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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 99-12-02

Anadolu Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Anadolu Agency Home Page at <>

[01] AA News

02 December 1999 Thursday


[03] These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on December 2, 1999. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their occuracy.

[04] HURRIYET (LIBERAL) - ---------------- CRITICAL NIGHT Rauf Denktas, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), explained the crisis which occured about his visit to New York. Denktas said, ''when United Nations (U.N.) Secretary General Kofi Annan did not address me with the title he addressed Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides, I told him that I would not participate in the proximity talks. Then, the crisis escalated. I called the U.S. envoy in Cyprus by phone. I asked him whether or not we had agreed upon these conditions. He told me that it was a mistake and not to mind. I told him that we could not accept this and that we would not go to proximity talks.'' Then, the U.S. diplomat threatened Denktas as saying that airplane carrying President Clinton would not land on Turkey where the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit would be held; Denktas noted. Denktas added that in the end, the U.S. side accepted their demand.

[05] TWO FORMULAS FOR SUSPENSION Two formulas were discussed when Turkey tends to conform to the precautionary measures taken by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding Ocalan case. First formula is to keep the dossier waiting at the Prime Ministry. The government will undertake the political responsibility in the first formula. The second formula is to decide to comfort to the ECHR's decision. In this formula, the parliament will undertake the responsibility.

[06] MILLIYET (LIBERAL) - ----------------- FAREWELL TO YOU DUZCE This is the travelling to an unknown future from a sorrowful past. It is hard to stay and it is hard to go. It is harder to decide. The winter accelerated the escape from the quake zone. The hired buses are carrying immigrants to the south. Nearly 1,500 people were sent to the public facilities in Mugla, Aydin and Mersin. A total of 50 buses have carried the quake survivors to the south. 2,000 people are waiting to go to the public facilities.

[07] ELECTRICITY CRISIS TO END TODAY Cumhur Ersumer, the Energy and Natural Resources Minister, announced that Turkey will buy two folds more enegry from Bulgaria. Ersumer noted that the electricity cut which occured due to the decrease in the Russian natural gas inflowing to Turkey, will be ended gradually. The Energy and Natural Resources Ministry said that the programmed electricity cut was ended as of 17.30 on Wednesday.

[08] SABAH (LIBERAL) - --------------- SURPRISE FROM MHP Ismail Kose, the acting group leader of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said that the precautionary measure which foresees the suspention of Ocalan's execution should be carefully evaluated. Turkey should not panic and should take into consideration her interests, Kose noted. Kose added that Turkey should give a good lesson by puting forward that there is not any difference among the people in Turkey.

[09] CUMHURIYET (LEFT) - ---------------- XANTHI MUFTI AGA SENTENCED TO SIX- MONTH IMPRISONMENT Mehmet Emin Aga, the elected Mufti of Xanthi, was sentenced to six-month imprisonment. Aga applied to the appeal court after he was sentenced to imprisonment on charges of illegally using official title. The judicial organs had filed a lawsuit against Aga on charges of using the title 'Xanthi Mufti' in the message he issued in 1998 on the anniversary of ''the Night of Power'' when the Koran was revealed.

[10] AFTERSHOCKS CONTINUE TO SHAKE DISASTER AREA Aftershocks continue to shake disaster area in the wake of 7.2-magnitude earthquake which devastated Duzce county of Bolu province on November 12. Officials at the Bogazici University Kandilli Observatory Seismology Institute recorded three aftershocks with magnitutes ranging from 2.9 to 3.2 in Akcakoca county of Bolu province, Hendek county of Adapazari province, and Kaynasli county of Bolu province.

[11] RADIKAL (LEFT) - ------------- MINISTER AYDIN'S DEFENSE Koray Aydin, the Public Works and Housing Minister, said that if he had not committed to complete the prefabricated huts on November 30, the huts could be completed on December 30 the earliest. Aydin told the reporters that quake survivors in Duzce had settled in 456 prefabricated huts which were constructed following the August 17 quake.

[12] ECEVIT INVITES QUAKE SURVIVORS TO PUBLIC FACILITIES Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said that there were many empty beds in these facilities, and asked people who stay there to inform their relatives in the quake area about the good conditions they were offered to draw more survivors to these places. Ecevit visited the public facilities which were assigned to quake survivors. Ecevit said, ''Those who are in the quake area do not know about the good conditions in these places. Please let them know so that they would come to the facilities in Antalya, Izmir and other places. There are more beds in these facilities than the quake survivors.''

[13] TURKIYE (RIGHT) - --------------- TURKISH SOLDIERS IN NORTHERN IRAQ The Turkish Armed Forces continue its operations in Northern Iraq to eradicate the last PKK camps, and to prevent terrorists from taking shelter in the region once again. War planes back 20 thousand soldiers in the operation.

[14] DENKTAS LEAVES FOR THE U.S. President Rauf Denktas of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) left for the U.S. to attend proximity talks which will start in New York on December 3.

[15] DEATH TOLL INCREASES TO 792 The Prime Ministry Crisis Management Center stated that 792 people were killed while 4,948 others were injured in 7.2-magnitude quake hit Bolu province on November 12. A total of 1,608 buildings collapsed while 6,540 dwellings and 1,310 business places were seriously damaged.

[16] ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE) - ------------------ NUCLEAR ILLUMINATION The electricity which is produced from water, coal and natural gas is not sufficent to meet Turkey's energy demand. The nuclear energy plants are considered as unavodiable for permanent illumination. The reports about Turkey's energy insufficency which were submitted to the Turkish Electricity Incorp. (TEAS), emphasized that it is impossible to overcome the energy insufficiency without benefiting from the nuclear energy.

[17] SUSPICION THAT ECHR DID MISTAKE RESULTING FROM PROCEDURES It is claimed that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) did a mistake resulting from procedures because it took precautionary measures without the internal law procedures were exhausted. Sermet Atacanli, an official from the Foreign Ministry, said that they will evaluate this issue when the written decision is sent to Turkey.


[19] LJUBLJANA, Dec 2 (A.A) - The Slovenian Foreign Ministry will start asking a visa from five countries including Turkey. Slovenia which is getting ready to become a EU member will ask a visa from Turkish, Russian, Macedonian, Romanian, and Bulgarian citizens. Slovenia's visa requirement will start on December 2 for Russians; January 1, 2000 for Turks; February for Romanians, and March for Bulgarians. Slovenia which started participating in EU membership negotiations last year aims to become a member by 2003.


[21] SKOPJE, Dec 2 (A.A) - Rounding up his visits in Skopje, Macedonia, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem went to Bucharest with his Macedonian counterpart Alexander Dimitrov on Wednesday. Cem and Dimitrov spoke to the press after a meeting. Cem told reporters that everytime he came to Macedonia he saw his own history and culture and drew attention to the very good relations between Turkey and Macedonia. Important progress was observed in the economic field between the two countries, Cem said and reminded that both the Turkish Airlines and Ziraat Bank opened representative offices in Skopje. Foreign Minister Cem also mentioned the Southeast Europe Stability Pact and said ''the pact cannot be thought of without Macedonia or Albania''. He also expressed support for Macedonia's membership to the NATO. Dimitrov said their meeting was very fruitful. The signing of a free trade agreement between the two countries created the favourable ground for great economic developments, Dimitrov noted. During his visit to Skopje, Cem was also received by Macedonian Parliament Speaker Savo Klimaski and Prime Minister Lubjo Georgievski. Later, Cem and Dimitrov went to Bucharest.


[23] SIFAYIM, Dec 2 (A.A) - ''Agricultural Development'' courses started in Israel on Wednesday with the cooperation of Southeast Anatolia Project (GAP), Israel Foreign Ministry International Cooperation Institution (MASHAV), and Israeli Agriculture Ministry's Cooperation Center for the Development of International Agriculture (CINADCO). Abraham Edery, the Director of the center in Sifayim where the course is given, said like in every field, they were also working to develop agricultural cooperation with Turkey and therefore started this training for the technicians of the GAP Management Directorate. Those who attend the course will also be educated on the administrative and management aspects of the agriculture and also have the chance to observe the important agricultural centers in Israel, Edery noted. Six Turkish groups so far attended the courses in this center.


[25] STRASBOURG, Dec 2 (A.A) - European Council Southeast Europe National Education Ministers Meeting starts in Strasbourg on Thursday. Metin Bostancioglu, the Turkish National Education Minister will represent Turkey at the meeting. The European Council's meetings will focus on the role of education in developing mutual trust and tolerance among countries. The attenders will also review the decisions taken earlier about the cooperation in education to strengthen democracy, peace and stability and will discuss the education policies of the Southeast Europe Stability Pact.


[27] ANKARA, Dec 2 (A.A) - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Wednesday, ''I believe that our economy would overcome difficulties within several months.'' Ecevit who visited the quake survivors settled in public facilities, returned to Ankara on Wednesday night. Addressing journalists at the Esenboga Airport, Ecevit recalled that the Moody's, a leading U.S. rating organizations, had changed the outlook on Turkey's B1/B2 country ceilings for foreign currency bonds and bank deposits from ''stable'' to ''positive''. Ecevit added, ''there is a great potential in Turkey. If we can succeed in using this potential, I believe that our economy would overcome difficulties within several months.''


[29] BRUSSELS, Dec 2 (A.A) - Romano Prodi, the Chairman of the European Union (EU) Commission, said on Wednesday that Turkey's candidacy to the EU should be announced at Helsinki Summit. Addressing general assembly meeting of the European Parliament, Prodi said that it was necessary to assume an encouraging attitude towards Turkey. Noting that they aimed at starting full membership negoitations with all other candidates in the year 2000 except for Turkey, Prodi said that they would wait for Turkey to fulfil Copenhagen criteria. Meanwhile, Tarja Halonen, the Foreign Minister of Finland and the EU Term President, said that relations between Turkey and Finland were further strengthened. Halonen noted that they hoped Turkey would be granted candidacy status officially at Helsinki Summit. Halonen also expressed concern over approval of death sentence against Abdullah Ocalan, the head of terrorist organization PKK. Tarja Halonen said that they hoped Turkey would wait for the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) about Ocalan.


[31] ANKARA, Dec 2 (A.A) - Hikmet Sami Turk, the Justice Minister, said on Wednesday that the verdict of the Supreme Court which approved the capital punishment given to the head of the terrorist organization Abdullah Ocalan, will be notified to the suspect and his lawyers in a few days. Turk participated in a programme staged at a private news channel NTV. The 30- day period for Ocalan's lawyers to apply for the correction of the verdict will start after the notification is sent to the suspect and the lawyers, Turk noted. The internal law remedies should be exhausted to apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR); Turk stated. Turk stressed that Ocalan's lawyers can apply to the Ankara State Security Court (DGM) Republican Chief Prosecutor's Office or the Supreme Court for the correction of the verdict. Turk emphasized that if this request is considered as appropriate, then it will be submitted to the concerned court. Otherwise, the request will be rejected; Turk added. Responding a question, Turk said that nine days are left for the Helsinki Summit and the summit does not have any connection with the capital punishment upheld for Ocalan. Turk noted that the dossier will firstly be sent to the Justice Ministry and then his ministry will sent the dossier to the Prime Ministry. Later, the Prime Ministry will submit the dossier to the parliament; Turk stated. Turk added that the the Parliamentary Justice Commission will discuss the dossier and then will submit it to the Parliamentary General Assembly.


[33] BUCHAREST, Dec 2 (A.A) - Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister, arrived in Romanian capital Bucharest on Wednesday night to attend the ''Southeast European Countries Cooperation Process Foreign Ministers Meeting''. Officials of the Romanian Foreign Ministry, and Volkan Bozkir, the Turkish Ambassador to Romania, welcomed Cem at the airport. Later, Cem attended the reception hosted by Romanian President Emil Constantinescu to mark the National Day of Romania. The draft regarding ''Charter on Good Neighbourhood, Stability, Security, and Cooperation in Southeastern Europe'' is expected to be finalized at the Southeast European Countries Cooperation Process Foreign Ministers meeting. The draft was submitted in the Southeastern European Heads of States and Governments Summit held in Antalya under the term presidency of Turkey in 1998. The latest developments in Kosovo will also be discussed at the meeting. The participants will exchange views about the projects which regional countries can implement within the framework of the Southeastern Europe Stability Pact, during the meeting. Cem is also expected to hold a bilateral meeting with his Greek counterpart Yorgo Papandreou.


[35] ANKARA, Dec 2 (A.A) - Aleksandr Lebedev, Russian Ambassador to Turkey, said on Wednesday that by the Blue Stream Project, Russia will be dependent on Turkey. Lebedev spoke in the conference titled ''The Economy and Policy of Bluee Stream'' held by the Turkish American Association (TABA). Turkey will not be dependent on Russia by the Blue Stream Project, Lebedev noted. Lebedev stated that he expects Duma, lower chamber of Russian parliament, to ratify the protocol concerning the Blue Stream Project. Following the ratification of the protocol, the project will start to be fulfilled in 2001; Lebedev stressed. Lebedev emphasized that altough some people claim that it will cost 3.5 billion U.S. dollars, the project will cost about 2.5 billion U.S. dollars. The allegations saying that Russia does not have enough natural gas to transfer to Turkey within the framework of Blue Stream Project, do not reflect the reality, Lebedev pointed out. Lebedev said that his country has enough natural gas to transfer to Turkey. An international consortium was set up to fulfil the Blue Stream Project and to provide the finance, Lebedev stated. They are not against the transfer of Turkmen natural gas to Turkey, Lebedev emphasized. Lebedev added that the Blue Stream and Turkmen natural gas projects should be considered as complementary projects rather than rival projects.


[37] NEW YORK, Dec 2 (A.A) - Rauf Denktas, the President of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), arrived in New York on Thursday. Denktas will stage a press conference at 9.30 p.m. local time. On Friday, Denktas will meet with Kofi Annan, the United Nations (U.N.) Secretary General. Alvaro de Soto, Annan's Special Envoy to Cyprus, is expected to inform the members of the Security Council about the proximity talks which will be held in New York. Sources from TRNC said that the issues related with the procedure will be discussed in the proximity talks which will start on Monday. They will not discuss the issues related with the essence, the TRNC sources noted. The most important thing for the TRNC is being recognized as a separate political existence by the Greek Cypriot side and the international community. Sources close to Denktas said that the mistake that Annan made when he was inviting Denktas to New York, would nearly hamper the talks. But, Annan corrected his mistake, and thus, Denktas accepted to participate in the proximity talks; sources noted. Annan had called Glafcos Clerides, the leader of the Greek Cypriot side, as ''the president'' and Denktas as ''Mr.Denktas'' in his first invitation letter. This invitation had been harshly criticized by the TRNC. So, Annan had corrected his mistake the same day by saying that he invited the sides to New York to hold meetings in which they would reach solutions.


[39] PARIS, Dec 2 (A.A) - Pierre Moscovici, the French Minister in charge of European affairs said on Wednesday that Turkey's EU candidacy should be approved at the Helsinki Summit, but added that the negotiations for full memberships were not likely to start very soon. Moscovici who spoke at the French Senate noted that other members of the EU also wanted Turkey's candidacy to be approved, and thus to become the 13th candidate country. However, this does not mean that negotiations for full membership would start immediately. Granting candidacy to Turkey only determines the road that leads to full membership, he stressed. Turkey must improve its qualifications as a state of law and make enough efforts to guarantee human rights, Moscovici said.


[41] PARIS, Dec 2 (A.A) - Kenan Tanrikulu, the Minister of Industry and Trade visited the stands of Turkish firms which participated in Mideast Bi- industry Fair at Parc des Exposition de Paris-Nord Villepinte on Wednesday. Istanbul Trade Chamber Bi-industry Stock Exchange organized the Turkish firms who are participating in the fair which will stay open until December 3. Ten Turkish firms based in Istanbul, Izmir and Bursa are covering an area of 120 square meters in the fair hall. Moulding pieces, printed and injected zinc and aliminium pieces, copper alloys for welding, fixation equipments, rods, hydrolic press machines copper and brass sheets are among the displayed machinary at the Turkish stands.


[43] BUCHAREST, Dec 2 (A.A) - The Southeastern Europe Foreign Ministers meeting started in Bucharest, Romania, on Thursday. Andrei Plesu, the Romanian Foreing Minister, opened the session. The draft regarding ''Charter on Good Neighbourhood, Stability, Security, and Cooperation in Southeastern Europe'' will be shaped up and initialed by the ministers during the meeting. The draft will later be signed in the presidents and the prime ministers summit which will be held in January or February. The participants will exchange views about the latest developments in Kosovo and the joint projects which can be carried out by the regional countries within the framework of Southeastern Europe Stability Pact. Foreign Minister Ismail Cem will stage a press conference this evening. Later, Cem is expected to return to Turkey.


[45] ANKARA, Dec 1 (A.A) - The Cyprus question which will start a new phase by the proximity talks that will be launched in New York on Friday, went back to nearly 40 years ago. After Britain announced that she would withdraw from the island on November 11, 1959; the Greek Cypriots which outnumbered the Turks, demanded that the island should be left to themselves. However, Turkish side opposed to this demand due to reasons stated below: The island had been ruled by the Turks before the British rule. Besides, the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots were living as equal societies without the minority-majority relations in the island before the British rule. The third but most important reason of Turkish Cypriots' opposition to the Greek Cypriot proposal, is the efforts of the Greek Cypriots to unite the island with Greece which they call 'enosis.' To this end, the Turkish Cypriots who thought that they would lose their identity if the Greek Cypriots reached their goal of enosis, wanted the island to be divided. After Britain announced that she would give Cyprus independence, Turkey and Greece came together in Zurich and London under the pionership of Britain to reach an agreement. The texts which were called Zurich and London agreements, were based on the principles of ''the equal constituent status of the two nations, autonomy in social platform, and the guarantorship of Turkey, Greece, and Britain.'' Within this framework, a constitution which foresaw a functional federation, a ''Treaty of Guarantee'' which took the new position in the island under guarantee, a ''Treaty of Establishment'' which gave Britain two sovereign bases, and a ''Treaty of Alliance'' which ensured Turkey and Greece to deploy military units in Cyprus were came on the scene. The ''Treaty of Guarantee'' and ''Treaty of Alliance'' were submitted to the ratification of the leaders of the two sides. Thus, the ''Cyprus Republic'' which was based on London and Zurich agreements, was officially established on August 16, 1960. Under these agreements, the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots were partners and the administration of the island was divided between the two sides. In accordance with the system foreseen by the agreements, the president would be elected among the Greek Cypriots and the vice-president would be elected among the Turkish Cypriots. The agreements also foresaw the division of the ministers and security forces between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots. But, Archbishop Makarios, the first president of the Cyprus Republic, claimed that the 1960 Constitution did not function and wanted to make some amendments. Although Makarios did not clearly say, his aim was to include the statement that ''Turkish Cypriots were the minority'' in the Constitution and to annihilate the Turkish Cypriots from the administration of the island. Following these developments, the Greek Cypriots deteriorated the conciliation in the island which was set up by the 1960 agreements and annihilated the Turkish Cypriots from the administration. When the Turkish Cypriots did not accept the amendment proposals of Glafcos Clerides, the leader of the Greek Cypriot side, the tension between the two nations turned into bloody clashes.


[47] ANKARA, Dec 2 (A.A) - Clashes led to chain of incidents in 1963 which was also called as the ''Bloody Noel''. Turkey launched initiatives in Britain and Greece on December 23, 1963, and urged them to use all opportunities of Guarantee Agreement with the aim of preventing the Greek Cypriots from staging attacks against Turkish Cypriots. Three guarantor countries issued a joint statement on December 24 calling on two sides to declare a cease-fire. But Greek Cypriot gangs did not stop their attacks. These attacks which claimed lives of a number of Turkish Cypriot civilians, were condemned by the world public opinion. Dispute between the sides was discussed by the United Nations Security Council on February 26, 1964. The United Nations Peace Keeping Force was sent to the island in 1964, but could not provide security on Cyprus. Turkey's decision to sent soldiers to the island in June, was prevented as a result of diplomatic initiatives of the U.S. The U.N.Security Council accepted the Greek Cypriot side as its interlocutor, encouraging the Greek Cypriot side to continue their attacks until 1974. After the military coup in Greece on July 15, 1974, Turkey launched a peace operation on the island on July 20 in conformity with her rights and commitments stemming from the Guarantee Agreement. A number of western countries including the U.S. reacted harsly against the peace operation. But no clashes have not erupted between two communities since the peace operation in 1974, other than the clash which erupted in 1996 when Greek Cypriots tried to violate the TRNC border. Turkey came to the forefront on the international platform with the peace operation, and found herself in the middle of immense diplomatic efforts when Cyprus question became an international issue. After 1974 Peace Operation, two communities on the island signed population exchange agreement. Two communities formed their own administrations on north and south of the island. This period was also remembered as years when the United Nations had concentrated its initiatives towards forming a federal structure on Cyprus. Within this scope, negotiations were held in Austrian capital Vienna between 1975 and 1976. Indirect talks followed these negotiations again in Vienna between 1977 and 1979. The ''Summit Agreement'' which was reached between Denktas and Macarios, became one of the main elements of the United Nations negotiation process. In accordance with the agreement, Cyprus would be an independent, bizonal and bicommunal republic. Failure in negotiation process resulted in declaration of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on November 15, 1983. The TRNC accepted the United Nations' proposals after the intercommunal negotiations between 1985 and 1986. This gave rise to hopes for a solution on the island.


[49] ANKARA, Dec 2 (A.A) - Butros Gali, then United Nations (U.N.) Secretary General, put forward some proposals known as ''Gali's Set of Ideas'' in 1992. The Set of Ideas which was composed of 100 pages, included proposals aiming at reaching a solution. When Gali's Set of Ideas was being discussed, the package of ''Confidence Building Measures'' was put into the agenda due to the lack of confidence between the two nations. This package had been discussed for many times in all the initiatives aiming at reaching a solution in the island between 1992 and 1994. Glafcos Clerides, the leader of the Greek Cypriot side, said that he rejected Gali's ''Set of Ideas'' in November 1994. Prior to the presidential elections, Clerides reiterated that he would not accept the Set of Ideas for many times and used this as a tool in elections. Clerides who was elected as the president again, rejected the Set of Ideas and refrained from the talks. Later, Clerides started to put forward the precondition which said that the Turkish side should accept the membership application of the Greek Cypriot side to the European Union (EU), to resume the talks. This initiative was against the 1960 agreements. Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) rejected this precondition and the talks were frustrated once more. The Greek Cypriot side exerted efforts to set up a ''Joint Defense Doctrine'' with Greece and to carry the question into the international platform by setting up air and naval bases in the south of the island after 1994. The statement of the Greek Cypriot side which said that it will purchase S-300 missiles from Russia, escalated the tension between the nations once more. The diplomatic sources evaluated this decision as steps taken to carry the question to international platform. Turkey continuously said that she would use her guarantorship rights in the island and would not turn a blind eye to the developments. These statements were confirmed when Rauf Denktas, the President of TRNC, and President Suleyman Demirel issued a joint declaration. Later, U.S. President Bill Clinton appointed Richard Holbrooke, the architecture of the Dayton agreement, as his special envoy to Cyprus. The talks between the two sides resumed in New York on July 9, 1997 within the framework of the good will mission of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who was appointed to this office on January 2, 1997. Denktas and Clerides came together under the auspices of the U.N. after a three-year interval. But, this time, the EU Commission issued a statement that overshadowed the talks. The non-binding resolution in the ''Agenda 2000'' report of the Commission which said that the full membership negotiations between the EU and the Greek Cypriot side should be launched, overshadowed the U.N. good will mission this time. Thus, the talks ended on August 15, 1997 without marking any developments.


[51] ANKANA, Dec 2 (A.A) - As the first round of direct talks continue in New York, Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister, and President Rauf Denktas of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) signed on August 6 the ''Partnership Council Agreement'' after the European Union (EU) Commission's decision. Turkey and the TRNC issued a statement after the signing of the agreement, and said that the EU would be responsible for negative developments which stemmed from starting of the full membership negotiations between the EU and the Greek Cypriot side. Richard Holbrooke, the Special Representative of U.S. President Bill Clinton, paid a visit to island, and hold talks with leaders of two sides. Holbrooke who returned to Ankara after his contacts on the island, stated that no progress could be recorded in the negotiations. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, and a crowded accompanying delegation visited the TRNC on November 15 to attend ceremonies to mark the 14th anniversary of foundation of the TRNC. Ecevit warned the EU if it starts unilateral negotiations with the Greek Cypriot side, intercommuninal talks will come to an end, and partial unification between Turkey and the TRNC will be finalized. The Russian made S-300 missiles was the key issue in Cyprus question in 1998. Meanwhile, the EU started full membership negotiations with the Greek Cypriot side on March 30. In return, Turkey and the TRNC decided to further strengthen mutual relations. Holbrooke's initiatives at the end of April to find a solution on Cyprus failed once again. Tension escalated on the island after Greece landed four F-16 war planes at the Baphos Air Base of the Greek Cypriot side in June. Turkey reacted harsly. After Greek war planes left the island, six Turkish F-16 war planes landed at the Gecitkale Air Base in TRNC as a retaliation. The Turkish F-16 war planes spent the night at the Gecitkale Air Base. At the end of August, President Denktas proposed confederation on the island. As the U.S. described Denktas's proposal as ''it worths thinking'', the Greek Cypriot side and Greece rejected the proposal. In the beginning of 1999, the Greek Cypriot side had to abandon the S-300 missiles as a result of Turkey's and Lefkosa's determined attitude, and of increasing pressures. The missiles were deployed in Crete. One of the most important developments of 1999 was the United Nations' two resolutions taken on June 29, 1999. One of the resolutions extended mandate of the United Nations Peace Keeping Force on the island. The other resolution charged Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, to call on leaders of two communities to unconditional negotiations. Denktas and Clerides will meet with Annan during proximity talks which will start in New York, the U.S. on December 3.


[53] BRUSSELS, Dec 2 (A.A) - The European Parliament named Turkey as ''candidate country'' on Thursday, and shed green light to official announcement of Turkey's full membership at Helsinki Summit. At the general assembly meetings, the European Parliament confirmed that Turkey had the right to become a full member to the European Union (EU). It also noted that it could take time for Turkey to fulfil Copenhagen criteria, stressing that full membership negotiations could not be started before Turkey fulfils the criteria. Also, the European Parliament rejected a draft motion regarding an amendment which requested Turkey to accept the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and not to execute death sentence against Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the terrorist organization. The European Parliament emphasized that no connection could not be made between Turkey's candidacy and Ocalan affair.


[55] BUCHAREST, Dec 2 (A.A) - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Thursday that the platform of common understanding and concerted efforts in the Balkans has been made official as the '''Charter on Good Neighbourhood, Stability, Security, and Cooperation in Southeastern Europe'' was initialled. Cem told A.A correspondent that the meeting carries importance for Turkey. Turkey pioneered the cooperation in Southeastern Europe and exerted utmost efforts for this initiative to gain an identity, Cem noted. Cem continued, ''we submitted the draft joint charter and draft joint document of the cooperation process in the Balkans during our term presidency in 1998. We are working on the draft for more than a year. And, at last we finalized our work. Maybe, this is the first time that many Balkan countries unite within the framework of a joint declaration in history.'' The Kosovo dispute was also discussed in the meeting, Cem stated. Cem stressed that he expressed that especially, the Turkish society in Kosovo faces significant problems. ''We once more told our interlocutors that the developments in Sancak should be closely followed. We discussed the things which should be done to end these problems,'' Cem said. Cem emphasized that the Southeastern Europe cooperation process is in favour of Turkey. Today's meeting is a significant milestone for the improvement of this process, Cem added.


[57] ANKARA, Dec 2 (A.A) - Turkish tourism sector is hopeful about 2000. The officials at the Tourism Ministry said on Thursday that the intensive promotion campaigns launched by the ministry, resulted in positive developments for Turkey. The positive news about Turkey which are published in foreign newspapers and magazines, makes Turkey hopeful about becoming among the most prefered countries for a holiday in 2000. Turkey which took giant steps in 'congress tourism' by hosting some international congresses, is preparing to host the representatives of the French Travelling Agencies Union SNAV in Istanbul in January. The French press organs publish positive news about Turkey and Istanbul since the congress will be held in Istanbul between January 26 and 29, 2000. The Turkish-Greek dialogue which started to improve in recent days, positively affects the tourism relations between the two countries. The Greek newspapers and magazines wrote articles about cooperation in tourism. The newspapers said that this cooperation will have positive effects in other fields. The newspapers recalled that the Turkish- Greek tourism officials met each other in western Bodrum county in October. The officials decided to have cooperation in tourism sector, the newspapers added. All these positive news about Turkey in the foreign press is believed to improve the tourism in the new year.


[59] ANKARA, Dec 2 (A.A) - Hikmet Sami Turk, the Justice Minister, said on Thursday that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) could not decide for a retrial, adding, ''it is not in question to overrule the trial. The ECHR's decision can be about a recompense.'' Turk evaluated the ECHR's precautionary measure regarding the suspension of the capital punishment given for Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the terrorist organization. He stressed that the ECHR was not an appeal authority over the Turkish courts. Turk said, ''the ECHR cannot decide for a retrial, but if it rules that the trial was not fair it can decide to sentence Turkey to pay compensation.'' Emphasizing that the appeal authority was the Supreme Court, not the ECHR, Turk noted, ''although the Supreme Court upheld the verdict of the Ankara State Security Court (DGM) No: 2, the right to request correction of the verdict has not been used yet. The accused and his lawyers can apply for correction of the verdict within a month after they receive the verdict. The internal jurisdiction remedies have not been finalized yet. We have to wait for the accused and his lawyers to use their right to request for correction of the verdict. If the accused decides to use the right then, the Republican Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court will take a decision. If his request will be considered as appropriate the concerned department of the Supreme Court will do whatever necessary. If his request will be considered as inappropriate then the file will be sent to the Justice Ministry, the Prime Ministry Office and to the parliament.''


[61] ROME, Dec 2 (A.A) - Turkey and Malta signed the agreement on cooperation in struggling against international drug trafficking, terrorism, and organized crimes. Officials said on Thursday that Altan Guven, Turkey's Ambassador to Vatican, and Joseph Borg, Maltese Ambassador to Rome, signed the agreement in Turkey's Embassy in Vatican. Under the agreement, the two countries will have cooperation in preventing the production, trafficking, and usage of the drugs. The two countries also decided to exchange information, documents and experts to struggle against terrorism and organized crimes. The agreement will take effect after it is ratified by the concerned authorities of both countries.


[63] VIENNA, Dec 2 (A.A) - State Minister Yuksel Yalova said on Thursday that Turkey has been exposed to the worst tragedy of the 20th century. Yalova started his contacts in Vienna by receiving the administrators of the the Union of Turkish Associations in Austria. Later, Yalova participate in the opening ceremony of the Education Foundation which was set up by the Austrian businessmen for the quake survivors. Yalova said, ''we have been exposed to the worst tragedy of the 20st century. This was not only the tragedy of Turkey but also the tragedy of all humanity. Austria and all the other European countries rushed into Turkey to help.'' Then, Yalova met with the representatives of Voest Alpine Steel Indusrty. In the afternoon, Yalova will meet the governors of some Austrian banks. Yalova will participate in the opening ceremony of Vakifbank International (Wien) AG in the evening. The Education Foundation was set up by ''VA Tech'', one of the giant steel industry institutions of Austria. The foundation has 450,000 U.S. dollar bugdet. The foundation plans granting scholarship to the quake survivors.


[65] LEFKOSA, Dec 2 (A.A) - Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Thursday that they would attend proximity talks with good intention, and the Greek Cypriot side should also expend the same effort to come to a conclusion. Addressing journalists, Prime Minister Eroglu said that the TRNC government expected proximity talks to result in positive progress. Recalling that Mustafa Akinci, the TRNC Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State, and Tahsin Ertugruloglu, the TRNC Foreign Affairs and Defense Minister, would represent the TRNC government at the proximity talks, Eroglu added that leaders of the opposition parties would also be in attendance at the talks. Mustafa Akinci, the TRNC Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State, Serdar Denktas, the leader of the Democrat Party (DP), and Mehmet Ali Talat, the leader of the Republican Turkish Party, will leave for New York on Friday to attend the proximity talks.


[67] ANKARA, Dec 2 (A.A) - The foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank decreased to 22 billion 572 million U.S. dollars. The Central Bank data shows that the foreign exchange reserves, which reduced by 835 million U.S. dollars between 19-23 November, decreased to 22 billion 572 million U.S. dollars as of 23 November. The Central Bank's foreign exchange reserves were 23 billion 407 million U.S. dollars on November 19. Meanwhile, according to the 12 November-based statistics, Turkey's total international gross reserves decreased 251 million U.S. dollars to 37 billion 64 million U.S. dollars between November 5 and 12. The international gross reserves of Turkey were 37 billion 315 million U.S. dollars on November 5. As of 12 November, Turkey's international reserves were composed of 1 billion 11 million U.S. dollars in gold reserves; 23 billion 783 million U.S. dollars in the Central Bank's foreign exchange reserves; and 12 billion 270 million U.S. dollars in the commercial banks' foreign exchange reserves.


[69] ANKARA, Dec 2 (A.A) - Turkey has repaid a total of 11 billion 593.27 million U.S. dollars of foreign debt since the beginning of this year. The Central Bank data shows that the Treasury paid 10 billion 77 million U.S. dollars; the Central Bank repaid 376.21 million U.S. dollars; the Ministry of National Defense and the Defense Industry paid 730.41 million U.S. dollars and the Defense Fund paid 24.61 million U.S. dollars in foreign debt between January 1 and December 1, 1999. Meanwhile, a total of 14.98 million U.S. dollars of foreign debt was repaid on December 1.


[71] BRUSSELS, Dec 2 (A.A) - The first joint declaration which was issued in the NATO Defense Ministers meeting, emphasized on Thursday the importance of solidarity and unity within the framework of the alliance. The defense ministers of 19 countries issued a joint declaration in the end of the Defense Planning Committee (DPC) and Nuclear Planning Group (NPG) meetings. The joint declaration stressed the ''importance of the maintanence of the transatlantic ties.'' The main reason of the success reached in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo was the joint defense planning and the cooperation among the allies, the joint declaration recalled. The declaration stressed the necessity to increase the defense facilities of the alliance. The declaration said that it is necessary to increase the defense budget. The defense ministers exchanged ideas about the continuation of the adoptation of the NATO's defense planning system, including the operations which will be directed by the EU. In the joint declaration, it was underlined that NATO's nucleer ability continues to be a deterrent power. The decleration also noted that the Alliance would continue to preserve its nucleer weapons which are necessary to protect peace and stability in Europe. Later, the NATO defense ministers came together within framework of the Northern Atlantic Council, with the participation of France. After the meeting, a final statement including the issue of European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI), is expected to be issued. Meanwhile, Sabahattin Cakmakoglu, the National Defense Minister who represent Turkey at the meeting, is expected to hold a bilateral meeting with George Robertson, the Secretary General of the NATO, later on Thursday.


[73] STRASBOURG, Dec 2 (A.A) - Metin Bostancioglu, the Minister of National Education said on Thursday it was very important that peace and stability should prevail in the Balkans which have historical and cultural ties with Turkey. The Council of Europe (COE) Southeastern European Education Ministers' meeting started in Strasbourg the same day. Bostancioglu who spoke at the opening of the meeting said Turkey supported the Stability Pact because of its close ties with the Balkans and added that he believed the Pact would have a great contribution to bring a permanent solution to the instability in the region. Turkey actively participates in the Stability Pact and it is an unseparable part of Europe and the Balkans, he stressed. Speaking about the latest reforms in Turkish education system including the eight years of compulsory elementary education, Bostancioglu reminded that the recent reform targeted an investment of 10 billion U.S. dollars in three years. The European Council's meetings which will last for two days, are focusing on the role of education in strengthening tolerance and trust among different states. The participants of the meeting will also review the earlier decisions regarding cooperation in education to develop stability, democracy and peace.


[75] BUCHAREST, Dec 2 (A.A) - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Thursday, ''education in their own language and the right to be represented in administration are vital important for Kosovar Turks. The status of the Kosovar Turks has to be protected in accordance with the 1974 Kosovo Law.'' The Southeastern European Countries' Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Romaninan capital of Bucharest ended the same day. A joint communique was released and the ''Convention on Good Neighbourhood, Stability, Security and Cooperation in Europe'' was initialed at the end of the meeting. Addressing the meeting, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said the decision of the U.N. Security Council opened a new era for Kosovo but the success achieved couldn't reach the sufficient level. Cem stressed that the international force in Kosovo should take every possible measure for the return of the refugees. ''The rights of all national communities in Kosovo have to be guaranteed. We support democratization of Kosovo,'' Cem stated. Noting that the necessary measures had to be taken for the return of also the Serbian and Romanian refugees, Cem said the ethnic tension in Mitrovicha shuold be decreased and the border controls shuold be more effective. Ismail Cem said the Serbians in Kosovo were trying to form a separate ''safe haven''. ''We have to take the necessary lessons from Bosnia issue and we have to prevent division of Kosovo. The multi-ethnic and multi-lingual structure of Kosovo should be protected,'' he stressed. Cem called the international community and the countries in the region to work harder for finding a political solution for Kosovo crisis. Following the meeting, two joint communiques concerning the Southeastern European Stability Pact and the decisions taken in the meeting were released. Both the two joint communiques emphasized the importance of cooperation among the Southeastern European countries, and stated that the development of the cooperation with concrete steps would make an important contribution to the lasting stability and peace in the region. The joint communiques mentioned that the Southeastern European Countries Multi-National Peace Force, which was earlier set up as a result of Turkey's initiative, was an important step for the cooperation of the countiers in the region in the field of security. The communiques emphasized that the ministers attended the meeting agreed to improve the cooperation in every field. Following the release of joint communiques, the foreign ministers initialed the ''Convention on Good Neighbourhood, Stability, Security and Cooperation in Southeastern Europe'' which was submitted at the summit of Southeastern European countries' heads of states or governments which was held in southern Antalya province last year during Turkey's term presidency. The final document will be submitted at the summit of Southeastern European countries' heads of states or governments summit to take place in Bucharest in January or February 2000. Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, Macedonian Foreign Minister Aleksandar Dimitrov, Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadejda Mihailova, Romanian Foreign Minister Andrei Plesu and Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis attended the meeting. The representatives of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina participated in the meeting as observers.


[77] ANKARA, Dec 2 (A.A) - The Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that the six-month imprisonment sentence handed down on Elected Mufti of Xanthi Mehmet Emin Aga by the Lamia court was a new violation of the rights of the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement about the issue the same day. ''We have been informed that Elected Mufti of Xanthi Mehmet Emin Aga was once again sentenced to six-month imprisonment in a hearing on December 1, 1999 at a court in Lamia city, which is 550 kilometers from Xanthi, with charges of usurping the authority with a message he had released in 1998. The hearing in question was also attended by a Parliamentary delegation led by Dr. Sema Piskinsut, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Commission for Human Rights. This verdict of the court in Lamia is a new violation of the rights of the Western Thracian Turkish Minority. We are expecting the concerned Greek authorities to adjust their attitudes towards Mehmet Emin Aga according to Greece's international commitments. The lawsuit against Mufti Aga was opened with charges of using the title of Mufti of Xanthi in his message released in 1998 on the ''Night of Power when the holy Koran was revealed''. Although he was elected by the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace in conformity with the international agreements signed by Greece, he is not recognized by Athens. Aga has been sentenced to a total of 102-month imprisonment in the lawsuits which were filed against him with the same charge. Sema Piskinsut, the Chairman of the Turkish Parliament Human Rights Commission; Sebgatullah Seydaoglu, M. Mail Buyukeren, Mehmet Bekaroglu, Mehmet Gozlukaya and Osman Muderrisoglu, the members of the commission, also attended the court session.


[79] NEW YORK, Dec 2 (A.A) - Kofi Annan, the U.N. Secretary General said in his report that the Greek Cypriots still committed some violations on the Island. One day before the proximity talks between Rauf Denktas, the President of the Turkish Republic of Norhtern Cyprus (TRNC) and Glafcos Clerides, the Greek Cypriot leader, Annan submitted the Security Council his report which suggests to extend the stay of U.N. Peacekeeping Force (UNFICYP) on the Island until June 15, 2000. Annan's report states that Clerides and Denktas agreed to attend the the proximity talks in New York on December 3 to prepare favourable grounds for negotiations which would lead to a permanent solution on Cyprus issue. The U.N. Secretary General said he would continue to inform the Council about the developments on this matter. The report says that the Greek Cypriot army committed violations in the area near Duzce region, which is between Lefkosa and Gazi Magusa. The UNFICYP confirmed the existence of a ''headquarter'' which is equipped with powerful transceivers and includes 60 soldiers wearing uniforms. The activities carried out at the headquarters were stopped as a result UNFICYP's initiatives. Annan wrote in his report that they detected five machine-gun spots in the same region, and they were also closed. Annan noted that the Greek Cypriots for the first time displayed ground-to-air TOR-M1 missiles during a military parade on October 1, and underlined that both the Turkish and Greek maneouvres were held at smaller scales this year compared to previous years. Annan also criticized the Turkish side who doesn't allow the Greek Cypriots to use the cemetery in Karpas region, and said the U.N. pressured Turkish authorities on this issue. The Committee for Missing People still could not start its activities yet, Annan said. In order to create confidence between the sides on the island, the U.N. supported joint projects on environment, water, urban modernization, preservation of cultural values, natural resources and education. Alvaro de Soto who was appointed as the Secretary General's Special Representative to Cyprus briefed on Thursday the Security Council members on the situation in Cyprus and the proximity talks that will start in New York on Friday.


[81] BRUSSELS, Dec 2 (A.A) - Turkey spent the highest percentage from its Gross National Product (GNP) among other NATO members in 1999, the NATO declared during Defense Ministers' meeting on Thursday. According to NATO's figures, last year Greece which set aside 4.8 percent for its defense topped the list followed by Turkey who assigned 4.4 percent for defense. According to 1999 estimations, Turkey, whose defense spendings of 200 billion U.S. dollars which constituted 5.7 percent of its GNP surpassed Greece. Greece is estimated to have spent 4,9 percent of its gross national product in 1999. Estimated defense spendings of other NATO allies are as follows: Belgium: 1.5 percent; Denmark: 1.6 percent; France: 2.8 percent; Germany: 1.5 percent; Hungary: 1.6 percent; Italy: 2 percent; Luxembourg: 0.9 percent; the Netherlands: 1,8 percent; Norway, Poland, Portugal and the Czech Republic: 2.2 percent; Spain: 1.4 percent; Britain: 2.6 percent; Canada: 1.2 percent: and the U.S.: 3.2 percent. Iceland which is also a NATO member has no defense spendings. The NATO figures also show that Turkey has the highest number of soldiers with 797,000 among European allies. Number of soldiers held by other NATO members is as follows: The U.S. (1 million 489,000), France (421,000), Italy (391,000), Germany (334, 000), Britain (218,000), Greece (205,000), Poland (187,000), Spain (155, 000), Portugal (72,000), Hungary (61,000), Canada (59,000), the Netherlands (55,000), the Czech Republic (53,000), Belgium (43,000), Norway (33,000), Denmark (25,000), Luxembourg (1,000). The total number of soldiers the NATO holds is 4 million 598,000.


[83] BUCHAREST, Dec 2 (A.A) - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem left Romania after wrapping up his official contacts in Bucharest. Prior to his departure, Ismail Cem staged a press conference together with his counterparts who attended the Southeastern European Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting. Cem said, ''it was a very important development that the ministers initialed the Convention on Good Neighbourhood, Stability, Security and Cooperation in Southeastern Europe.'' When asked how Yugoslavia's non-representation in the meetings was affecting the Stability Pact, Cem said, ''we want Yugoslavia take part in the Pact. However, Yugoslavia's non-existence among us may effect the success of the Stability Pact but it won't change its result.'' Following the press conference, Ismail Cemleft Bucharest for Turkey.


[85] BRUSSELS, Dec 2 (A.A) - Sabahattin Cakmakoglu, the Minister of National Defense clearly expressed Turkey's sensitivities over European Security and Defense Identity, and called on other NATO allies to cooperate. Cakmakoglu addressed the NATO Council's meeting attended by the defense ministers of 19 countries on Thursday. Fierce discussions took place on Wednesday night and on Thursday about the joint declaration which will be issued after the NATO Council's meeting. The European Union (EU) which is in search for a security identity wanted to include statements in the final declaration that would exclude Turkey from the decision making mechanism while planning to make use of NATO's skills and sources. Especially, France's persistent efforts on this point yielded no results and the joint declaration shaped the way Turkey wanted. Cakmakoglu stressed the equality principle and said there should be no discrimination in Europe. ''NATO allies which are non-EU members must be included in all stages of the defense identity including the decision making mechanism,'' he said. Turkey who had important contribution to Europe's defense since 1950's, will not give up her already acquired rights and equal participation in Europe's defense, he noted. Cakmakoglu called on the other allies to avoid making statements that would hurt unity, solidarity and trust in the alliance. Turkey's determined attitude in European Security and Defense Identity, besides non-EU member countries, also received support from EU countries such as Germany and the Netherlands.


[87] BRUSSELS, Dec 2 (A.A) - During a tete-to-tete meeting with NATO Secretary General George Robertson on Thursday, Defense Minister Sabahattin Cakmakoglu stressed Turkey's sensitivities over the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI). Robertson and Cakmakoglu discussed a wide range of issues including defense industry, Turkish-Greek relations, ESDI, Kosovo and NATO command structure. During the meeting, it was said that the ''confidence-building measures'' which were carried out between Turkey and Greece under the supervision of former Secretary General Javier Solana could be continued by Robertson. Cakmakoglu briefed Robertson about the points which Ankara would not make consessions on, and stressed the importance of solidarity and equal rights within the alliance. Robertson responded by saying that they were well aware of Turkey's sensitivity on this point and noted that they would take it into consideration. NATO Defense Ministers' meeting in Brussels will end on Friday.


[89] WASHINGTON D.C., Dec 2 (A.A) - Twenty-seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote a letter to the Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari and asked for the official approval of Turkey's EU candidacy on Thursday. The letter that was initiated by the Republican parliamentarian from New York Amo Houghton states that Turkish citizens always wanted to be a part of Europe, and Turkey applied to the European Economic Community in 1959 for the first time for membership. Turkey which has had an associate membership for long years applied for full membership in 1987, it was reminded. The letter also noted that no progress was recorded in Turkey's membership while the EU expedited the membership procedures of Central European countries which had been under the communist rule until very recently. Turkey was excluded from the enlargement process of the EU, the letter said. Turkey is going through a critical period. Approval of its EU candidacy would pave the way to economic, political and social reforms. On the other hand, if it is rejected for the second time, Turkey will have to consider other alternatives which might bear unpleasant results also for the U.S., the letter explained. Turkey's entrance to the Customs Union in 1995 was beneficial for the Customs Union more than it was for Turkey. Turkey's imports from the EU increased by 34 percent but its export rate did not go beyond 4 percent in 1996, it was said. Finally, the letter reminded that Turkey was a founder member of the U.N., member of the NATO, European Council and OECD and an associate member of the Western Europe Union. Besides Amo Houghton, Dan Burton (R) from Indiana, Ed Whitfield (R) from Kentucky, Bill Archer (R) from Texas, Tom Lantos (D) from California, Alcee Hastings (D) from Florida and Jim McDermott (D) from Washington also signed the letter.


[91] LEFKOSA, Dec 2 (A.A) - Greek Cypriots staged a provocative action on Thursday on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) border on the eve of the proximity talks that will start in New York on December 3. Greek Cypriot soldiers opened fire on the TRNC border in Duzce region which is between Lefkosa and Gazimagusa. The sentry-box of the Turkish soldiers was shot due to the fire opened by Greek Cypriot soldiers. None of the Turkish sentries was injured. The TRNC authorities which called the U.N. Peacekeeping force to the sentry-box protested the incident and harshly condemned the attack. The TRNC Foreign and Defense Ministry issued a written statement saying that a Turkish sentry-box became a direct target of a fire opened by Greek Cypriot soldiers on the eve of the proximity talks in New York, and this aimed at a specific scenario. It said the attack was a natural part of the Greek Cypriot administration's usual policy for escalating the tension. The statement said it had been observed for some time that the provocative actions of the Greek Cypriot army increased on borders, and these provocations targeted at escalating the tension. Stressing that the provocative activities on borders were a part of the Greek Cypriot administration's policy for escalating the tension, the statement said such provocations were prevented to be resulted in more regrettable incidents due to the discipline of the TRNC security forces. The statement said such provocations revealed the Greek Cypriot side's reason to refuse the U.N. Peacekeeping Force's package to decrease the tension on border despite the calls of the U.N. Security Council. ''The TRNC accepted the package in question three years ago, and declared that the additional measures on border can be discussed after the acceptance by the Greek Cypriot administration,'' it said.


[93] ANKARA, Dec 2 (A.A) - Following the earthquake which hit Duzce county of Bolu province, the Prime Ministry Crisis Management Center revised on Thursday the death toll as 789 and the number of injured as 4,948 people. All provinces and villages in the disaster area currently have power, and communication services work without any problem. The installment of 622 prefabricated huts and one school has been completed in Bolu. 352 of these huts were given to quake survivors and the distribution of 46,253 tents is continuing. The aid organization Kizilay (Red Crescent), the Turkish Armed Forces and other institutions sent 197 mobile kitchens, 155 mobile showers, 1 laundry place, 3 mobile bakeries, many beds, sleeping bags, blankets, duvets and heaters. The food sent to the region exceeded 2 million tons. The survivors are given food three times a day. Currently, 474 doctors, 343 nurses and 98 assisting health personnel are giving health service in 8 mobile hospitals, 25 mobile polyclinics. There is no shortage of medical supplies in the area. There are six generals and 6,535 military personnel working in Duzce area. The soldiers set up a tent-city in Kaynasli and another one is being erected in Duzce which will have 1,350 tents. Rescue teams of 632 people who come from 30 countries and the United Nations returned to their countries after completing their activities in the area. Sending of cash donations and various supplies continue from various countries.


[95] NEW YORK, Dec 2 (A.A) - U.S. President Bill Clinton sent a letter to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on Thursday which will be given to Annan by Clinton's Special Representative to Cyprus Alfred Moses. The content of the letter is not known yet. In the meantime, the U.N. announced how the proximity talks which will start in New York on Friday would be run. Rauf Denktas, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Annnan will come together at 11:45 a.m. Glafcos Clerides, the Greek Cypriot leader will have a meeting with Annan at 10:00 a.m. Alvaro de Soto, Annan's Special Representative to Cyprus briefed the reporters on the basics of the proximity talks. The principles to be followed at the proximity talks acoording to De Sato's statements are as follows: - Denktas and Clerides will not come together in New York. The sides will convey their opinions to the U.N. - The talks are expected to last for a few weeks. Although not certain, Annan, Denktas and Clerides are not expected to leave New York before December 15. - Until the sides reach a full agreement on all subjects, no issue will be regarded as finalized. Thus Denktas and Clerides were ''banned'' from speaking to the press. Alvaro de Soto said both leaders agreed on this point and added that confidentiality was essential during the talks. Untimely statements might jeopardize the agreement, he said. The U.N. will organize a briefing for the press towards mid-December. De Soto described the goal of the talks as to prepare grounds for wider discussions which would lead to a lasting solution and stressed that Annan regarded these talks as ''the beginning of a serious process.'' Opposite to the allegations of some circles, the talks will not focus only on the method and would also cover issues related to the basics of the problem. In this regard, security, distribution of authority, property and land issues are expected to be taken up in New York.

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