HURRIYET (LIBERAL) GESTURE TO DEMIREL IN PARIS
President Suleyman Demirel will leave for Paris today. French President Jacques Chirac will welcome President Demirel at the Orly Airport. All the streets in Paris which President Demirel will pass are full of Turkish flags.
Addressing a press briefing at the Esenboga Airport before leaving for France, President Demirel said that he hoped he will have a productive exchange of views during his stay in France particularly concerning the tension surrounding Turkey.
President Demirel stressed that Turkey and France have an historical past of 500 years, traditional and deep relations between them, adding that France is the fifth important trade partner of Turkey and their trade volume is more than four billion dollars.
''More than 260,000 Turkish citizens are living in France and we have a partnership with France in all the European institutions,'' said Demirel, adding that France has always extended support to Turkey regarding the latter's relations with the European Union (EU).
''I will have the opportunity to meet the French President Jacques Chirac, Mr. Jospin and other government officials and explain Turkey's views about all issues that concern our countries. We will also discuss the improvement of economic and commercial links with France and the possibilities of reflecting our cooperation to third countries,'' said Demirel.
The official contacts between the delegations from the two countries started on the second day of Interior Minister Murat Basesgioglu's visit to Croatia. Murat Basesgioglu and Ivan Penic held a press briefing at the Villa Prekrizje.
Addressing the briefing, Ivan Penic said the major topic of the contacts is the international smuggling of humans and drugs, emphasizing that the cooperation between Turkey and Croatia is at a good level in the area of fighting against crimes.
Penic said that human smuggling, which is planned by organized groups, constitutes a big problem for his country.
Murat Basesgioglu said that human and drug smuggling in Turkey is organized by the separatist terrorist PKK organization.
Murat Basesgioglu will be received by the Croatian Prime Minister Zlatko Matesha.
Speaking at the Hilton Hotel, Parris said that the US attributes importance to the geo-strategical and economic status of Turkey and extends support for territorial integrity, the secular democracy of Turkey, her integration with western institutions and her being a prosperous and rich country. Parris stressed that these are unchanging points in the relations between the US and Turkey.
Parris stated that Turkey entered the Customs Union with the European Union (EU) with the active support of the US.
Recalling that Prime Minister Mesut Yılmaz and the US President Bill Clinton approved a five-part agenda, which constitutes the focus of bilateral relations in 1998, Parris stressed that energy, economic issues, security cooperation, regional cooperation and the Cyprus question are on this agenda.
Noting that Turkey is a regional power with its gross national product (GNP) of approximately 200 billion dollars and an economic growth of 5 percent, Parris said that the US will not extend Economic Assistance Aid to Turkey next year, because the latter does not need it anymore.
Parris stressed that the two countries will meet twice a year and in this framework Korkmaz Haktanir, the Foreign Ministry Undersecretary will meet with Strobe Talbott, the US Assistant Secretary of State, Thomas Pickering, the Undersecretary and other US officials in Washington, DC on February 25.
Pointing out that several opportunities can be lost in 1998, Ambassador Parris stated that the US was encouraged by the Madrid Declaration reached by the Greek and Turkish governments last summer, but the two countries could not record a progress since then. Parris added that the US expects a solution to be reached on Cyprus in 1998.
Parris said that the US also hopes that Turkey will reach her target regarding human rights and democratization.
Responding to the questions of journalists, Parris stressed that the US policy towards Turkey is based on both its own interests and reciprocal interests, adding that the US has very important interests in this part of the world.
Ambassador Parris added that the US appreciates the attitude of Turkey regarding the tension in the Gulf and the US has not asked Turkey to use the Incirlik Base.
Ersumer and Fradkov discussed the issues of the ''one billion kwh of additional electricty annually that Turkey is planning to purchase from Russia'' and ''further improvement of the bilateral energy cooperation'' in their meeting.
The Turkish Botas company (Pipeline Transport Inc.), the Turkish-Russian joint natural gas venture Turasgaz and the Russian Gazeksport signed an agreement the same day in a ceremony attended by Cumhur Ersumer as well.
The agreement includes the technical arrangements regarding the purchase of eight billion cubic meters of natural gas annually through the existing pipeline via Bulgaria.
Cumhur Ersumer also held contacts with the officials from the Russian official natural gas export firm Gazeksport and later met with Rem Vyahiriev, the President of the Russian natural gas producer company Gazprom.
Ersumer will meet with the Russian Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin, Sergey Kriyenko, the Russian Energy Minister and Vagit Alekperov, the President of the Russian oil company Lukoil on Thursday.
Ersumer is expected to propose Russian cooperation regarding the Baku- Ceyhan oil pipeline issue and the feasibility report of the pipeline will be introduced in the meetings.
Ersumer will attend the signing ceremony of the agreement for the ''Blue Stream Pipeline'' that will transfer natural gas from Russia to Turkey beneath the Black Sea.
Turan Hazinedaroglu, the General Director of the Turan Hazinedaroglu Construction and Trade Inc., told the A.A correspondent that the agreement for the construction of the land-part of the pipeline in Russia will be signed by the Hazinedarogullari-Oztas Corporation and the Russian Stroytrangaz Company.
In accordance with the agreement, these two companies will construct that part of the pipeline.
Responding to the questions of journalists about the Cyprus question, Cem said, ''we do not regard the results of elections held on the Greek Cypriot side as a development that will affect our Cyprus policy that much. However, Glafcos Clerides, who is living his last days in politics, may approach the Cyprus question with more common sense. We will continue to pursue our own policy if a federative solution based on equal and sovereign states is not brought onto the agenda.''
Cem stressed that it is not possible to think of a federation which is composed of one ''state'' and one ''community.''
Speaking about Turkey's note to Greece, Cem pointed out that ''our message has reached everywhere.''
''We have made a serious proposal and I hope the Greek government accepts that. We have sent Greece an official note and I do not want to make a comment regarding this issue unless we receive an official response,'' said Cem.
Responding to a question, Cem stated that ''it is for sure that the bonds with Europe have not been cut, but we said that political dialogue with the European Union (EU) will cover specific areas. We can not accept the discriminatory attitude against Turkey, but we will be glad if the EU brings us new proposals. It is not sufficient for Turkey to be included only in the EU enlargement process, Turkey should be taken into the admission process.''
(Derived from Newsspot of the Turkish Directorate of General Press and Information.)
DEMIREL RECEIVES MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENTS' ASSOCIATION
President Suleyman Demirel received members of the Diplomatic Correspondents' Association yesterday and commented on the ongoing crisis in Iraq. After a possible strike against Iraq, Demirel noted that chaos could break out, inflicting serious damage on Turkey.
''I urged Saddam Hussein in all my messages to implement all the UN resolutions,'' the president stated. /All papers/
YILMAZ VISITS HACI BEKTAS VELI FOUNDATION
Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said yesterday that Turkey's greatest treasure was the coexistence and agreement among its various cultures. Yilmaz made his remarks while visiting the future site of the headquarters of the Haci Bektas Veli Anatolia Cultural Foundation in the Dikmen District of Ankara. The prime minister stressed that the state gives equal status to every sect in Turkey, and pointed to the variety of cultures and religious sects in Turkey. Haci Bektas Veli was a holy man of the Alawite sect. /Sabah/
TURKEY'S RESPONSE TO CLINTON
Necati Utkan, the Foreign Ministry Spokesman, said yesterday that the US President Bill Clinton could well have in mind merely a US military exploratory operation from the north, and added that Turkey, although making no promise of military support in general could support this kind of operation. Utkan also expressed Turkey's pleasure at the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's attempts to find a peaceful solution to the Gulf crisis by visiting Baghdad. Although it is noted in an official government statement that ''We hope this last chance will not be wasted'' it is also stressed that Turkey will not support the US in case it launches a military attack against Iraq. Meanwhile, President Suleyman Demirel is continuing with his ''telephone diplomacy'' aiming to ease the tension in the region. Yesterday morning Demirel spoke with Kuwaiti Emir, Al Sabah. In a later statement released by the Presidency, it was declared that Demirel had expressed his opinion that military action against Iraq was not a necessity and that Turkey has a responsibility for the maintenance of peace in the region. /Cumhuriyet/
US: WE HAVE CONFIDENCE IN TURKEY
The US Government has declared that they have ''absolute confidence'' in Turkey, referring to Turkey's military support for the US should it launch a military attack against Iraq. Responding to questions in a television interview, the White House National Security Counsellor, Sandy Berger said, ''Turkey and Saudi Arabia are well aware of the menace arising from Iraq. We do not have any doubt about their support in a probable Gulf War.'' /Cumhuriyet/
ANKARA RENEWS PEACE CALL TO GREECE
Turkey yesterday renewed her call to Greece for a peaceful settlement of the disputes between the two countries in the Aegean, despite an earlier categorical refusal from the Greek Foreign Minister. ''We hope that our proposal will be considered and that the answer will be a positive one,'' Necati Utkan, the Foreign Ministry Spokesman told reporters. He also added that Turkey expected an ''official and serious'' response, in apparent dissatisfaction with the statements of the Greek officials in the press. /All papers/
EU-CYPRUS TOPS HANNAY'S AGENDA
Turco-European Union (EU) relations, the Iraq crisis and the Cyprus question will be among the issues discussed when Sir David Hannay visits Turkey at the beginning of next week as British Prime Minister Tony Blair's special envoy to Turkey, according to the British Foreign Office. Sir David will discuss bilateral relations between Turkey and Britain and is expected to give a message to Turkey regarding its EU status. Meanwhile, Hans van der Broek, the EU Commissioner Responsible for Foreign Affairs will visit Greek Cypriot side and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on 5 March. /Cumhuriyet/
SHATTUCK MONITORS HUMAN RIGHTS IN MARDIN
John Shattuck, the US Assistant Secretary, visited the southeastern Turkish city of Mardin yesterday and held talks with the provincial governor. Speaking after the meeting, Shattuck said that his goal was to directly observe human rights developments in Turkey, as it is a prominent ally of the US.
Mardin Governor Vali Guven, said that the Turkish government was very sensitive and consistent regarding its projects to improve human rights in Turkey, stressing that Turkey had not created the problems in the Southeast. /Cumhuriyet/
(To be continued)
(Derived from Newsspot of the Turkish Directorate of General Press and Information.)
CATTAUI'S CONTACTS IN ISTANBUL
Turkey is among the five countries in the world recording the fastest growth in foreign trade, the Secretary-General of the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce (ICOC), declared when speaking at a dinner Monday night in Istanbul. ICOC Secretary-General Maria Livanos Cattaui noted that Turkey was one of the five countries -all of which are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development- which recorded the greatest increase in foreign trade between 1990 and 1996.
Cattaui said that Turkey's development was an indication that the emerging economies of the world would continue to be more efficient than the industrialized countries, despite the Asian financial crisis. Turkey's youthful population and aggressive entrepreneurship were helping to drive growth forward, she said. /All papers/
ARCELIK RANKS FOURTH IN EUROPE
Arcelik, which is the largest private sector company in Turkey, ranks fourth from the standpoint of the market share of durable goods in Western Europe. With sales worth USD 626 million in 1996, Arcelik ranked ninth in the European market according to Appliance Magazine, a monthly trade magazine published in the US. /Sabah/
1.2 TONS OF HASHISH SEIZED IN GAZIANTEP
During an operation carried out in Golhuyuk village in the Nurdagi district of Gaziantep Province, 1,250 tons of hashish were seized. Officials noted that the hashish, worth 1 trillion TL, was about to be sent abroad. /Sabah/
THIRD TURKISH SATELLITE
Necdet Menzir, the Minister of Turkish Communications and Transportation signed in Monaco yesterday an agreement for the construction of a third Turkish satellite, Turksat 2A. The 260 million USD satellite project will be materialized by the Euroasiasat company jointly established by the Turk Telekom and the French aeronautics company Aerespatiale. Turksat-2A is the first 10KW satellite to be launched into space. It is expected that Turkey will earn 800 million USD from this lucrative project. /Milliyet/
ALAATTIN CAKICI CAUGHT
Shadowy Turkish underground figure, Alaattin Cakici, a leading suspect in a number of murder cases and other criminal activity, has been apprehended by the French police at the southern French border. Ankara will demand the extradition of Cakici to Turkey. /Sabah/
TUSIAD DELEGATION IN NORTHERN CYPRUS
Representatives of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) will pay a visit tomorrow to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on the official invitation of the Turkish Cypriot President Rauf Denktas. The TUSIAD delegation, headed by association chairman Muharrem Kayhan, will hold meetings with President Denktas, government officials and Turkish Cypriot businessmen. /Cumhuriyet/
TURKISH FABRIC DESIGNS ON THE WAY TO THE US
The Kefeli group, which displayed shirts with fabric designs by the Bossa, Anteks and Soktas firms at the Interjens Fair in Cologne, Germany, will now show these same designs to the US market. The firm will promote the shirts made from Turkish fabrics at the Magic World Fair to be held in Las Vegas. /Hurriyet/
ITALIAN AWARD FOR GUNES
The University of La Spienza has decided to award its most important traditional Feyer Des Artistes gold medal to Hasan Fehmi Gunes, the former Turkish Minister of the Interior. It was learned that this decision was made because Gunes, a staunch defender of human rights, took it upon himself to protect justice during his period in office. The gold medal will be awarded to Gunes by Profç Marie Morelli, the Rector of the University. /Hurriyet/
The international seminar titled ''The Contemporary Problems of Preserving the Architectural Heritage, Approaches and Suggestions'', which was organized by the Turkish and Greek National Committees of the International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the Turkish Yildiz Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, started at the Yildiz Technical University the same day. Addressing the opening speech of the seminar, Bartholomeos said that such bilateral relations would be more effective than the initiatives of the politicians to improve relations between Turkey and Greece.
Pointing out that as the Patriarchate, they support the view of the late Turgut Ozal, 8th President of the Republic of Turkey, ''the relations among businessmen, travel agencies, scientists and men of culture should start to solve a problem before the statements of politicians'', Bartholomeos said that the people other than politicians should assume the duty of strengthening the relations between the two countries.
Cengiz Bektas, the Chairman of the Turkish-Greek Friendship Association, said that the Turkish and Greek people should preserve together the common heritage composed of architectural works that they have also created together.
Bektas stressed that if the relations continue like this, it would harm both the Turkish and Greek peoples.
The seminar will continue on Thursday.
Addressing a statement to AFP (Agence France Press), President Demirel stated that ''Iraq should not be divided. If Iraq is divided and a Kurdish state is established, it will result in serious problems, which will last for years.''
President Demirel stressed that Iraq should abide by the UN Resolutions, but this should be ensured with dialogue, not by a military operation.
''This crisis is very important and complicated. I am worried about the fact that a military operation can result in many problems not only for Turkey, but also for all the countries in the region,'' said Demirel, adding that he supports the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's initiatives to prevent a war and all diplomatic methods have to be resorted to until the last moment.
Tuncay Kuleli, Researcher at the Cukurova University, Faculty of Water Products told the A.A correspondent that NASA informed the university that it will support one of the projects of the university namely ''The Eastern Mediterranean Region Ecosystem Watch Project''.
NASA will send a group of experts to Turkey in August this year concerning the project and the experts will make studies.
Kuleli said that this project launches efforts to protect and improve the ecosystem of the Cukurova region, adding that the support of NASA will be beneficial for the future planning of the Cukurova region.
The project, which will be supported by NASA, costs 250,000 US dollars.
Addressing a conference at the Kirikkale University, Franchuk said that several important decisions were made during his meetings with President Suleyman Demirel and Hikmet Cetin, the Speaker of the Parliament in the field of ''touristic relations'' between Turkey and his country.
Pointing out that the Crimean Tatars and other minorities are jointly working for the development of the Crimea, Franchuk said, ''we are doing our best to support them. Nearly 250 thousand Tatars have returned back to their homelands and continue to return.''
Mustafa Abdulcemil Kirimoglu, the Speaker of Crimean Tatars Parliament, said that the Crimean Tatars are living a difficult life in the Crimea.
Stating that some 7-8 million Crimean Tatars live in Turkey, Kirimoglu said, ''this proves that we are two sister countries.''
Mustafa Abdulcemil Kirimoglu and the accompanying delegation met with Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz, the Chairman of Religious Affairs, on Thursday in Ankara.
Kirimoglu in the meeting asked Turkey for financial assistance for the repair of nearly 30 mosques.
Yilmaz said, as the Chairmanship of the Religious Affairs, they had delivered more than 100 thousand books and constructed eight mosques in the Crimea and that they will continue to support the Crimean Tatars.
Responding to the questions of the diplomacy journalists, President Demirel said that the problems between Iraq and the UN stem from the fact that the Gulf crisis, which started with the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990, did not end. Demirel pointed out that the Iraqi government could not establish peace in Iraq and make peace with the world.
Recalling that Turkey and Iraq are two neighbouring states, Demirel stated that Turkey lost 35 billion dollars within six years due to the embargo imposed on Iraq.
Noting that Turkey is ''very uneasy'' about the use of Northern Iraq as a terror base, Demirel pointed out that Iraq's relations with all of her neighbours are not close, as Iraq does not give confidence to them.
Stressing that Turkey is calling on Iraq to abide by the UN Resolutions, Demirel said that if Saddam Hussein tells his people that ''even if my dignity has been hurt, I will abide by these resolutions for the sake of my people,'' the reasons for a military strike against Iraq will be lifted in the eyes of world.
President Demirel stated that military interventions do not always give a result, adding that a new military intervention will result in a chaos which will also harm Turkey.
Responding to a question asked whether a Kurdish state could be established in Northern Iraq if Saddam is overthrown, Demirel recalled that US officials said in their earlier statements that the territorial integrity of Iraq would be protected.
Noting that the US did not ask Turkey to use its Incirlik base, Demirel stated that if such a demand is asked, the parliament will be entitled to make a decision about this issue.
Pointing out that Turkey has taken measures in response to a possible migration influx, Demirel hailed the the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's mission to Baghdad in an attempt to find a diplomatic solution.
Demirel said that in case of a crisis, Turkey will have commitments not only to the Turkmen people in Northern Iraq, but also to all the people of Iraq, including the Arab and Kurdish people.
Responding to the questions of the diplomacy journalists, Demirel stated that Turkey accepted European values many years ago, she is a member of many European institutions and adopted the civil code and concepts like equality between men and women.
Noting that Turkey expects the EU to correct its Luxembourg decision towards Turkey, Demirel said ''The EU does not tell Turkey that she is outside of the union, but it discriminates against Turkey.''
President Demirel pointed out that Germany has a trade volume of 10 billion dollars with Turkey, while France and Britain have trade volumes of four billion dollars each with Turkey, adding that Turkey expects the EU to correct its mistake about Turkey.
Responding to a question about the criticism of Helmut Kohl, the German Prime Minister about Turkey's borders, Demirel pointed out that Kohl means the continental shelf and the Kardak question between Turkey and Greece with his criticism, adding that the borders of Turkey can not be discussed, because this means intervention in the sovereignty rights.
''Europe provides support to terrorism,'' said Demirel adding that Turkey is a unitarian state and the separatist terrorists in Turkey try to imply that there are people under pressure in Turkey, and they are the ''liberators'' of these people. ''This is not true and several institutions in Europe provide support to these separatists,'' said Demirel, adding that there is no discrimination of race, religion and language in Turkey.
Responding to a question on criticisms against Turkey's relations with Israel in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) summit in Teheran, President Demirel said that there were no decision which blamed Turkey by her name in that summit. Demirel said that several decisions about Cyprus, Bosnia and Western Thrace within the line of Turkey's policies, have also been made during that OIC Summit.
Noting that there are countries in the OIC which have better relations with Israel than Turkey, President Demirel added that ''if these relations do not harm other third countries, then no one has the right to criticize.''
Responding to a question about Armenia, President Demirel added that he is extremely worried about the situation in this country.
Roumeliotis, currently in Ankara within the framework of Southern European countries' stability and friendly relations process (Royaumont Process), issued a press statement at the EU European Commission Turkish Representation.
Roumeliotis said the Royaumont process has started in December 1995, adding that a necessity for cooperation organization appeared in the southern European countries after the division of the former Yugoslavia.
Roumeliotis said he would visit all the southern European countries and non- governmental organizations after concluding his visit to Ankara. He said, ''we invite non-governmental organizations to prepare joint projects.''
The Commission will provide financial support to the projects which will be adopted in a meeting that will take place in Brussels next month.
Turkey and the Central Asian Turkish Republics were chosen as the receiving region of the satellite which will be launched early in the year 2000 and will transmit information at a resolution of 20 metres to be used in every field.
Prof. Dr. Murat Askar, the Chairman of the TUBITAK BILTEN, told the A.A correspondent that they are preparing to construct the satellite to acertain a place for Turkey among the developed countries.
The officials from the Ankara Directorate of Security made a search in the house of Fatih Arslan at Balgat and found 81 artifacts dating back to B.C. 2000 and B.C. 1000, the Ancient Greece, Byzantine, Early Roman and Ottoman periods.
Fatih Arslan was taken into custody and the investigation is underway.
ISTANBUL - The ''Leather Turkey'98 First International Leather, Leatherwear and Leather Processing Systems Fair'', which was organized by the CNR International Fair Organization, was opened on Wednesday.
A total of 250 companies from 26 countries are participating in the fair that will remain open until February 22.
ANKARA - The protocol regarding the exchange of personnel between the Armed Forces of Turkey and Slovakia entered into force on Thursday. The protocol was signed between Turkey and Slovakia within the framework of the Military Cooperation Agreement.
The two countries will exchange 10 military personnel families (20 people) each year in accordance with the protocol, which was approved by the Council of Ministers' decision published in the Official Gazette the same day.
ANKARA - Ersin Taranoglu, the Minister of Forestry, sent letters to 550 deputies, voluntary organizations and reporters on Thursday informing them about the afforestation activities for 1998 and asked for their support for these activities.
Taranoglu said in the letter that they will implement afforestation and erosion control activities on 76.5 hectares of land this year.
ANKARA - President Suleyman Demirel approved on Thursday the Council of Ministers' decision foreseeing cooperation between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in the field of social services.
The Presidential Press Center said in a written statement that President Suleyman Demirel approved the Council of Ministers' decision regarding the approval of the ''Protocol for Cooperation Between Turkey and TRNC in Social Services and Social Assistance'' signed in Lefkosa on January 17, 1998.
Mustafa Kemal Yaycili, General Director of the Iraqi National Turkmen Party claimed that there were plans to split up Iraq, adding that the Turkmens did not want Iraq to be split up, ''Iraq's territorial integrity should be preserved in any case. Saddam's dictatorship should end and a democratic system should be established in Iraq.'' Yaycili said that if there are plans for a federal state, then Turkmens should be given a place at that time.
Yaycili stressed that the Turkmens did not have an intention to establish a separate state.
The statement said that for the solution of the Iraqi crisis, the Baghdad regime should abide by the UN resolutions, the dictatorship regime should be ended and the rights of the ethnical communities constitutionally assured. It reiterated the request that Kirkuk should be given special protection.
The French President Chirac welcomed Demirel with an official ceremony.
Demirel is scheduled to meet several French ministers and officials and participate in a conference. He will also go to a dinner that will be hosted in his honor.
State Ministers Rifat Serdaroglu and Isin Celebi, Culture Minister Istemihan Talay, businessmen and several reporters are accompanying Demirel during the visit.
Demirel later met with the French President Chirac at the Elysee Palace.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry officials responding to the questions of the A.A on the issue said that governmental confirmation for Bar'nar will be made this week, adding that the new Ambassador may start his assignment immediately after an agreement is made.
Israel earlier called for agreement for Prof. Ehud Toledano, but received a negative response from Turkey. News reports appeared in the media saying that Toledano supported the so-called Armenian massacre claims.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also became Foreign Minister after the resignation of David Levy, the Israeli Foreign Minister from his post.
Uri Bar'nar, who is waiting for the Israeli Government's confirmation still works as a professional official at the Foreign Ministry. Bar'nar was selected from among more than 10 candidates.
In regions where the State of Emergency was implemented, immigration incidents which started in 1990 increased in 1992 and 1993. Many people left their homes at that time and settled in many provinces and counties in the region which they thought were secure. As a result of this immigration a total of 806 villages and 2,331 settlements were evacuated.
Due to the success of the operations launched against the separatist terrorist organizations in the region, an atmosphere of tranquility has been established and people have started to return.
A total of 23,000 people in 82 villages and 64 settlements returned to their homes within the framework of the ''Return to Villages Project.''
Emergency Regional Rule Governor Aydin Arslan told the A.A correspondent that activities were underway within the framework of the ''Return to Villages Project'' yet added that the return of villagers had stopped for now because of the severe winter conditions.
Arslan said that people from 200 villages and settlements will return to their homes in the Spring.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Vice President Taha Yasin Ramazan said Iraq was ready to fully cooperate with the UN Secretary General Annan who is expected to arrive in Baghdad on Friday.
A total of 320 companies have stands at the fair.
The Speciality Fair will remain open until February 22 and between the hours of 11:00-20:00.
ANKARA - Gen. Ismail Hakki Karadayi, the Chief of General Staff, received on Thursday Gen. Rasim Delic, the Chief Commander of the Army of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Gen. Karadayi said in the meeting that they are in the last period of the military training given by the Turkish Armed Forces to Bosnia-Herzegovina's Army, adding that the 1998-programme activities are continuing.
Gen. Delic said that the Turkish army supported them before and after the war.
Later, Gen. Delic met with Ismet Sezgin, the Deputy Prime Minister and National Defense Minister.
GOLCUK - Admiral Momammad Heroon, the Chairman of the Pakistani Naval Forces' Planning and Project Department, said on Thursday that they will realize new projects and will be in unity with the Turkish Naval Forces.
Admiral Mohammad Heroon, who came to Turkey as the official guest of Admiral Salim Dervisoglu, the Chief Commander of the Naval Forces, and the accompanying military delegation visited the Fleet Commandership in Golcuk.
Admiral Heroon said that they established a working group with the Turkish Naval Forces.
The guest delegation then made observations at the Preveze War Games Center.
ISTANBUL - Necdet Menzir, the Minister of Transportation, laid the foundation of the third runway for the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul on Thursday.
Addressing the foundation ceremony, Menzir said that they will start the construction of the ''Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) Airport'' within the scope of GAP and the ''Nevsehir Airport'' in a short time.
IZMIR - The two young cyclists touring the Mediterranean countries since September 1997 arrived in Izmir on Thursday.
American Corinne Whitney and Austrian Andrea Siegl firstly came to Marmaris from Rhodes by ferry-boat and then went by bicycle to Izmir.
The two cyclists will proceed to Istanbul on Friday.
KONYA - Gen. Jehangir Karamata, the Chief Commander of the Pakistani Land Forces, arrived in central Konya Province on Thursday. Gen. Karamata is holding contacts as the official guest of Gen. Huseyih Kivrikoglu, the Chief Commander of Land Forces.
Gen. Karamata was welcomed with a military ceremony at the Third Main Jet Base in Konya. Karamata then visited the Mevlana Museum, Sultan Selim Mosque and Karatay and Inceminare Museums.
Gen. Karamata will proceed to Antalya the same day.
ISPARTA - The Turkish textile factory Kimo Tekstil produces textile products for the European luxurious shopping centers, it was reported on Thursday. The factory was opened last year by President Suleyman Demirel and Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz.
The Kimo Tekstil, which sell its goods to Harvey Nichols and Harrods through the Kimo UK company based in London, realized five million US dollars in exports last year.
ULAN BATOR/ANKARA - The protocol regarding the Second Term Turkish- Mongolian Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meetings was signed in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator on Thursday.
Burhan Kara, the Minister of State, and Shukeriin Altangerel, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Mongolia, signed the protocol.
The State Ministry said that the issues of ''commercial and economic cooperation between the two countries'' and ''new fields of cooperation in transportation and industry'' were discussed during the JEC meetings which continued for two days in Mongolia.
The depth of snow in the Eastern Van provincal center reached 20 cm, 40 cm in Bitlis and 30 cm in Hakkari due to a snowfall which started in Eastern Anatolia on Wednesday evening.
Transportation on the main Van-Bitlis and Van-Hakkari highways is very diffucult because of snowstorm.
Meanwhile, meteorology officials said the snowfall will continue for sometime and that extremely cold weather is expected in Eastern Van Province and its surroundings.
It was also reported that the roads to 153 villages were closed to traffic in the Central Black Sea region due to a heavy snowfall.
Addressing the meeting of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission Karayalcin briefed about his meeting with Al-Samari.
Karayalcin said Al-Samari told him that there had been no mass destruction weapons in Iraq for 1.5 years, adding that he advised Al-Samari to let the UN Inspection team to prove this.
Karayalcin also said he expressed the uneasiness Turkey felt about the statements of several Iraqi administrators aimed at Turkey.
The Charge D'Affaires Al-Samarai invited Karayalcin to Iraq to meet with anyone he wants.
The diplomacy traffic aimed at Cyprus is expected to be intensified on the ''full membership negotiations of the Greek Cyprus side to the European Union (EU) and participation of the Turkish Cypriots in the EU full membership negotiations.''
Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) reacted to the participation of a TRNC delegation in the full membership negotiations within the Greek Cypriot delegation according to a decision made at the EU Luxembourg Summit.
Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yannos Kranidiotis will come to the Greek Cypriot side on Feb 24 and discuss the issue of the participation of the Turkish Cypriots in the EU full membership talks.
The Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides is expected to disclose their proposals regarding the participation of the Turkish Cypriots in the talks.
Hans van den Broek, the EU Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, Sir David Hannay, Britain's Cyprus Special Envoy and Thomas Miller, the US State Department Cyprus Special Coordinator will come to Cyprus in March.
Hans van den Broek will make an effort to persuade the TRNC President Rauf Denktas to assure the participation of the Turkish Cypriots in the EU full membership negotiations of the Greek Cypriot side which will start on March 31.
Gustave Feissel, Assistant Representative of the UN Secretary General to Cyprus left for New York on Thursday to hold contacts about the Cyprus question.
Feissel is expected to meet with the UN Secretary General's Special Advisor Diego Cordovez and hold contacts about the planned membership meetings that will take place between the Greek Cypriot side and the EU by the end of March.
Meanwhile, Sir David Hannay, the British Prime Minister Tony Blair's special representative arrived in Ankara.
Responding to the questions of reporters at Ankara's Esenboga Airport, Hannay said he had come to Turkey to hold a private meeting with Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz and that he could not respond to questions because of this.
Hannay came to Turkey to sound out Turkey's intentions for assuring her participation at the European Conference that will take place between March 12 and 13.
The interest rate of the debt, which was realized through JP Morgan and Salomon Smith Barney, is 9,875 percent. That amount will be added to the calculations this weekend.
Pointing out that the export was accomplished with good timing, officials said that ''there would be an intense atmosphere of competition if the Southern Asian countries realized the export of bonds. But we succesfully achieved it by not giving any opportunity for an atmosphere of competition although there is the Iraqi crisis and the Southern Asian crisis.''
Turkey is expected to realize three-four billion US dollars in debts this year. Turkey's existing foreign debt stock including the private and public sectors and municipalities is 82 billion US dollars.
Albright called FM Cem in the afternoon in Beijing and evaluated the recent situation in Iraq.
Speaking about the telephone conversation, Cem said ''I had the impression that in case the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan returns with a negative response, then the US would start the operation. There is a consensus of opinion about the proposal which Annan brought. Yet, if this proposal is rejected in one way or another, then the US would not accept this.''
Cem said he thought that the proposal which Annan brought includes the fulfilling of the duties of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM), responsible for inspection of Iraq's mass destruction weapons without any method or time limitations and that two members from the Security Council would be with them while they are inspecting the palaces. ''I think that the proposal will be sent in this manner so that the core of the issue would not be diluted. If Iraq rejects acceptance of the proposal as it is, then the US would not accept its response.''
When asked whether or not Albright has a demand from Turkey, Cem said ''no demand came from her, she just said she wanted to evaluate the situation.''
Responding to a question about what he said Cem said, ''Turkey suffered a lot due to the Gulf War. We are very carefully following the incidents. We had earlier advised the Iraqi government to abide by the UN proposals.'' Cem said Turkey earlier called for the sanctions to be reasonably eased to assure again the participation of Iraq in the international community.
A journalist said the US thanked Turkey after Cem's contacts in Iraq and recalled that Iraq also found this positive and when Cem was asked to evaluate it, he said ''we are doing our best to avoid war. We are an ally of the US. Turkey has expended great efforts to be compromising within the framework of the UN Security Council resolutions. We also preserve our commitment to the UN.''
When asked if he would realize his visit to Jordan under these conditions, Cem said ''I will go if it is possible. This depends on the conditions at the time. This will be a very important visit for the peaceful solution of the situation in Iraq. If Kofi Annan's initiative will be successful, then my visit to Jordan will be beneficial for everyone in the region. It would be unfortunate if I can not go. This visit is very important within the framework of the Middle East policy which Turkey has implemented for seven months.''
Ecevit received Anatoliy Franchuk, the Prime Minister of Crimea and the accompanying delegation.
When asked his opinion about the US President Bill Clinton's statement that ''Turkey will be the one of the countries that will support the US in the Gulf crisis'', Ecevit said during the meeting that ''the US has still not asked for our support for a possible military strike.''
Responding to the question ''is this a comment of the US Administration or not?'', Ecevit said, ''it may be. Turkey and the US are allied countries. We want the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to open the doors for inspection. I think Bill Clinton said that Turkey will support the US as we want Saddam to abide by the UN decisions''.
Responding to another question, Ecevit said that the Second Chief of General Staff Cevik Bir and he held several meetings and covered the all the possibilities related to the crisis.