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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 99-12-21

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

From: The Anadolu Agency Home Page at <>

[01] AA News

21 December 1999 Tuesday


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - Treasury Undersecretary Selcuk Demiralp said on Monday that the World Bank did not yet decide on the amount of the financial sector loan that it will give Turkey, but it would be above 750 million U.S. dollars.

Demiralp answered the questions of reporters at the signing ceremony held for the earthquake loan of 200 million U.S. dollars that Japan agreed to give Turkey.

Responding to a question about the World Bank loan, Demiralp said ''We are planning to increase its amount. We haven't agreed on an amount yet, but it will be way above 750 million U.S. dollars.''


LEFKOSA, Dec 21 (A.A) - The martyrs of the ''Bloody Christmas'' will be commemorated in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) between December 21 and 25, 1999.

Those who died in the armed attack which was launched by the Greeks and Greek Cypriots on December 21, 1963 against the Turkish Cypriots to unite Cyprus with Greece and the struggle of the Turkish Cypriots against these attacks, will be commemorated by the activities which will be held during December 21-25 Struggle and Martyrs' Week.

Dervis Eroglu, the Prime Minister of TRNC, issued a statement saying that they cannot reach any point by agressiveness and fanaticism.

The two nations in the island can live together in peace in case their sovereignty of the two nations is recognized; Eroglu noted.

Eroglu drew the attention to the shame of humanity in Cyprus which continues for 36 years.

The point they reached today is the result of the determination of the Turkish Cypriots who want to live in their own lands and who want to live freely; Eroglu stated.

Eroglu stressed that the reality of the Cyprus question goes back to the genocide which was committed on December 21, 1963.

All the developments following 1963 are the results of the Greek-Greek Cypriot agressiveness and the results of the resistance shown against this agressiveness; Eroglu added.


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - The Japanese Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) on Monday signed a credit agreement of 200 million U.S. dollars which it will give Turkey to reconstruct the earthquake struck Marmara region.

Selcuk Demiralp, the Treasury Undersecretary and Shigeo Takenaka, the Japanese Ambassador in Ankara signed the agreement on behalf of their countries.

Demiralp said the 200 million U.S. dollar credit would be used in the reconstruction and rehabilitation works in the Marmara region.

In addition to this credit, negotiations continue with the JBIC to get another 200 million U.S. dollar credit to meet the damage occured in the industry after the earthquake and to be used in small and medium scale enterprises, Demiralp explained.

In 1999, except for the earthquake related credits, JBIC gave Turkey a total of 665 million U.S. dollars credit to finance various projects.


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - Husnu Yusuf Gokalp, the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister, said on Monday that they would study the practicability of the Dutch agricultural research and training models in Turkey.

Gokalp received G. Sjored Gosses, the Dutch Ambassador to Turkey.

The Netherlands was a very developed country in industry, especially in processed food industry; Gokalp noted.

Gokalp stated that they would discuss the issue of Turkish exports in the Netherlands, the increase of milk productivity and animal breeding during the meeting.

The cooperation in agricultural and animal breeding with the European Union (EU) countries gained importance after Turkey's EU candidacy had been announced; Gokalp stressed.

Gokalp asked the Netherlands to set up a working group.

Later, Gokalp received Mohamed Hatem Ben Salem, the Tunisian Ambassador to Turkey.

The necessary infrastructure existed to improve the agricultural cooperation between two countries, Gokalp said.

Gokalp noted that the third-term executive board meeting would be held in Tunisia next year to improve the cooperation within the framework of the protocol on agricultural cooperation that was signed in 1992.

It was necessary not only to improve the technical cooperation but also to improve the trade cooperation, Gokalp stated.

Gokalp stressed that the trading volume between the two countries which was 413.1 million U.S. dollars, was insufficient.

The reciprocal visits of the public and private sector officials and the encouragement of the joint investments carried importance to increase the trade in a balanced way, Gokalp added.


ISTANBUL, Dec 21 (A.A) - The British firm ITE Group which is the world's second biggest fair organization company has become 50 percent partners with Istanbul Fair Organization company which organizes CNR Company Group's specialty fairs.

CNR Company Group has bought the 10 percent of shares of ITE Group and has become the second biggest partner.

Ceyda Eren, the Chairperson of CNR Company Group, who spoke at the signature ceremony said fair organization, although started late in Turkey, CNR has started competing in the world. This new partnership will increase foreign participation and bring more visitors to fairs which will be held in Istanbul, she explained.

''Turkey is a very wide market. It is a door which opens to the Middle East, Turkish Republics and Asian markets. This new partnership will bring the world closer to Turkish producers and consumers. More foreign investors and visitors will come to Turkey and as a result the technology transfer and the quality of domestic products will increase,'' she said.

Lawrie Lewis, the Chairman of ITE Group Executive Board pointed out that CNR had a significant portfolio. The new partnership will have important contributions to Turkish economy, he also stressed.


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - Prof. Paul Rivlin from Tel Aviv University said on Monday that he was hopeful about the further development of economic relations between Turkey and Israel.

Rivlin spoke about Turkey-Israeli economic relations at a conference held at the Turkish American Association in Ankara. The economic relations between the two countries started developing in the beginning of 1990's through the efforts of the U.S., he noted.

Turkey and Israel are two of the few countries which are ruled by democracy in their region which separates them from other countries. The growing military relations have a positive effect on the economic relations. Turkey is the only country which Israel made a free trade agreement with except for the US. Israel, due to the low cost, prefers importing from Turkey instead of the European countries, Rivlin explained.

Israel and Turkey will benefit from peace in the Middle East more than other countries, he also noted.

Responding to a question, Rivlin said Israel could not find what it expected to make investments in Turkey and Israeli investments remained limited to Southeast Turkey and to small scale enterprises.


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - During a meeting with German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping on Monday night, Gen. Huseyin Kivrikoglu, the Chief of General Staff told Scharping that Turkey was uncomfortable about being excluded from the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI).

Scharping responded by saying that Turkey was not excluded. On the contrary, the acquirements of Western European Union (WEU) is valid, Scharping said. Kivrikoglu stressed that WEU acquirements were made invalid at the Helsinki summit.

Kivrikoglu also said he could not understand the link between the tank project and human rights.

When Sabahattin Cakmakoglu, the National Defense Minister came together with Scharping, Cakmakoglu said the arms exchange between Turkey and Germany should not be interrupted due to certain incidents, otherwise, Turkey will look for other alternatives.

Scharping pointed to the growing importance of Turkey and its key role for the countries in the region and said Germany attributed great importance to relations with Turkey.

During his meeting with Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, Scharping asked Ecevit to convey to Russian authorities Europe's request to end their attacks against civilians. Ecevit said Turkey was closely following the situation and assured Scharping that his message would be conveyed to Russia.


ISTANBUL, Dec 21 (A.A) - State Minister Recep Onal said on Monday night that banks are monitored and supervised by the state, adding ''as long as this continues, there is no problem.''

Onal stressed that the rumours saying that certain banks are in a difficult position stem from the gossiping of bank administrators who don't abide by rules of ethics.

Speaking in the meeting namely ''Financial Decision and Expectations'' organized by Financial Club, Onal said that the government takes risks in a rational way. ''IMF is used to imposing things on others. Our programme operates so fastly, when somebody, not only IMF and World Bank, sees our performance, he wants to support us,'' Onal said.

Responding to questions, Onal said that it does not seem possible till the end of this year to encourage taxes for easing the integration of banks.

The sources of Eximbank will be increased next year and exporters will be supported, he said adding a boom in tourism and increase in foreign capital are also expected next year.

''Who will deal with such speculations saying things like 'banks in difficulty' till a Banking Inspection Council is formed?'' journalists asked to Onal. Onal responded by saying that ''banks should be in solidarity to prevent such speculations. I have always said that I don't approve transfer of funds from one bank to another. You shouldn't bother small savers.''

Upon another question about banks in deposits insurance fund, Onal stressed that three banks in this fund will be sold in 2000 and new owners of them will be found.

''State banks give rather high interest rates, will these rates reduce?'' asked journalists. Onal pointed out that ''we have the intention to privatize them as soon as possible.''


ISTANBUL, Dec 21 (A.A) - State Minister Recep Onal said on Monday night that the government accepts the struggle with the inflation as the most important element of its economic programme.

Speaking in the Financial Club meeting, Onal pointed out that the goverment seeks for permanent solutions to chronic problems, adding they will carry out the regulations which they consider as beneficial to economy, which the market also expects.

Onal said that the regulations realized by the government are adopted and supported by the internal investors, adding the international respect of Turkey increased and the foreigner's look on Turkey changed positively.

''This success is also the most important assurance of the success of the stand-by regulation which will be implemented soon,'' Onal said.

The finance and banking system is also small in Turkey when compared to developing and developed countries, stressed Onal, adding the capital market can't develop sufficiently in an atmosphere where there is chronic high inflation.

''The amount of liquidity rates will be decreased; the fund supporting source usage, the taxes on banks, insurance proceedings, foreign exchange incomes can be lifted,'' Onal said.

''The inspection in the banking sector will not only be limited to monitoring whether banks abide by the rules or not. From now on, the administration methods of the risks which the banks undertake, the effect of these risks, if they turn into loses, on financial sector and the measures that should be taken, will all be taken into account. Banking means taking risks. The health of the financial sector can't only be provided by the inspection and monitorance of the banks. After the Banking Law and Law on Capital Market, the Law on Insurance will also be prepared, '' he said.

Onal ended his words calling on the finance sector to trust and support the government as much as the international institutions trust them.


These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on December 21, 1999. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their occuracy.


Alaattin Cakıcı, the notorious mafia boss who was extradited from France to Turkey, said that ''when I was brought to Turkey from France I was directly taken to Organized Crime Department of Istanbul Security. Police questioned me for seven hours. They forced me to give the answers they wanted. They didn't like the answers I gave about mafia. I was worried to be killed by them. Maybe they recorded my statements by a camera.''

Istanbul Criminal Court No.6 decided to extinguish the case which was filed against Alaattin Cakıcı, the notorious mafia boss, for inciting persons to attack journalist-writer Hincal Uluc by way of presciption. Tevfik Gungoren, the chief judge of Istanbul Criminal Court No. 6 accused the Ministry of Justice to hide files and cause extinguishment of the case by way of presciption.


Ankara is in chaos as Alaattin Cakıcı, the notorious mafia boss was released for one of the crimes he was accused by way of presciption. During an exhibition, Hikmet Sami Turk, the Minister of Justice was angry at the questions of journalists about Cakıcı and pushed them. Journalists protested Turk.

The Penal Court sent a letter to Ankara to get a permission to try Alaattin Cakıcı regarding other crimes. If the letter is sent to France and if France accepts, Cakıcı will be tried regarding these crimes. While students are tried for asking teachers, Cakıcı was freed from one of his cases without even coming to the court. There is only one case remaining about Cakıcı now.


Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said that ''we fulfil the obligations regarding full membership to the European Union (EU) within 3-4 years. The determination and speed of the government caused admiration in Europe. Nothing has prevented our fastness, even the quake disasters. There is no problem within the coalition government about waiting for the decision of the European Court of Human Rights. But I am also concerned about the attitude of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) about the death penalty.''

IMF increased the amount of the credit it will give Turkey by 500 million dollars. The stand-by agreement is expected to be signed on Wednesday. The credit the World Bank will give Turkey also increased and reached 750 million dollars.


State Minister Recep Onal said that the Bank Inspection Council has to be merciless and has to seize the banks which are in difficulty for public good and market. ''Many banks who are not in good position in respect of finance are being tested by stricter measures in other countries,'' he said. Onal also stressed that Emlak Bank, Halk Bank and Ziraat Bank will be made autonomous.''

Ankara Republican Chief Prosecution started an investigation about Mahfi Egilmez, the former Undersecretary of the Treasury and a member of Garanti Bank's Executive Board under the law which prohibits former civil servants from being engaged in certain businesses.


Three earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 3.1 to 4.0, were recorded in Tosya county of Kastamonu province in the Black Sea Region between 01:37 local time and 02:02 local time on Tuesday. Residents who took to the streets in panic, spent the night in the open. Nearly 1,200 people were killed when a 7.2-magnitude earthquake had devastated Tosya in 1943.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) increased amount of Turkey's loan up to 4 billion U.S. dollars. Meanwhile, Japon has pledged to provide at least 500 million U.S. dollars for the financial reform in Turkey. Selcuk Demiralp, the Undersecretary of Treasury, said that the stand-by agreement would be discussed at the IMF Executive Directors Board meeting on Wednesday.

The International Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award was given to Aime Cesaire, 86, who is a prominent poet whose poems reflect desire for freedom and equality. Cesaire will be given his award on January 17, 2000 in Istanbul.


A total of five people were killed while 13 others were injured in pileups in three separate place on Kirikkale-Ankara highway. Dense fog caused the accidents.

Leaders of three political parties forming the coalition government, convened yesterday. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, the leader of the Democratic Left Party (DSP), Devlet Bahceli, the Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and Mesut Yilmaz, the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP), attended the meeting which lasted four hours and 15 minutes. Responding to questions of journalists after the meeting, Ecevit said that the meeting had focused on economic issues.

Sabahattin Cakmakoglu, the National Defense Minister, met with Rudolf Scharping, the German Defense Minister who is currently paying an official visit to Turkey. At the meeting, Cakmakoglu thanked Germany for her efforts for Turkey's candidacy to the European Union (EU).


President Suleyman Demirel attended inauguration of the Karkamis Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant which was constructed on Euphrates River. Meanwhile, Cumhur Ersumer, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, stressed that the Karkamıs dam was the first dam which was constructed earlier than expected.


WASHINGTON D.C., Dec 21 (A.A) - James Foley, the Spokesman of the U.S. State Department, said on Monday that the U.S' policy regarding Cyprus did not change, and added that Washington D.C. officially recognizes only the Greek Cypriot administration carrying the title of ''Cyprus Republic.''

When reminded views regarding recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which were based on expressions in the United Nations Security Council's resolution to extend the mandate of the peace- keeping force on Cyprus, Foley said that the Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister had met with the United Nations (U.N) officials on December 17 to make this technical issue clear. He noted that it was an issue between the Greek Cypriot officials and the United Nations, not between the Greek Cypriot officials and the U.S.

Foley stressed that neither the United Nations' nor the U.S.' attitudes regarding recognition of only the ''Cyprus Republic'' (the Greek Cypriot side), did not change as the Spokesman of the United Nations indicated on Friday.

When asked about the method of solving the problems between Turkey and Greece, Foley told reporters that the U.S. and the European Union (EU) have similar views regarding the solution of the Aegean dispute.

Noting that the U.S. was not in the position to dictate Turkey and Greece how to solve their problems, Foley emphasized that they wanted to see the two allied and friendly countries solve their problems.

Foley also added that if two sides decide to bring the problems to the International Court of Justice or to a similar international mechanism, the U.S will support their decision.


NEW YORK, Dec 21 (A.A) - Volkan Vural, Turkey's Permanent Representative to the U.N. said on Tuesday that the U.N. Security Council should represent the world of today and tomorrow, not 1945, thus it should be reconstructed.

Speaking in a meeting held about the Security Council reform, Vural said a solution couldn't still be brought to this problem although a commission was set up to work on this issue six years ago.

''Broadening and reforming the Security Council, whose weakness is proven again and again by every crisis is an obligation,'' said Vural.

The Security Council should be democratic, transparent organ and it has to be in a position to give account, said Vural, adding that bringing an urgent and partial solution to the problem can't be a real solution.

Vural said that one or two countries which will be accepted as the new permanent members, won't make the Council more democratic and more representative.

''Increasing the number of permanent members of the Council by recognizing the privileges of the existing members to the new ones won't bring any use other than making the unjust structure permanent. Turkey is open-minded regarding the reform process, but it can't stay indifferent to efforts aiming at making the Security Council marginal. A broader and a more representative Council has to be formed by taking into account the regions and sub-regions, economic and other criteria,'' he ended.


WASHINGTON D.C. Dec 21 (A.A) - Alan Makovski, one of the most important American experts on Turkey, claimed on Tuesday that Turkey is concerned about the peace talks that was re-started between Israel and Syria, in respect of water issue, security, terrorism and the future of Turkish- Israeli relations.

Makovski, the Director of Turkey Researches Department of the think-tank namely ''The Washington Institute for Near Eastern Affairs'' said in a report that Turkey would insist on protecting her own interests during the advance of the mentioned peace process.

Makovsky stressed that if Israel and Syria make peace, Turkey does not have the intention to reach a water agreement with Syria without getting benefits.

Turkey has to join in the talks between Syria and Israel, he stressed, listing the worries of Turkey about the Israeli-Syrian talks as follows:

Water: Turkey does not want to give water to Syria without conditions, said Makovsky, adding only if regulations that satisfy Turkey are arranged during the talks, Turkey can change her attitude.

Security: Makovski pointed out that Turkey is against the transfer of Syrian military power from the Syrian border near Golan Heights to the border with Turkey if Syria makes peace with Israel. He also claimed that Turkey will also request either removal of Syrian missiles that can hit Turkey or close monitoring of them.

Terrorism: He said that ''Syria still continues to permit terrorist elements take shelter in her territory in a certain degree following the deportation of Ocalan, the head terrorist. Syria will probably request the U.S. to take her out from the list of countries supporting terrorism after reaching an agreement with Israel. Turkey, then, tell the U.S. that Syria should only be taken out from the list if she takes a stance against the PKK and other terrorist organizations targetting Turkey.''

Assistance: Makovsky said that the American aid to Syria can come to agenda by a possible peace agreement, adding Turkey will probably resist to American military aid to Syria.

Turkish-Israeli relations: Alan Makovsky defended the view that Turkey is worried about the possibility that Israel which is in peace process with Syria, can want to limit her relations with Turkey. Reminding that former Israeli premier Peres preferred Syria more than Turkey, he said Turkey can ask assurances from Israel about continuation of strong bilateral relations.

Makovsky added that the joint military exercise among Turkey, Israel and the U.S. naval forces in the Mediterranean in a period when Syrian-Israelii talks started, nevertheless shows how advanced the military relations between Turkey and Israel are.


WASHINGTON D.C., Dec 21 (A.A) - Al Gore, the U.S. Vice President, met on Tuesday with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan who is paying a visit to the U.S.

Speaking in the meeting, Gore wanted Nazarbayev to transport a part of the Kazakh oil to the Mediterranean by the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline.

At the meeting, it was underlined that the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline agreement which was signed during the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Istanbul last month, would make a considerable contribution to unification between the West and the former Soviet Union republics in Caucasia and Central Asia.

The U.S. sources told the A.A correspondent that Gore proposed Nazarbayev to transport some part of Kazakh oil into western markets through the Baku- Ceyhan oil pipeline to increase pipeline's success.

Kazakhstan plans to market most of her oil from the Russia's Novorossiisk Port in the Black Sea.

During the OSCE summit in Istanbul, Nazarbayev had said that they thought to transport a part of the Kazakh oil by the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline. Yet, Kazakhstan has not undertaken any commitment regarding the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline project.


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - Rudolf Scharping, the German Defense Minister who is currently paying an official visit to Turkey, visited on Tuesday Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister.

Addressing journalists before the meeting, Cem expressed satisfaction over hosting Scharping in Ankara.

Recalling that there was a strong military cooperation between Turkey and Germany, Cem said, ''besides the military and economical dimensions, relations between two countries have also humanitarian dimension. Nearly 2.5 million Turkish people are living in Germany.

Our good relations have further improved with the announcement of Turkey's candidacy to the European Union (EU).''

Cem thanked his German counterpart Joschka Fischer who expended great efforts for Turkey's candidacy.

Recalling that the EU was working to develope a new formation named the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI), Cem said, ''Turkey has several concerns and rezervations. But I think that Turkey and Germany, two allied countries having good relations, would overcome these difficulties.''

Meanwhile, Scharping expressed profound sorrow over loss of lives in two earthquake disasters in Turkey. He stressed that Germany was ready to assist Turkey to heal the wounds of the disasters.

Emphasizing that there were historical relations between Turkey and Germany, Scharping indicated that they wanted to further improve these relations.

Describing Turkey as a strategical partner and a historical friend, Scharping added that two countries have joint interests regarding the international politics and security.


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - The Undersecretariat of Maritime will take measures in Istanbul and Canakkale Straits to prevent the millenium gap known as Y2K problem.

A statement of the Undersecretariat of Maritime said on Tuesday that it will take some measures in Istanbul and Canakkale Straits between 8.00 local time on December 31, 1999 and 12.00 local time on January 1, 2000 within the framework of the millenium gap.

All the cargo ships which are heavier than 3000 GRT, will be prevented from entering into the Straits between 6.00 p.m. on December 31, 1999 and 6.00 a.m. on January 1, 2000; the statement noted.

The statement stressed that the ships which are bigger than 200 meters long, will not be allowed to enter in the Straits between 4.00 p.m. on December 31, 1999 and 7.00 a.m. on January 1, 2000.

Security measures will be taken in the Straits and the number of the guiding captains will be increased for this millenium gap, the statement emphasized.

The statement pointed out that fire extinguisher ships will be ready to intervene in any undesired situation in the Straits.


LEFKOSA, Dec 21 (A.A) - The martyrs of the ''Bloody Christmas'' were commemorated in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Tuesday.

Ceremonies were held in Lefkosa to commemorate the martyrs who were killed in the Greek Cypriots' armed attacks which were staged on December 21, 1963 after the ''Akritas Plan'' that aimed at annexing Cyprus to Greece was put into force.

The martyrs were also commemorated in other cities of the TRNC.

Hundreds of Turkish Cypriots were killed in the bloody attacks which were staged by the Greek Cypriots to occupy whole Cyprus and to annex the island to Greece by destroying the Republic of Cyprus which was established in 1960.

Thus, thousands of Turkish Cypriots had to emigrate from the island due to these bloody attacks.

A total of 30,000 Turkish Cypriots had to abandon 103 villages due to the Greek-Greek Cypriot attacks which aimed at annihilating the Turkish Cypriots in one day.

All the Turkish schools, mosques and historical places were destroyed by the Greek Cypriots.

After the attacks, the Turkish Cypriots were forced to live in one-third part of the island.

The Greek Cypriots who excluded Turks from the republic which was set up with the participation of the two nations in the island, imposed economic embargo on the Turkish Cypriots.

The 11-year agony which the Turkish Cypriots suffered from 1963 to 1974, ended by the Turkish Armed Forces' Peace Operation which was launched on July 20, 1974.


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister, received Meral Gezgin Eris, the Chairman of the Economic Development Foundation (IKV), and the accompanying delegation on Tuesday.

Prior to the meeting, Cem said that the integration with the European Union (EU) was not only achieved by the government but also achieved by the non- governmental organizations and the civilian initiatives.

The IKV had a special place in the integration process with the EU, Cem noted.

Cem stated that the IKV expended very successful efforts in informing the EU Council and other EU organizations about Turkey's rightful thesis.

Eris said that Cem also made successful efforts since the Helsinki Summit.

Turkey was experiencing a historical process, Eris noted.

Eris stated that Turkey's EU candidacy was an unconditional and equal status.

Cem had personal influence in reaching this result, Eris stressed.

Eris added that Turkey would become a full member of the EU earlier than many countries expected.


ANKARA (A.A) - Ambassador Sukru Tufan was appointed as the director of the ''Economy Policy Office'' under the auspices of the United Nations Mission of Kosovo (UNMIK).

The Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Tufan who served as an official at the United Nations (U.N.) Secretary General's Special Envoy's Office, started his new mission in the first week of December.

Officials consider Tufan's membership to the UNMIK executive board as the reflection of Turkey's active role in the re-establishment of peace, stability and welfare in Kosovo.

Tufan worked as Turkey's Ambassador to Sarajevo between 1993 and 1996. Later, he worked as Turkey's Ambassador to Rabat between 1996 and 1998.

Tufan was Turkey's coordinator in Kosovo before he was appointed to this mission.


BRUGES, Dec 21 (A.A) - The Bruges Court in Belgium decided on Tuesday to extend the detention period of Fehriye Erdal, a suspect of the assasination of Turkish businessman Ozdemir Sabanci, by one month.

The Court ruled to extend the detention period of also Musa Asaoglu and Kaya Saz, the members of illegal Revolutionary People's Salvation Party- Front (DHKP-C) organization while it released Hasan Ekici, another member of the illegal DHKP-C.

The illegal DHKP-C organization claimed the responsibility of the murders.

The Chief Prosecutor and the lawyers of the arrested suspects can appeal this verdict to the Gent Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the Belgian gendarme took intense measures during today's hearing.

Fehriye Erdal was arrested in Bruges, Belgium, bearing a false passport.

Interpol officials confirmed that they identified her as the suspect in the killing of Ozdemir Sabanci through her fingerprints.

Sabanci was the brother of Sakip Sabanci, who heads one of two largest industrial conglomerates in Turkey. He was murdered along with another company official and his secretary in his

Istanbul office in 1996.

Mustafa Duyar, one of the three suspects of the assasination, confessed in 1997 and was killed in prison in Turkey while awaiting trial.


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - President Suleyman Demirel said on Tuesday that he does not think there is a problem in the coalition government.

Responding to the questions of the journalists, Demirel noted that the coalition government led by Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit continues its works carefully.

Mesut Yilmaz, the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP), and Devlet Bahceli, the Deputy Prime Minister and the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), also expend efforts to solve Turkey's problems within the framework of the responsibilities of the coalition government, Demirel stated.

Responding a question saying that the coalition partners have different points of view about the execution of the capital punishment upheld for Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the terrorist organization, and about the European Union (EU) issue, Demirel said, ''I do not think there is a problem in the coalition government.''

''These are all different things. The coalition partners are aware of their responsibilities. Turkey needs stability,'' Demirel added.


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - Ramazan Mirzaoglu, the State Minister, said on Tuesday that they held very productive contacts in Chad and Sudan.

Mirzaoglu staged a press conference regarding his visits to Chad and Sudan between December 11 and 20, 1999.

Sudan can be considered as a door opening to Africa, Mirzaoglu noted.

Mirzaoglu stated that a Cooperation Agreement in Trade, Economy, Technology and Science was signed with the Republic of Chad.

They met with Idris Deby, the President of Chad, and many ministers and high-ranking officials during their visit to Chad; Mirzaoglu stressed.

Mirzaoglu emphasized that Turkish businessmen also held contacts with the businessmen of Chad during their visit.

The Seventh Term Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meetings were held in Sudan, Mirzaoglu pointed out.

Mirzaoglu said that the JEC Meeting Protocol was signed at the end of the meetings.

Omar Hassan Al Besir, the President of Sudan, received their delegation; Mirzaoglu noted.

Mirzaoglu stated that Turkey and Sudan signed a protocol for mutual cooperation in the archieves of both countries; an agreement for encouragement and protection of the investments; and an agreement for cooperation in agriculture and tourism.

The JEC Protocol foresaw necessary measures to improve the economic and commercial relations between two countries; an agreement for prevention of double taxation as soon as possible, and establishment of the Turkish- Sudanese businessmen council; Mirzaoglu stressed.

Mirzaoglu added that Turkish companies will bid for the installation of telecommunication systems in Sudan.


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping said on Tuesday that he would immediately relieve of duty the soldiers who would use the Leopard tanks in southeastern Anatolia if he was the Turkish defense minister.

Scharping staged a press conference after wrapping up his contacts in Ankara.

Evaluating the developments about the sale of the Leopard II tanks, Scharping said, ''there are the decisions taken by the Turkish and German governments about the issue. In accordance with our decision, we will participate in the tests. We will take our final decision after the decision of Turkey. We will take this decision according to the developments in time including human rights.''

Noting that the relations between Turkey and Germany should not be limited only with this issue, Scharping said, ''I would relieve of duty the soldiers who will use the Leopard tanks in southeastern Anatolia but of course I am not the Turkish defense minister.''


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - Meral Gezgin Eris, the Chairman of the Economic Development Foundation (IKV), said on Tuesday that they need an intense coordination for the European Union (EU).

Responding to the questions of the journalists, Eris noted that they discussed the relations between Turkey and the EU during his meeting with Premier Bulent Ecevit.

When asked whether or not it is necessary to set up a ministry responsible for the EU, Eris stated that they did not discuss the establishment of a EU Ministry during their meeting.

Eris stressed that they discussed how they can increase the coordination in the meeting.

Eris continued, ''we have to work without losing any time. To this end, we need intense coordinaton. All the ministries should expend efforts regarding this issue. We think that the economic issues are very important.''

''The Banking Law which is on the agenda nowadays, will be useful for our harmonization with the EU. We think that the works on economic issues should be given priority,'' Eris added.

When asked about the initiatives that should be launched in economy, Eris said, ''we launch initiatives in economy regarding the adoptation of the regulations and initiatives which will ensure us to reach the competition power in economy.''


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - The members of the Parliamentary Inter-Party Compromise Commission visited on Tuesday Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting at the Prime Ministry building, Nejat Arseven, the Chairman of the Commission and the Acting Speaker of the Parliament, said they conveyed the Commission's opinions about the necessary amendments to the Constitution in the process of Turkey's European Union (EU) candidacy to Prime Minister Ecevit at the meeting.

''Mr. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit told us that some amendments to the Constitution must be made concerning the issues on which an agreement was reached according to today's conditions. As a result of this support we gained from Mr. Ecevit, we will visit the leaders of other political parties. If we receive their support too, as the Inter-Party Compromise Commission, we will carry out a serious and determined work concerning the amendments to the Constitution. We think Turkey has to start firstly with the amendments to the Constitution regarding the Copenhagen criteria,'' he said.

Arseven said they would exchange opinion also with the unversities, non- governmental organizations and the Turkish Armed Forces during their work.


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - Rudolf Scharping, the German Defense Minister, said on Tuesday that Germany expended great efforts to give Turkey European perspective.

Scharping staged a press conference and evaluated his contacts in Ankara.

Many positive developments were marked in Germany's policy against Turkey in recent days, Scharping noted.

Scharping stated that Germany was ready to cooperate with Turkey following the quake disasters.

Not only the German government but also the German non-governmental organizations sent aid to Turkey following the quake disasters, Scharping recalled.

Their assistance will continue, Scharping added.

Scharping stressed that the second example of the improving relations between Turkey and Germany was the change in the political atmosphere.

The political atmosphere has changed since his last visit to Turkey in 1997; Scharping emphasized.

Scharping pointed out that Germany passed the citizenship law since then and this law will ensure the participation of two million Turks in Germany to the daily life.

They implemented this reform despite all the difficulties, Scharping added.

Scharping said that the third example was to give the European perspective to Turkey.

Turkey became an official EU candidate after the Helsinki Summit, Scharping noted.

Scharping stated that the letter that Premier Bulent Ecevit sent to German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in May contributed to this development.

German Chancellor and German Foreign Minister made efforts to provide this perspective; Scharping stressed.

Scharping emphasized that the Turkish officials appreciate these efforts.

The European perspective foresees that Turkey should provide harmonization with the Copenhagen criteria which cover the enhancement of democracy and state of law; Scharping pointed out.

Scharping said that Turkey took steps which are supported by Germany.

However, this does not mean that Turkey achieved all the targets; Scharping noted.

The Turkish officials explained him the reforms implemented to fortify the democracy, the state of law and the human rights during his contacts; Scharping stated.

Scharping stressed that Germany believes that Turkey will achieve these targets.

Not only Germany but also the EU countries and the NATO allies consider Turkey as a strategical friend and partner because they are aware of the importance of Turkey in the establishment of stability in the Caspian basin, the Middle East and the Balkans, Scharping added.


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - Bakur Gulua, Georgian Agriculture and Food Minister, currently in Turkey to attend Turkish-Georgian Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meetings, visited Husnu Yusuf Gokalp, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, on Tuesday.

Speaking during the meeting, Gokalp said all economic and trade relations will be discussed during JEC meetings, and required measures will be taken up.

Recalling that a protocol was signed in 1994 to provide cooperation between the two countries in the field of agriculture, Gokalp said the agreements on fishing and aquacultural products, which Turkey proposed, will also be discussed.

Stressing that there was an important potential between the two friendly countries, Gokalp said he was hopeful to improve relations with Georgia.

Bakur Gulua in his part said Georgia has newly gained its independence, adding that Turkey had extended aid to his country during civil war period.

Gulua pointed out that Turkey and Georgia may improve cooperation in every sector.

Recalling Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline agreement, Gulua said such kind of projects created opportunities to improve cooperation, adding that, ''it is our duty to improve cooperation because of our historical ties.''


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - President Suleyman Demirel Tuesday received Rudolf Scharping, German Defense Minister. During the meeting Demirel thanked to the support of Germany regarding Turkey's formal candidacy to European Union (EU), and noted that this will contribute positively to Turkish German relations.

A statement of Presidential Press Center said Demirel said Turkish public welcomed the statement of Helsinki Summit which accepted Turkey as the formal candidate. Demirel noted that Turkey was grateful to the support of Gerhard Schroder, German Chancellor, and German government. Demirel said the decision will have positive contributions to Turkish-German relations as well as Turkish-EU relations in the coming period.

The statement said, ''President Demirel said traditional friendship between the two countries and peoples has great importance. He said Germany was the biggest trade partner of Turkey, and that 2.5 million Turkish citizens living in Germany have important contributions to economic development of Germany as well as Turkish-German friendship. Demirel said Turkey and Germany acted together on issues regarding the Balkans, Caucasia, the Middle East, the Central Asia, and whole Europe. Demirel pointed out that Turkey waited for participation of German capital and investors in a series of investment projects which Turkey will bring into force in the coming period. Demirel also expressed belief that cooperation between Turkey and Germany will further improve.''

The statement went on as saying President Demirel pointed out that Turkey is optimistic and looked at future confidently, adding that formal candidacy to EU created opportunities for Turkey to play its role more actively for the peace and stability of a broad geography. He said EU's new point of view toward Turkey strengthened the role of Turkey in this respect, and noted that Turkey will exert all kinds of efforts to fulfil the required conditions to become EU full member.''

Scharping in his part said he was pleased to see that important developments have been recorded in Turkey since his visit to this country in 1997, adding that German government attributed great importance to improve relations with Turkey and correct misunderstandings of the past.

Scharping welcomed the resolution of Helsinki Summit.

German Defense Minister Scharping also said they have brought several arragements in the field of dual citizenship in favour of Turkish citizens living in Germany. He pointed out that Turkey was a determining country in stability of the Black Sea Basin, Caspian Basin, the Balkans, Caucasia, and the Middle East. Scharping stressed that Germany was determined to work together with Turkey, whom it regarded as a strategic partner.

Schaping said they will be in an effort to evaluate new opportunies and facilities together in bilateral and EU basis. German Defense Minister pointed out that a secular, democratic and open Turkey, which is an element of peace and stability, is an important partner in welfare and security of Europe.

The statment said, ''Scharping also noted that they wanted active participation of countries, which are NATO members but not full members of the EU, to the improvement of European joint security and defense policy. He said they will be in cooperation with Turkey within this framework.''


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - Hikmet Sami Turk, Minister of Justice, said on Tuesday that the ministry called for consent from France to prosecute Alaattin Cakici on charges of forming armed organization to commit crime.

Addressing a news conference Turk said they have sent a copy of the file to Foreign Ministry and launched initiatives to French authorities through diplomatic canals. The file also includes Turk Ticaret Bank tender affair.

Turk said files regarding three other accusations against Cakici are being translated to French to ask for consent, adding that the files will be sent to French judicial authorities in the coming days.

Turk said Istanbul Republican Chief Prosecutorship appealed the decision of Istanbul Criminal Court no:6 which abated another action against Cakıcı due to lapse of time. In the action Cakıcı was accused of inciting to injure Hincal Uluc. Turk said, ''the same court earlier said the lapse of time in this action will expire on September 4, 2004. The Chief Prosecutorship appealed the action by taking this into consideration.''

Turk said Justice Ministry did not hide or conceal anything.


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - Rudolf Scharping, German Defense Minister, said on Tuesday that he saw that Turkey has several concerns about newly developing European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI), and noted that they expressed readiness to cooperate with Turkey on the issue.

Addressing a news conference Scharping mentioned ESDI, and noted that during his contacts in Turkey he has seen the concern that Turkey's participation in ESDI will not be much. German Defense Minister pointed out that they did not have such a target, adding that they wanted all NATO member countries, even if they are EU members or not, to be included in ESDI. ''We are ready for cooperation within this framework,'' he noted.

''We are at the beginning of a road and targets have been set. What is important is reaching these targets step by step. It will take time'', he stressed.

Pointing out that relations of the two countries extend from economy to culture, Scharping said Turkish-German relations have been further improved since May 1999.

Scharping, who mentioned sale of Leopard 2 tanks, said bilateral relations of the two countries should not be intensified only on the situation of human rights in Turkey.

Recalling his meeting with Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik, Minister of State responsible for human rights, Scharping said, ''the Turkish government is aware of the need to improve democracy, the state of law and human rights, '' adding that the leaders had assured him steps would be taken to meet European criteria.

Responding to another question Scharping said his party group submitted a proposal in 1995, adding that this decision meant PKK was a terrorist organization for Germany. He said the decision wanted PKK to put an end to terrorism and violance.

Pointing out that they knew that terrorist organization was responsible for the killing of 30,000 people, and that they were aware of the effect of this on Turkish families, Scharping said PKK was banned in Germany in this respect. ''Yet, several aspects should be considered while struggling against terrorism. I think that Kurds should have the right of speaking their own language, receiving lessons in their own language and living their own culture''

''This is a matter of human rights and has no links with the autonomy of a country,'' he said.

German Defense Minister said Turkey is a stable, and secular country and a powerful partner, adding that Turkey owed this to military forces.


ANKARA, Dec 21 (A.A) - Devlet Bahceli, Deputy Prime Minister, said on Tuesday that Turkey will be opened to Asia, and Georgia will be opened to Europe is Kars-Tbilisi Railway Project continues.

Addressing the opening of Turkish-Georgian Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meeting, Bahceli said legal framework of trade and economic relations between the two countries was almost completed, and recalled that Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement was signed in 1992.

Bahceli said Prevention of Double Taxation Agreement was about to be signed, adding that with the signature of this agreement the legal framework will be concluded.

Pointing out that Turkish-Georgian relations were improving since 1992, Bahceli said support of Turkish Eximbank will continue to the projects which Georgia will bring into agenda, and which will be carried out by Turkish entrepreneurs.

Bahceli noted that Turkish Emlak Bank opened a branch in Tbilisi, adding that they were ready to promote other banks to open branches in Georgia.

Bahceli said, ''efforts to realize Kars-Tbilisi railway project, which I believe that will contribute to the improvement of our trade relations, are under way. Turkey will be opened to Asia, and Georgia will be opened to Europe if this project continues.''

JEC meetings will end on December 23, 1999 after the signing of a protocol.

[33] A.A

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