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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 01-02-17

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

17 FEBRUARY

2001 Saturday

-TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on February 17, 2000. The Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

SEZER'S VETO COMES 28 DAYS AFTER ARCAN'S BURIAL

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer vetoed the burial of Zeynep Arcan, a citizen in the garden of Seyh Yahya Efendi Mosque in Istanbul. The cabinet had accepted the request of Arcan's family and sent the decree to the President. Meanwhile Arcan was buried in the garden of the mosque on Jan. 6. However President Ahmet Necdet Sezer vetoed her burial in this place. Now Arcan's burial in the mosque's garden has become legally debateful.

FISCHER TO COME TO TURKEY

Stanley Fisher, IMF vice president will come to Turkey for the G-20 meeting. After the meeting in Istanbul which will be held between 18-19 Feb., Fischer will proceed to Ankara next Tuesday and leave Turkey next Wednesday. Fischer is expected to discuss issues of privatization and banking in Turkey.

MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

ECEVIT SAYS IMF IS SOCIALY BLIND

Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who has been listening to the representatives of various sectors in Turkey about the disinflation programme, brings measures for those people who were negatively affected from the economic programme implemented in Turkey. Prime Minister Ecevit thinks that the people are right in their complaints and he stressed that ''the social aspect of IMF is blind, yet we will compensate that.''

MAFIA BOSSES TRANSFERRED TO F TYPE PRISON

Mafia bosses started to be transferred to F type prisons. Hadi Ozcan, a mafia boss has been the first who was sent to F type prison. The transfers will be to Tekirdag, Sincan, Kocaeli and Edirne F type prisons as they are safer than other prisons.

SABAH (LIBERAL)

IMF MEETING POSTPONED

The joint press briefing of IMF Turkey Desk Chief Carlo Cottarelli and Treasury Undersecretary Selcuk Demiralp in the Treasury yesterday was postponed to next Friday. IMF Vice President Stanley Fischer will come to Turkey on Sunday for the G-20 meeting in Istanbul and he will also have contacts in Ankara. The press briefing was probably adjourned due to his visit.

RUMOURS IN U.S.

According to some rumours coming from the U.S. Department of State, the visit of Foreign Minister Ismail Cem to Iran created uneasiness in the U.S. Sources claimed that U.S. State Secretary Colin Powell called Cem on the phone before the visit of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to Turkey and expressed sorrow over Cem's visit to Iran.

CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

U.S. BOMBS IRAQ

U.S. and British airplanes bombed the five control centers south of Baghdad last night. The White House announced that U.S. President Bush ordered the bombing on Thursday morning. A tv channel owned by Saddam Hussein's son, claimed that many people including children were wounded in the bombing. Ankara was uneasy about the operation which took place for the first time since 1998. It was stated that the United States which calls Turkey ''a strategic partner'' didn't inform Turkey before the bombing. The Incirlik U.S. base in Adana was not used during the operation. However, the soldiers at the base intensified their preparations due to the possibility of a new development.

YILMAZ:''TURKEY SHOULD MEET POLITICAL CRITERIA''

Deputy Prime Minister in charge of EU affairs Mesut Yilmaz has said that Turkey should not delay its National Programme too much and submit it after February 26. Yilmaz indicated that there was enough political will in the government to achieve this. Yilmaz said Turkey's meeting the EU's political criteria was important. Secretary General for the EU Volkan Vural said there were very constructive efforts to complete the National Programme and added that Turkey would submit it after the Feast of Sacrifice.

RADIKAL (LEFT)

TANTAN SENDS TWO INSPECTORS TO SILOPI

Interior Minister Saadettin Tantan sent two inspectors including one officer to Silopi in order to investigate the whereabouts of two missing local administrators of the People's Democracy Party (HADEP).

WHAT A TENDER!

Health Minister Osman Durmus asked for authority from the State Planning Organization (DPT) to purchase 18 helicopters for his ministry. DPT said that the number was high and gave temporary authority to Durmus telling him to purchase the helicopters ''in time.'' However Durmus acted as if he had the authority in going to a tender and the Russian firm Kamov won the tender!

TURKIYE (RIGHT)

OKUYAN:''PEOPLE WILL NO LONGER HAVE TO WAIT IN LINES AT SSK

HOSPITALS''

Labour and Social Security Minister Yasar Okuyan who recently started an telephone appointment system at Social Security Agency's (SSK) Adapazari Hospital, said within two years people will not be waiting in the lines at any SSK hospital. Drawing attention to quality of hospitals, Okuyan said ten SSK hospitals will get ISO 9000 Quality Licence before the end of 2001.

DANUBE TO BE CLEANED OFF POLLUTION

Presidents fo Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania have agreed to join efforts to clean Danube River. The summit meeting of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Romanian President Ion Iliescu and Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov ended in Plovdiv city of the Bulgaria yesterday. Following the meeting, the presidents announced in a joint statement that the Danube River was an important means of transportation for all three countries. Therefore they agreed to start a project as soon as possible to clean the Novi Sad region of the river.

The three presidents also announced that Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania would start an effective cooperation to fight against terrorism and organized crime.

ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

ERDEMIR BREAKS RECORD

Despite last year's economic crisis, Eregli Iron and Steel Factories (Erdemir) broke a record by exceeding their targets which they set up for the year 2000. Erdemir General Director Sener Macun said that Erdemir's profit last year was 124 million U.S. dollars. He said their efforts to increase export was a factor in their success. Erdemir's export last year reached 150 million U.S. dollars. He said they were targeting to become one of the ten iron and steel producers of Europe in the next five years.

-G-20 MEETINGS TO BEGIN IN ISTANBUL ON SUNDAY

ANKARA - G-20 meetings which will be attended by deputy finance ministers and deputy central bank chairmen will start in Istanbul on Sunday.

Seven industrialized and 11 developed countries will be represented at the meeting. World Bank and IMF authorities will also attend the meetings. Treasury Undersecretary Selcuk Demiralp and Central Bank Deputy Chairman Sukru Binay are expected to represent Turkey at the G-20 meetings which will be held at Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The participants are most likely to determine the program of the Finance Ministers meeting that will take place in November or December.

IMF Deputy Chairman Stanley Fischer will also be present at the meeting. Fischer will visit Ankara after attending the meeting in Istanbul. After meeting with government officials in the capital, Fischer will leave Turkey on Wednesday. During his contacts, he is expected to focus on especially banking and privatization matters.

Finance Minister Sumer Oral will host a dinner to the participants of the meeting on February 19, Monday.

After the global crisis in 1997 which affected many developed countries, certain mechanisms started to be formed in the world in order to predict such crisis before hand. The main reason for failing to predict the 1997 crisis was that countries did not have a transparent financial systems. Therefore underdeveloped and developed countries decided to start a closer cooperation.

As a part of these efforts, following the IMF-World Bank annual meetings, a formation called G-20 was set up on Sept. 26, 1999 with the participation of seven industrialized countries and 11 countries which are Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and South Korea. IMF, World Bank and EU also took part in this formation.

G-20 proposes closer information exchange on economic and financial issues among member countries and it aims to bring stability to global economy and maintain a sustainable growth trend in world economy.

-TERRORIST ORGANIZATION PKK SUPPORTS ARMENIAN CLAIMS

IN RETURN FOR 70 MILLION U.S. DOLLARS

ANKARA - The terrorist organization PKK supports Armenian claims of genocide in return for 70 million U.S. dollars, sources said on Saturday.

Armenian diaspora asked for help from Murat Karayılan, one of the top- members of the terrorist organization when he was in the Netherlands in 1999 for erection of a monument on so-called genocide on Armenians in Assen city.

The terrorist organization decided not only to extend support to the erection of the monument, but also to support all Armenian activities in Europe and to bring onto agenda the propagandas of Armenians related to the East Anatolia.

After that decision, five persons from Armenia went to the Netherlands and met with PKK terrorists headed by Karayılan there.

An agreement was reached in the meeting when Armenians promised to give 70 million U.S. dollars to the terrorist organization in return for the latter's supporting the claims of so-called genocide. The terrorist PKK organization started to support claims of genocide in all circumstances and it stayed quiet to the description of Eastern Anatolia as the ''West Armenia.'' The terrorist organization PKK in fact shows Eastern Anatolia as a part of ''Kurdistan'' map. Seventy million dollars is close to annual budget of the PKK.

-ECEVIT SAYS CHANGES IN CIVIL CODE WILL MAKE TURKEY

A MORE MODERN NATION

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has said that changes that the government is planning to make in the Civil Code would make Turkey a more modern nation.

Ecevit issued a message on Saturday, the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Civil Code.

Drawing attention to the role of civil codes in modern civilizations, Ecevit said ''the civil code of a society demonstrates the way how that society views an individual.''

The prime minister said the Civil Code which was accepted 75 years ago was important for bringing equality among citizens.

Ecevit also pointed out that the changes which the government is planning to make in the Civil Code would be another step for Turkey towards becoming a more modern nation.

-HISTORY OF ART STUDENTS DISCOVER MANY HISTORICAL OBJECTS

IN HAKKARI WHICH DON'T EXIST IN CULTURE MINISTRY'S RECORDS

VAN - Archeologic studies which were started by Yuzuncu Yil University's History of Art Department in Hakkari in 1998 unearthed many historical structures and objects which didn't exist in the Culture Ministry's records.

A number of students of History of Art and an employee of the Culture Ministry who have been digging for three years found many tombs, and ruins of churches, schools and stone houses in Hakkari.

Dr. Mehmet Top from the History of Art Department told the A.A that no serious archeological excavations took place in Hakkari in 1998, therefore their findings didn't exist in the Culture Ministry's records.

The tombstones found in the excavations are made of a particular type of stone which is abundant in the region and they have decorations carved on them, Top explained. He said some of the objects they found is currently being displayed at a museum and they covered the immovable ones with fences.

-FM CEM SAYS DEATH OF CIVILIANS IN U.S. BOMBING IN IRAQ IS

SADDENING

ISTANBUL - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem has said that Friday night's bombing of Iraq was a ''serious incident'' and added that he was saddened by the death of civilians.

''The U.S. military bases have been used in the operation,'' Cem asserted. ''We're in contact with the U.S. administration. We're hoping that such incidents would not repeat. The meeting between the UN Secretary General and the Iraqi government which will take place in the days to come is important. This last incident is demonstrating the need for a fair approach in UN decisions. We're closely monitoring the incidents and also assessing the military operation from the view of Turkey's security,''Cem said.

Cem refused to answer other questions of reporters and added that the Foreign Ministry would soon make an official statement.

-SEZER SAYS TURKISH CIVIL CODE NEEDS TO BE REVISED

ANKARA - President Ahmet Necdet Sezer has said that the Turkish Civil Code should be revised by taking into consideration the political, social and cultural transformation Turkey went through in the last 75 years.

Through the changes that would be made in the Civil Code, universal principles such as equality in the society would be dominant in all fields of life, Sezer said in a message he released on Saturday, the 75th anniversary of the Civil Code's acceptance in Turkey.

Drawing attention to the importance of the Civil Code among Ataturk's reforms, Sezer said the Civil Code marked the change from an autoritarian ruling which limited people's basic rights and freedoms to a democratic system.

''The Civil Code reorganized all legal affairs among people without considering their race, gender, language and religion and it became the beginning of a secular law system in Turkey,'' he continued.

The Civil Code also speeded up the Turkish women's participation in social life by changing the traditional structures, Sezer pointed out.

''Turkey must make new arrangements in its Civil Code by considering the social, political and cultural changes experienced in the last 75 years,'' he said. ''We believe that certain social and cultural obstacles that block Turkish women's active participation in the society will be removed.''

-FOREIGNERS WITNESS KILLINGS OF TURKS BY ARMENIANS

IN 19TH AND 20TH CENTURIES

ISTANBUL - The massacres committed by Armenians in Eastern Anatolia at the end of 19th century and in the beginning of 20th century were witnessed by foreigners who worked in the region at those times.

According to the information received from Directorate General of Ottoman Archives, a report was prepared upon the instruction of Sultan Vahidettin in order to investigate the claims related to Armenians and Greeks.

This report dated 1921, which includes memories and reports of foreign diplomats and military officials about the massacre of muslim people committed by Armenians, will be published soon by the Directorate as a book.

Twerdo Khlebof, a Russian commander noted in his memories that Armenians committed massacres on Turks in eastern Erzurum province.

''I saw a group of Armenians' torturing two old Turkish men who were 70 years old, they had an iron whip in their hand. I saved the poor old persons them from them,'' he noted.

''Armenians also decided to form a court martial composed of them and Turks in order to punish those Armenians who oppress Turks. However this was another game of Armenians and those who joined the court started to disappear. I heard about the massacres committed by Armenians in Erzincan province from the Armenian commander Oudicheelidze himself. This massacre was administered by Armenian doctor and the army's contractor. More than 800 unarmed Turks were killed there. Dead bodies were thrown to big holes that were dug in the ground. The poor Turks were killed like animals. Commander Oudichelidze told me that the people in Ilıca district of Erzurum were all killed by Armenians and he saw the dead bodies of children killed by axes. Armenians killed 3,000 Turks at one night at a later date,'' the Russian commander said.

The report also covers the memories of Mr. Williams, the British Consul in Van. Mr. Williams said in his report dated 15 May 1896 that ''Armenian rebels attacked muslims twice in eight days. Three persons were killed in the first killing and their dead bodies were cut into pieces. Turks are the best of the muslim communities living in Anatolia and they don't deserve the slanders written by Russian and European newspapers.''

The report also covers the ideas of Russian Consul General and Commander Mayewski who worked in Van and Erzurum provinces for six years. He said that ''it is not correct to believe in claims saying that Armenians living in Eastern Anatolia were disturbed by local people, because it were true, there would be no Armenians there. In fact it was Armenians who lived in prosperity there when compared to other communities in the region. Armenian clergmen and schools didn't do anything other than suggesting the people to found their states.''

-BAHCELI SAYS HIS VISIT TO TURKMENISTAN WILL HELP TO

FURTHER ADVANCE RELATIONS WITH TURKMENISTAN

ANKARA - Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli went to Turkmenistan on Saturday to have official contacts with government officials.

Prior to his departure, Bahceli told reporters at Ankara's Esenboga Airport that he would focus on development of relations between Turkey and Turkmenistan and exchange views on regional and international matters that concern both countries during his contacts.

''Turkey attributes great importance to its relations with Turkmenistan since Turkmenistan gained independence,'' Bahceli said.

''We're working hard to advance our relations with this country. I believe that my visit to Turkmenistan will contribute to this purpose.''

Bahceli will be accompanied by State Minister Abdulhaluk Cay, Health Minister Osman Durmus, Industry and Trade Minister Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu and a number of representatives from the political parties.

-2,947 SANLIURFA RESIDENTS WILL BE WITH THEIR RELATIVES IN

SYRIA TWO DAYS DURING FEAST OF SACRIFICE

SANLIURFA - Head official of Sanliurfa's Ceylanpinar township, Ahmet Umit said on Saturday that the deadline for applications to spend Feast of Sacrifice holiday in Syria had ended.

Sanliurfa residents who applied with full documents proving that they had relatives in Al Hasakah city of Syria will stay with their relatives for 48 hours during the Feast of Sacrifice.

Umit said a total of 2,947 people applied with full documents and they will be allowed to spend the second and third day of the holiday with their relatives in Syria.

-FOREIGN MINISTRY EXPRESSES SORROW OVER CIVILIAN LOSSES IN IRAQ

ANKARA - Foreign Ministry expressed sorrow on Saturday over civilian losses during bombing of some targets in Baghdad, Iran on Friday.

A Foreign Ministry statement said that the U.S. and British aircraft's attacking some targets yesterday near Baghdad was a serious development.

Noting that the bombing took place in the no-fly zone which is in south of Iraq, Foreign Ministry said that allied planes in Incirlik air base were not used during the operation.

The statement indicated that the Turkish Embassy personnel in Baghdad are fine and they continue their work, adding that ''our contacts with the U.S. administration continue related to the operation and developments.''

''This development has shown once again the importance and priority of the Iraqi problem's solution as soon as possible upon the basis of U.N. Security Council's resolutions. We expect launching of necessary efforts for the meeting expected to be held between the U.N Secretary General and the Iraqi administration in the coming days, to yield positive results,'' it was noted.

-SUN EXPRESS STARTS CHARTER FLIGHTS TO TURKEY

ANTALYA - Sun Express which is a partnership of Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa has started charter flights from the Netherlands to Turkey to increase the number of Dutch tourists visiting Turkey.

A group of 50 people from travel agencies and tour operators and a number of reporters from Netherlands came to Antalya on the first flight on Saturday.

Sun Express will also include Bodrum to its flights end of June. Time Travel travel agency's owner Omer Dasguney said they were planning to bring 13,000 tourists to Turkey by Sun Express' charter flights.

Amsterdam-Antalya flights will take place on Fridays until April 5. Between April 5 and 28, the flight will be on Thursdays and after this date they will be on Saturdays.

-PREMIER ECEVIT SAYS HE WATCHED U.S. AND BRITISH

AIRCRAFT'S MILITARY OPERATION IN IRAQ CAREFULLY AND WITH CONCERN

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Saturday that he watched the military operation of the U.S. and British aircraft on Iraq last night carefully and with concern.

''It will be useful for the new American administration to re-evaluate the Iraqi problem with Turkey at the first opportunity,'' said Ecevit.

Speaking to reporters, Ecevit said that feeling the necessity to carry out such an operation directed at Iraq and civilian losses is saddening.

Ecevit said that aircraft and bases in Gulf region seem to have been used in the operation. ''No demand or contribution from Incirlik base or Turkey generally have come true related to the operation. Yesterday's operation shows that peace and stability couldn't have been installed in Iraq although ten years passed since the Gulf War. Naturally this situation closely concerns and affects Turkey, which is a neighbour of Iraq. In this respect it will be useful for the new American administration to re- evaluate the Iraqi problem with Turkey at first opportunity,'' said Ecevit.

When a journalist told Ecevit about the U.S. press' showing Turkey's not abiding by the embargo on Iraq as an excuse for Turkey's not being informed about the operation, Ecevit said that ''the U.S. and Britain have not informed any country about Friday's operation in Iraq. It is very wrong to look for special reasons for that.''

Noting that some countries can carry out such activities from time to time without informing anybody when they feel this need, Ecevit said that Turkey didn't inform any country including the U.S. when it staged the 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation.

''But there are very special relations between Turkey and U.S. in respect of Iraq. For that reason the U.S. had to inform Turkey about this issue. We conveyed our reproach about this issue to the U.S. administration,'' said Ecevit.

When journalists asked him if the humanitarian aid to Iraq would continue, Ecevit stressed that the problems in Iraq closely concern Turkey.

''We do our best to find a solution to the problems of people in Iraq particularly those of children within the scope of U.N. resolutions. This is an humanitarian mission. But as I told you, while doing this mission we also do abide by the U.N. resolutions,'' Ecevit said.

Upon a question, Ecevit said that ''Incirlik base can't be used without our approval. The rules about our approval have been determined clearly.''

Noting that the Iraqi side didn't convey a special information related to the operation to Turkey up to now, Ecevit said that he didn't discuss the issue with the U.S. President George Bush.

''This morning Foreign Minister Mr. Cem talked with Mr. Pearson, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey. Cem conveyed our thoughts and concerns. Certainly we will contact with the U.S. administration. I stated this today. It will be useful for the new American administration to re-evaluate the Iraqi problem with Turkey at the first opportunity, this is our message to the U.S.,'' Ecevit said.

When a journalist told him that ''as far as we understood from your statement, you learnt about the operation from tv,'' Ecevit said ''yes, the whole world did so.''

Upon another question about U.S. State Department's criticizing Foreign Minister Cem's visit to Iran, Ecevit said that he was not informed about it. Noting that Iran is a neighbour of Turkey, Ecevit said that ''there have been some problems between us, there still may be. But the whole region has interest in our improving relations as two neighbouring states.''

-ECEVIT SAYS GOVERNMENT IS CONSIDERING SOCIAL NEEDS

WHILE WORKING TO BRING DOWN INFLATION

ANKARA - Regarding President Ahmet Necdet Sezer's directive to inspect public banks and Banking Inspection and Supervision Agency (BDDK), Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said Sezer's directives aim to ''inspect inspection institutions.''

''We don't yet know why President Sezer found it necessary to give a directive to the State Inspection Council to inspect BDDK and public banks. He might soon make a statement clarifying this issue. The BDDK has a very wide authority on banking. This is the inspection of an inspection institution and it is unprecedented,'' Ecevit explained.

Responding to a question regarding the restoring of poet Nazim Hikmet's Turkish citizenship, Ecevit said he hoped the bill would be approved.

Ecevit indicated that meetings between the government and the representatives of the business world and workers are still continuing and added that these contacts would definitely yield solid results.

When asked what type of social meaures the government is planning to take against the risks that might result from IMF's practices in Turkey, Ecevit said it was the government's duty to show attention to social needs while trying to bring down the inflation. ''Recently, we created jobs for 47,000 workers. We are also offering easy tax payment methods,'' he pointed out.

''We're also looking for financial sources. If we could achive this, we'll do our best to help the working class,'' Ecevit added.

-CEM RECEIVES U.S. AMBASSADOR PEARSON

AND MINSK GROUP CAUCASUS CO-CHAIRMAN

ISTANBUL - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem received seperately the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Robert Pearson and U.S. Minsk Group Caucasus Co- Chairman Cary Cavenaugh on Saturday.

After speaking in a conference held in The Marmara Hotel of Istanbul, Cem received Pearson. Cem got detailed information from Pearson about the U.S. operation launched in Iraq yesterday.

Cem later received Cary Cavenaugh, the U.S. Minsk Group Caucasus Co- Chairman and got information from him about the activities of the Minsk Group in the Caucasus.

The meetings were close to press.

-CEM:''TURKEY IS A FACTOR OF STABILITY, PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT

FOR SOUTH CAUCASIA''

ISTANBUL - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem has said that Turkey was a factor contributing to stability, peace and development in South Caucasia.

Cem spoke at a meeting titled ''Search for Stability in Caucasia'' organized by Turkey Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) at Istanbul's the Marmara Hotel on Saturday.

Throughout the history, Turks interbred with Caucasian people and there is a significant number of people of Caucasian origin in today's Turkey, Cem pointed out.

''Turkey constitutes a factor of stability, peace and development for the neigboring South Caucasia,'' he continued. ''Caucasia is becoming a leading region in energy sector. It is also an important corridor to transport oil and natural gas to other places of the world. Caucasia will become as important as Asia and Eurasia in the 21st century.''

Cem said Turkey would understand Caucasia's producing energy and selling it to world markets. ''But we must have a priority. The Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline would not only help the Caucasian economy but it will also assist it to integrate with the world.''

Therefore, Cem said Turkey supported Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from the first day and will continue to do so. Other pipelines which will be used in the transportation of natural gas and oil are important and it will speed up the development of all sectors in South Caucasia, he pointed out.

Cem said Azerbaijan was a key country with regards to the economic development of the region, adding that Turkey would continue its support to this country.

Speaking about security in Caucasia, Cem said ''maintaning security is essential for the economy's development.'' ''We believe that cooperation among South Caucasian countries, Russia, Iran and Turkey could contribute to this result. But we don't find this sufficient. Caucasia should also work together with the European Union and the United States for its future. Turkey is also helping Caucasia in its contacts with the EU and the United States.''

Cem also pointed out that there were undergoing efforts to realize the Caucasian Stability Pact which was proposed by the former president Suleyman Demirel two years ago. ''If a Caucasian Stability Pact is formed, certain problems which I mentioned would be solved more easily and the region's economy would develop quickly,'' he commented.

-FM CEM SAYS CONFLICT BETWEEN ARMENIA AND AZERBAIJAN

DAMAGES SECURITY OF WHOLE REGION

ISTANBUL - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Saturday that the serious conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan damages the security of the whole region.

''I think that the gathering of officials of two countries with Turkey in a meeting can contribute seriously to the search for a solution,'' Cem said in the conference on ''Search for Stability in the Caucasus.''

Cem said that Georgia is another important country in the Caucasus due to political, economic issues, energy production and its transportation to the world.

''We extend full support to the economy and politics of Georgia, Georgia is a very important country in the Caucasus in political respect. Georgia can be a foundation stone for the stability of the Caucasus by getting more powerful. We have defended and we continue to defend the rights of this country in NATO regarding its economic and political difficulties. We think that Turkish-Georgian relations, just like Turkish-Azerbaijani relations are guarantee of the improvement of peace, development, stability and security in the Caucasus,'' said Cem.

Cem said that Turkey has always concerned about the problems in the Caucasus, adding that they see that the contacts carried out between Armenia and Azerbaijan are reaching a certain maturity level.

If the sides want to come together with Turkey, the search for a solution will gain a new momentum by the contribution of Turkey, said Cem. Such an approach will have positive effect on the solution of all problems in the Caucasus, he stressed.

Cem said that there are great opportunities for the Caucasusian peoples in the beginning of the 21st century.

Noting that the Caucasus provides great economic, political and strategic opportunies, Cem said that the two important aims of Turkey in the beginning of 21st century is to become a full member of EU and be a determining country in Eurasia.

Cem said that Caucasus has to use its sources and oppurtunities, adding that Caucasus needs peace, stability and security for that. Cem indicated that the Caucasus Stability Pact has been submitted to the concerned countries as a proposal. Turkey will continue to bring peace and stability to the region, he added.


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