLICTAnkara stands firm, repeating that no concrete decision can be expected with regard to the Cyprus conflict until the European Union reconsiders the European Commission's recommendation to start negotiations with Greek Cyprus. Foreign Ministry spokesman Sermet Atacanli clarified the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot positions on Wednesday, saying that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas had announced that "No concrete steps will be taken in the negotiation process to solve the Cyprus conflict before the EU Council decision to include Greek Cyprus in the full membership process during the enlargement of the 15-nation bloc is reconsidered."
Atacanli said Ankara thinks that, "In such an environment, the EU comes out as the major sticking point, and there is no reason to wait for any other concrete development."
The European Commission recommended that the EU should start negotiations with Greek Cyprus, acting as the sole community and administration on the divided island, ruling out Turkey as a possible candidate. The recommendation sparked Turkish and Turkish Cypriot reactions, saying the announcement hampered the direct talks process. /All papers/
 YILMAZ KEEPS TO VISITING TURKIC STATES FIRSTPrime Minister Mesut Yilmaz will make his first official visits to Turkmenistan and Kazakhistan Between September 8-12, according to an announcement released by the Prime Ministery on Tuesday, reported the Anatolia news agency. When he was recently appointed to the post of prime minister, Yilmaz declared that his administration would place special emphasis on relations with the Turkic countries.
Yilmaz is also expected to visit Germany in September for a meeting with Chancellor Kohl.
 TURKEY APPROVES TRANSPORTATION AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIAThe Turkish cabinet has approved the transport agreement between Russia and Turkey that was signed by both parties have in the Russian port of Novorossiysk on June 18. The memorandum of understanding between Russia and Turkey, was agreed upon at the fourth meeting of the Joint Transportation Committee, the Anatolia news agency reported.
The decision, which was published in Wednesday's edition of the Official Gazette, notes that both parties have agreed on regulations governing transportation by sea, river and land, transportation facilities and other transportation issues.
 FIRST-TIME MEETING BETWEEN OFFICIALS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONSThe Human Rights Coordination Board meets Thursday with chairmen of human rights organizations, among which are several considered to be hard-liners who have been invited for the first time to the meeting of the official board. The board, comprised of representatives from the Prime Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Internal and Justice Ministers' departments, meets under the chairmanship of State Minister Hikmet Sami Turk, responsible for Human Rights. Human Rights Organization (IHD) Chairman Akin Birdal, Human Rights Foundation President Yavuz Onen and Yilmaz Ensarioglu, Chairman of Mazlum-Der, and other human rights organizations will participate in Thursday's meeting, at the invitation of the Prime Ministry.
Human right activists point out that the visit of a delegation from the European Human Rights Commission scheduled to take place next week might have played a significant role in such a decision. The Commission members will be received by the authorities for the first time. /All papers/
 TURKEY BEATS WALESTurkey trounced Wales 6-4 in their World Cup European group seven qualifying match on Wednesday. Hakan Sukur smacked home four goals as Turkey twice came from behind before to beat Wales. Turkey have 10 points from six games, five points behind group leaders the Netherlands and Belqium. /All papers/
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