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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 01-02-07

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

From: The Anadolu Agency Home Page at <http://www.anadoluajansi.com.tr/>

Anadolu Agency

ANADOLU AGENCY

NEWS

07 FEBRUARY

2001 Wednesday


CONTENTS

  • [01] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN
  • [02] CLOSURE CASE AGAINST FP

  • [01] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

    These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's

    press on February 7, 2000. The Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories

    and does not vouch for their accuracy.

    HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

    GOVERNMENT TO MEET WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF INDUSTRY AND BANKING SECTORS
    Government will meet with representatives of industry and banking sectors for

    measures which will facilitate overcoming economic crisis. Deputy Prime

    Minister Mesut Yilmaz said, ''we will listen to problems of real institutions

    and finance sector. At the Council of Ministers meeting next week, we will

    announce a series of measures.''

    ''TURKEY HAS AN EXCELLENT ECONOMIC AND COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL''
    Robert W. Pearson, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, said that Turkey had an ''excellent''

    economic and commercial potential. Speaking at a seminar on ''the United

    States' Commercial and Fiancial Services'' organized by Istanbul Chamber of

    Commerce, Pearson said that the trade volume between the two countries had

    increased 70 percent since 1994. He noted that exporta from Turkey to the

    United States climbed by 15 percent in 1999 and 2000. Stressing that the

    United States attributed great importance to Turkey, Caucasia and the Central

    Asia, Pearson said that the U.S. businessmen were anxious to start working on

    joint projects with them in the months to come. ''We want to strengthen the

    commercial ties between Turkey and the United States,'' he added.

    THERE IS NOT ANY PROBLEM IN U.S. PRESIDENT BUSH'S LETTER
    Faruk Logoglu, the Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry, said, ''some words

    in U.S. President George W. Bush's letter to Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit have

    given rise to discussions. These words are not related with problems between

    Turkey and the United States, but they are regarded with problems in the

    region.'' Logoglu came together with diplomacy correspondents at a luncheon.

    Responding to a question, Logoglu said, ''in his letter, President Bush used

    the word of 'challenge'. President Bush attributes importance to friendly

    relations between the two countries, and his letter will open doors for us. In

    his letter, President Bush said that some challenges might emerge in regional

    issues concerning both Turkey and the United States. He added that the two

    countries would overcome these challenges through cooperation,'' Logoglu

    stressed.

    MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

    HOPES FADE AWAY TO CAPTURE TERRORISTS WHO ASSASINATED OKKAN
    Saadettin Tantan, the Interior Minister, said that seizure of terrorists who

    assassinated Gaffar Okkan, the Police Chief of southeastern Diyarbakir

    province, and five other policemen would take time. Tantan made remarks on the

    assasination of Okkan, and didn't want to make any clear statement on which

    organization actually staged the attack. We don't know whether the attack has

    a foreign connection or not, said Tantan, and added they would exert utmost

    efforts to capture the terrorists.

    WOMAN JANNISSERY BECOMES HERO OF CARTOONS IN U.S.
    DC Comics, the most selling cartoons publisher in the U.S. started to use the

    woman jannissery figure in its cartoons. The DC Comics Company is using the

    Woman Jannissery in its best seller cartoon Justice League of America Super

    Heroes. The Woman Jenissery is wearing a red garment with star and crescent

    which is the emblem of the Turkish Republic. She is carrying a book in one

    hand an holding an Ottoman sword in the other. The characters of the Justice

    League of America will fight against devil in this weeks' edition.

    SABAH (LIBERAL)

    TURKISH PEOPLE TO DRINK ''PRIVATIZED TURKISH RAKI''
    The Turkish Tobacco and Alcoholic Drinks Authority (TEKEL) which has a share

    of 1.5 percent in Gross National Product of Turkey, is taken into the scope of

    privatization. The selling procedure of Tekel will be completed in three

    years. The reform in Tekel, which took place in the letter of intend submitted

    to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), draws the attentions of many foreign

    and local companies.

    JUSTICE MINISTRY ACCEPTS AESTHETIC OPERATION REQUEST OF WOMEN INMATES
    Nine women inmates who set themselves on fire in last year's intervention in

    prisons applied to the Justice Ministry to undergo aesthetic operations. Three

    of those women had already underwent asthetic operations as the Justice

    Ministry approved their applications. Remaining six women inmates will also

    undergo operations in Kartal State Hospital in coming days.

    CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

    RALLY TO PROTEST IMF AND F TYPE PRISONS
    The Work Party (EMEP), the People's Democracy Party (HADEP), the Freedom and

    Solidarity Party (ODP) and the Human Rights Association (IHD) will hold a

    rally in Abide-i Hurriyet Square in Sisli district of Istanbul on Sunday to

    protest the F type prisons, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and capital

    policies.

    NETHERLANDS' INTEREST IN GAP
    Willem Tacken, the Chairman of the Agricultural Investments Consulting Firm

    DLV Agricosult of the Netherlands, will come to southeastern province of

    Sanliurfa. Tacken will be briefed by the Directorate of Southeastern Anatolia

    Project (GAP) Regional Development Authority on the GAP and latest

    developments in the region. Later, Tacken will visit Resarch Station in

    Koruklu, fields under irrigation, Ataturk Dam and Koc-Ata Husbandry Facility.

    RADIKAL (LEFT)

    BY-LAW TO BE DISCUSSED IN PARLIAMENT AGAIN
    The leaders of the coalition decided to discuss the proposal of change in by-law

    of parliament as no concrete outcomes obtained from the meetings headed by

    Omer Izgi, the Speaker of Parliament. The discussion on the change in by- law

    of the parliament is expected to be carried out starting from today. In the

    meantime, Recai Kutan, the leader of Virtue Party (FP), said President Ahmet

    Necdet Sezer should gather the leaders of the coalition parties to discuss the

    issue.

    NO INTEREST IN AUTOMOBILE PURCHASE CREDIT
    The companies started campaigns to revive the automobile sales and to overcome

    the financial crisis in the sector. The companies make big sales in cash

    payments and no interest rate is applied in some options of the credit sales.

    Tofas, Fiat, Opel, Hyundai, Toyota and Wolkswagen are some of the companies

    that launched campaigns to overcome the crisis.

    TURKIYE (RIGHT)

    EXPECTED DECISION
    Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said that some measures would be taken to

    relieve the markets. ''We will hold a meeting especially with representatives

    of real and finance sectors on Thursday. We will carry out a work to have the

    burden of the program on social sections divided justly without making

    concessions from the main targets and to prevent some cricles from suffering

    from the program,'' he said.

    DENKTAS IN MALATYA
    President Rauf Denktas of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) will

    address people in a demonstration which will be staged in Malatya to condemn

    and protest approval of resolution on so-called genocide on Armenians by

    France and its decision to erect a genocide monument in Paris. TRNC President

    Denktas will also speak at a conference at Inonu University on ''Importance of

    Cyprus Issue for Turkey''.

    FEMALE MILITANTS OF TERRORISM
    Sabanci family's lawyer Fernard Schmitz applied to the Belgian court for the

    suspect of assasination of businessman Ozdemir Sabanci. The dossier submitted

    to the court requested Fehriye Erdal's trial in Turkey. Meanwhile, Husnu Cemal

    Aslan, female newsreader of MED TV which is known as the television channel of

    the terrorist PKK organization, was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison by the

    Erzurum State Security Court on charges of ''being a member of terrorist

    organization''. Aslan said, ''I was deceived by the organization. I tried to

    escape but they threatened me.''

    TAX DEBTS TO BE PAID IN 18 INSTALLMENTS
    The Finance Ministry allowed taxpayers who couldn't pay their tax debts in

    time until December 31, to pay their tax debts in 18 installments with three

    percent annual interest rate.

    ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

    72 HOURS IN SEA
    Five Crimean students studying in Turkey struggled against waves in Black Sea

    for three days but only two of them succeeded in surviving. Alim, Ahmethan,

    Viktor and Aleksi who were graduated from the Turkish High School were

    studying in Turkey together with their friend Ruslan Settarov. They set off on

    a journey to Crimea to spend their mid-term holiday. The ship they board sunk

    in Black Sea. Fifty-one of the passengers managed to climb lifeboats. Some of

    them were still in the sea. Ruslan Settarov couldn't board the ship's boat and

    was frozen to death. Aboard the lifeboat where Ahmethan managed to climb, four

    people were frozen to death and two others died when they went out of their

    minds in three days. Two days after the accident, Alim was also frozen to

    death. Ahmethan and Viktor were saved on the third day.

    IT DOES NOT HAVE ANY CONNECTION WITH OPERATION WHITE ENERGY
    Gendarmerie Commandership said that a Gendarmerie delegation's visit to

    Britain did not have any connection with the ongoing criminal investigation

    into allegations of corruption in energy tenders. It said that it was one of

    the regular visits.

    GOKCE ARRESTED
    Diyarbakir State Security Court decided to arrest four of the 23 suspects who

    were detained within scope of operations staged after assasination of

    Diyarbakir Police Chief Gaffar Okkan. Nizamettin Gokce, one of terrorist

    Hezbollah organization's triggers who surrendered to security forces is among

    those arrested people.

    PARLIAMENT'S ARCHITECTURE INNOCENT
    A new discussion started upon Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's statement which

    said that fights at parliament stemmed from the interior design of the

    parliament. The Chamber of Architects stressed that fights were made by MPs

    not by seats.

    AGREEMENT REACHED ON BY-LAW
    Agreement reached on change in parliamentary by-law except Article 91, which

    claimed life of a deputy. Parliament Speaker Omer Izgi said that also Article

    91 would be debated at parliamentary general assembly in accordance with the

    agreement among political parties.

    [02] CLOSURE CASE AGAINST FP

    -BUMIN, CHAIRMAN OF CONSTITUTIONAL COURT:
    -''WE WILL ASSESS SUPPLEMENTARY INDICTMENT SUBMITTED BY
    SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS CHIEF PROSECUTOR KANADOGLU''
    ANKARA - Mustafa Bumin, the Chairman of the Constitutional Court, said

    on Wednesday that they would assess supplementary indictment submitted by

    Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor Sabih Kanadoglu regarding the

    closure case of the Virtue Party (FP).

    Responding to questions of journalists, Bumin stressed that they would begin

    to assess the supplementary indictment prepared by Kanadoglu on the basis of

    video footage related to the First Congress of the FP.

    Bumin said, ''after taking a decision on this issue, we will debate whether or

    not we should continue to hear the other case. These debates can be postponed

    to Thursday.''

    -TURKEY-CZECH REPUBLIC COOPERATION IN VETERINARY MEDICINE
    ANKARA - Turkey will cooperate with Czech Republic to prevent entrance of

    diseases in animals through exports and passages in transit.

    The agreement which was signed between Turkey and Czech Republic on September

    10, 2000 on cooperation in veterinary medicine, was published in the Official

    Gazzette on Wednesday.

    The agreement will come into force after the sides notify each other that they

    have fulfilled the necessary conditions.

    The agreement will be valid for five years.

    The agreement will extend automatically at the end of the first five-year if

    the sides do not decide to put an end to the agreement.

    -TRNC PRESIDENT DENKTAS ARRIVES IN MALATYA
    MALATYA - President Rauf Denktas of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)

    arrived in eastern province of Malatya on Wednesday to attend a rally to

    protest approval of the resolution on so-called genocide on Armenians by

    French parliament.

    General Edip Baser, the Commander of the Second Army, and Malatya Mayor Mehmet

    Yasar Cerci welcomed President Denktas at the Erhac Airport.

    Denktas will attend the rally organized by provincial representatives of

    the Democratic Left Party (DSP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the

    Virtue Party (FP), the Motherland Party (ANAP), the True Path Party (DYP), the

    Republican People's Party (CHP) and Grand Unity Party (BBP), to protest

    France's decision.

    -PRESIDENT MESIC OF CROATIA ARRIVES IN ANKARA
    ANKARA- President Stjepan Mesic of Croatia arrived in Ankara on Wednesday on

    an official visit.

    State Minister Fikret Unlu and other officials welcomed President Mesic at

    Ankara's Esenboga Airport.

    An official welcoming ceremony will be held at the Cankaya Presidential Palace

    for President Mesic.

    During his visit, President Mesic will meet with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer,

    Parliament Speaker Omer Izgi, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and former

    President Suleyman Demirel.

    Croatian Foreign Minister Tonino Picula, Tourism Minister Pave Zupan Ruskovic

    and European Integration Minister Ivan Yakovcic are accompanying President

    Mesic.

    -CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR ERCEL: ''IMPORTANT BENEFITS HAVE
    ALREADY BEEN OBTAINED FROM THE DISINFLATION PROGRAM''
    ANKARA - Central Bank Governor Gazi Ercel said on Wednesday that important

    benefits had already been obtained from the disinflation program which was put

    into practice with a three-year perspective.

    Releasing a statement on ''monetary policy implementation in coming period'',

    Ercel said that the inflation rate had reduced for the first time to 2.3

    percent in wholesale prices and 2.5 percent in consumer prices in January of

    2001 after a long period of time.

    Noting that the decreasing trend in inflation would continue also in coming

    months, Ercel said that with this respect, Central Bank's highest level

    contribution to the program would continue with its policies.

    Ercel said that net domestic assets targeted figures had been revised downward

    for the period following January of 2001 by taking into consideration the

    current level.

    ''In accordance with the change in targeted net domestic assets figures, net

    international reserves minimum figures were increased and revised for the same

    period,'' he added.

    -ULUABAT LAKE INCLUDED IN WORLD LIVING WATERS LIST
    ANKARA - The Uluabat Lake in northwest of Turkey was included in World Living

    Waters List, sources said on Wednesday.

    The World Living Wetlands Platform which is a voluntary institution prepares

    the World Living Waters list in accordance with their characteristics and

    significance.

    The platform which included Uluabat Lake in the list, considering it an eco

    system that should be left to next generations.

    Uluabat Lake is also in the list of the Ramsar Convention which comprised the

    wetlands important to whole world. Turkey is also a side to Ramsar Convention.

    Other lakes which were included in the Living Waters List are as follows:

    Lake Constance (Central Europe), Lake St. Lucia (South Africa), Mono Lake (the

    U.S.), Lake Biwa (Japan), Lake Baikal (Russia), Nestos Lakes (Greece), Lake

    Tengiz (Kazakhstan), Dead Sea (Middle East), La Nava Wetlands (Spain),

    Pantalan Wetlands (South America), Laguna mar Chiquita (Argentina), Milicz

    Ponds (Poland), and Uluabat Lake.

    -FINANCE MINISTER ORAL: ''THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT AN EXEMPTION,
    IT IS AN IMPLEMENTATION TO MAKE PAYMENT OF TAX DEBTS EASIER''
    ANKARA - Finance Minister Sumer Oral said on Wednesday, ''this is absolutely

    not an exemption, it is an implementation to make tax debts payments easier

    for taxpayers.''

    Staging a press conference, Oral said that taxpayers would pay their tax debts

    in 18 installments with a three percent annual interest rate.

    Oral said that those who wanted to make use of this facility could make

    applications by March 16, and pay their first installments till end of March.

    He said that taxes would be paid without any reduction in their interests and

    default interests.

    ''The annual default interest rate is still 36 percent but it was decreased to

    three percent with this facility,'' he said.

    ''This is absolutely not an exemption, it is an implementation to make tax

    debts payments easier for taxpayers,'' he added.

    -COALITION PARTNERS TO MEET WITH REPRESENTATIVES
    OF REAL SECTOR ON THURSDAY
    ANKARA- Leaders of three political parties forming coalition government will

    come together with representatives of real sector to discuss measures to be

    taken to solve problems of this sector.

    Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, the leader of the Democratic Left Party (DSP);

    Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the

    Nationalist Movement Party (MHP); Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister

    Mesut Yilmaz, the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP); and Deputy Prime

    Minister and State Minister Husamettin Ozkan will be in attendance at the

    meeting which will start at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday at the Prime Ministry

    Office.

    Representatives of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

    (TOBB), the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD),

    the Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Artisans (TESK), the Confederation

    of Turkish Employers' Unions, the Turkish Exporters' Assembly, the Textiles

    Employers' Union, the Chamber of Maritime Trade and other employers'

    organizations will attend the meeting.

    At the meeting, measures to be taken to accelerate real sector's works and to

    solve problems of this sector will be discussed.

    Representatives of real sector will submit their proposals to the leaders.

    Meanwhile, leaders of coalition partners will come together with ministers

    responsible for economy on Friday to assess proposals put forward by

    representatives of real sector.

    -PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT: ''WE FACE SOME SUSPICIOUS AND
    DISTRESSING GAMES AND NEGATIVITIES AND DARK SCENARIOS EACH DAY''
    ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, the leader of the Democratic Left Party

    (DSP), said on Wednesday that they face some suspicious and distressing games

    and dark scenarios each day, adding, ''however, we are determined to overcome

    all of these with the help of services and progresses.''

    Speaking at DSP Parliamentary Group meeting, Ecevit said that the inflation

    rate reduced to below 30 percent for the first time in last 14 years.

    Ecevit said that they were trying to form a source to remove insufficiencies

    in salaries and wages.

    Noting that the high chronic inflation was taken under control, Ecevit said

    that government's determined struggle against inflation started to give

    positive results.

    Recalling that wholesale prices index reduced to 2.3 percent and consumer

    prices index decreased to 2.5 percent in January, Ecevit stressed that the

    inflation index for manufacturing industry which was called core inflation

    reduced to 1.7 percent.

    ''We are offering payment facility in installments to taxpayers who couldn't

    pay their tax debts, relieving the tradesmen, craftsmen and small and medium

    scale enterprises,'' he said.

    ''We have given the start for a work at the Council of Ministers to bring a

    rapid solution to problems of villagers and farmers. I hope that we can

    announce results of this soon,'' he said.

    The Prime Minister said that they would hold a meeting with the officials and

    experts to determine measures and solutions which would accelerate works of

    all productive circles.

    ''Our aim is not only to settle stability in the economy but also dynamism in

    the economy, more investments and production, more employment and social

    justice. One of the main conditions for achieving these is rapid working of

    legislative and executive organs in harmony,'' he said.

    ''Yesterday, a spokesman from the oppostion said, 'don't do the jobs hastily

    and carelessly'. However, not only the government but also Turkey has to act

    quickly. Because, we are determined to solve long-standing problems and reduce

    the inflation,'' he said.

    Ecevit stressed that there were numerous draft laws to reduce inflation,

    increase income level of people, prevent unemployment, revive productive

    economy, activate promised foreign sources and develop democracy.

    ''All these entail a rapid work at the parliament. Therefore, we have to

    change the parliamentary by-law. Last week's discussions on change in the

    parliamentary by-law resulted in demise of Fevzi Sihanlioglu, a deputy from

    the True Path Party (DYP). Sihanlioglu died of heart attack during the

    fistfights overshadowing prestige of the parliament. Meanwhile, I want to

    stress that the Parliamentary General Assembly Hall has some inconveniences

    due to its architectural structure. On that night, those who wanted to prevent

    speeches and votes, could easily occupy platform,'' he stressed.

    Ecevit added, ''our government has been recording progress to achieve its

    targets with determination despite all difficulties. As a result of our works,

    separatist movements and terrorism have come to the level of eradication;

    inflation has begun to decrease; and that all measures have been taken against

    corruptions. We are determined to continue to expend all efforts for

    prosperity of our people.''

    -32 THOUSAND TURKISH AND FOREIGN TOURISTS VISIT YEDIGOLLER LAST YEAR
    ZONGULDAK - A total of 32 thousand Turkish and foreign tourists visited

    Yedigoller National Park in 2000.

    Kadir Bilgili, an official from Zonguldak National Parks Directorate, said on

    Wednesday that Yedigoller National Park was at the border of northern

    Zonguldak and Bolu provinces, adding that there were seven lakes in the park.

    Last year, a total of 32 thousand Turkish and foreign tourists visited

    Yedigoller National Park, said Bilgili, and added that April and May were the

    best months to visit the lakes.

    There are 238 different plant species in the park, added Bilgili.

    -TIM TO SUBMIT PROBLEMS OF EXPORTERS IN TOMORROW'S SUMMIT
    ISTANBUL - Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), will bring demands of the

    exporters' associations to the agenda of the real sector summit which will be

    held with the leaders on Thursday.

    Okan Oguz, the chairman of TIM, underlined importance of the initiative of the

    governmnent which aimed at bringing solution to the problems of the real

    sector in the summit that will be held with the participation of

    industrialists, exporters and tradesmen, adding that discussion of those

    measures was important.

    Such meetings should be organized frequently, said Oguz and added that

    tommorrow's summit was important as the problems of the real sector and

    proposals for solution of these problems would be discussed.

    Noting that he would represent TIM in the summit, Oguz said he would meet with

    the chairmen of the exports sector and would prepare a report comprising of

    their demands.

    Oguz said that in the report, they would explain how the economic problems

    which the exporters encounter due to the pressure on currency exchange, could

    be solved.

    Results of such summits are more important than organization of such meetings

    said Oguz, and underlined the importance of implementing the measures that

    would bring solutions to the problems of the real sector.

    Oguz said the targets for exports in 2001 could be reached if the government

    met the expectations of the sector about production, exports and investments.

    -PASSENGER BUS COLLIDES WITH A LORRY, KILLING THREE
    PEOPLE AND INJURING 31 OTHERS
    TRABZON - A passenger bus collided with a lorry on Wednesday near Yoroz

    Seneralti region in Akcabat township of northern Trabzon province, killing

    three people and injuring 31 others.

    Officials at Trabzon Governor's Office said that the passenger bus which was

    on its way from Georgian capital of Tbilisi to Istanbul, collided with the

    lorry near Yoroz Seneralti region in Akcabat township.

    Lorry driver Ibrahim Aksahin, 31, Salim Hicyilmaz, 17, and bus driver Turgut

    Yagci, 43, lost their lives in the accident.

    A total of 31 passengers including 29 Georgians were injured in the accident.

    They were rushed to hospitals.

    -GONZALES, CUBAN DIRECTOR GENERAL
    RESPONSIBLE FOR SPORTS VISITS TURKEY
    ANKARA - Roberto Gonzales, the Director General responsible for youth and

    sports institute of Cuba, came to Turkey on Wednesday.

    Gonzales who visited Kemal Mutlu, the Director of the Directorate General of

    Youth and Sports, asked Mutlu in which branches Turkey felt the need for

    sports experts.

    Inviting Mutlu to Cuba, Gonzales said that in his visit, he could give better

    information about the sports experts.

    Gonzales recalled that Turkey had achieved great success in Sydney 2000

    Olympic Games, in wrestling and weight lifting, and that they wanted to

    continue their cooperation with Turkey in sports.

    Mutlu in his part said they appreciated the success of Cuba in training sports

    experts adding that the Turkish federations were conducting works to determine

    the fields in which Turkey and Cuba could cooperate.

    We could cooperate in boxing, athletism, and swimming said Mutlu adding that

    they needed experts especially in athletism.

    Miguel Lamazares Puello, the Ambassador of Cuba to Turkey, was also in

    attendance at the meeting.

    -PRESIDENT SEZER:
    -''CROATIA IS A COUNTRY WHICH HAS IMPORTANCE FOR THE PEACE,
    STABILITY AND PROSPERITY OF SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE''
    ANKARA - President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said on Wednesday that Croatia is a

    country which has importance for the peace, stability and prosperity of

    Southeastern Europe.

    Sezer hosted an official ceremony for Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, who is

    paying an official visit to Ankara, at the Presidential Palace.

    President Sezer said that after Croatia gained its independence, the relations

    between Turkey and Croatia have rapidly developed.

    Sezer continued, ''Turkey and Croatia, which have developed their friendly

    relations on the basis of mutual understanding and mutual interests, are the

    elements of peace and stability in their region. We will search for

    opportunities to further improve and intensify our relations and cooperation

    during our contact.''

    He appreciates the policies followed by Mesic and Croatian government, Sezer

    noted.

    Sezer stated that Croatia takes rapid steps to integrate with the Europe- Atlantic

    institutions and organizations, adding, ''availing myself of this opportunity,

    I would like to emphasize that our country is closely interested in and

    supports the efforts of Croatia in this direction.''

    Mesic said that Turkey was one of the leading countries which defended that

    the Yugoslavia crisis had to be solved by peaceful methods.

    Reminding that Milosevic declared a war in the former Yugoslavian territory,

    Mesic said that Turkey was one of the countries which exerted most of the

    efforts to end this war.

    Mesic noted that the relations with Turkey and Croatia are further developing.

    The two countries have joint strategic interests, Mesic stated, noting that

    Croatia wants to become a NATO member.

    Mesic stressed that to this end, they aim at integrating with the European

    Union (EU) and similar organizations.

    His visit proves the high-ranking good relations between the two countries,

    Mesic said, adding that he expects this visit to be very beneficial.

    Mesic invited Sezer to his country.

    Parliament Speaker Omer Izgi, State Minister Fikret Unlu, Foreign Minister

    Ismail Cem, Tourism Minister Erkan Mumcu, Foreign Ministry Deputy

    Undersecretary Yigit Aypogan also attended the ceremony.


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