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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 01-02-27
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From: The Anadolu Agency Home Page at <http://www.anadoluajansi.com.tr/>Anadolu Agency
These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on February 27, 2000. The Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
HURRIYET (LIBERAL)''HOW WAS YOUR VISIT TO EGYPT, MR. PRESIDENT?''
Tension has eased between President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit at yesterday's meeting of the National Security Council (NSC). President Sezer and Prime Minister Ecevit have made peace prior to the NSC meeting. President Sezer, Prime Minister Ecevit, General Staff Chief General Huseyin Kivrikoglu and Deputy Prime Ministers Devlet Bahceli, Mesut Yilmaz and Husamettin Ozkan came together. Prime Minister Ecevit asked President Sezer about his visit to Egypt. In return, President Sezer asked Prime Minister Ecevit about his visit to Macedonia.
TURKISH NASA TO BE FOUNDED
At the meeting of the National Security Council (NSC), it was decided to found Turkish Space Institution (TUK). Civilian and military officials will visit the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NSA) in the U.S.
DEMIRALP BECOMES SECOND VICTIM OF CRISIS
Treasury Undersecretary Selcuk Demiralp decided to retire from his work. Demiralp will be on leave till March 2 and will retire after this date. Ferhat Emil, the Deputy Undersecretary of Treasury, will act as the Treasury Undersecretary.
GOOD START ON MONDAY
Peace between President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has reflected to the markets quickly. The Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) National-100 Index closed at 8,880.33. The lira rose against the dollar, trading at 800-900 thousand lira to the dollar, compared to around 1,079, 000 Turkish lira at Friday's close.
MILLIYET (LIBERAL)FIRST FILM IN KURDISH LANGUAGE
The Culture Ministry Inspection Board approved the film named ''Time of Drunken Horses''. The film shot in Kurdish language will be shown as of Friday.
TURKISH VESSEL COLLIDES WITH A FRENCH VESSEL
A French fishing boat with two people aboard sunk after colliding with a Turkish cargo ship off France's northwest coast. The Marmara Princess, a 162-meter cargo boat was carrying a shipment of used cars back to Turkey when it collided with the Beau Rivage fishing boat. After the Turkish ship put out distress signals, fishing boats and official patrol boats rushed to the scene. Two airplanes were flying overhead, and a helicopter with two divers aboard was also ready to join the rescue effort for two crew of the Beau Rivage.
SABAH (LIBERAL)PROMINENT JOURNALIST SAFIRE CRITICIZES U.S. PRESIDENT BUSH
Prominent journalist William Safire criticized U.S. President George W. Bush in his commentary in the New York Times. Safire said, ''George W. Bush's foreign policy so far has missed one opportunity: Failing to respond dramatically to a friend in trouble. Turkey is a secular, Muslim, NATO ally. Its Incirlik base makes possible our patrol of a no-fly zone in Iraq, which protects Iraqi Kurds from genocide. But political strife has led to a financial crisis and investors are fleeing. Colin Powell in full panoply is in the neighborhood. Couldn't he extend his trip by one well-photographed day to assure Ankara of our confidence, which would do much more for Turkish stability than Bush's phone call? Is he so frozen into a schedule that he cannot seize the moment?''
ASLITURK CASE ADJOURNED TO MARCH 21
The trial of former Sisli mayor Gulay Asliturk was adjourned to March 21. Asliturk is under trial in London on six separate accusations against her and her extradition to Turkey. Judge Geoffrey Wicks, who earlier said he would disclose his decision at the end of the four-day intense sessions in February 26 and March 1, said he had sufficient information and documents regarded with the case, noting the other three sections would not take place. Wicks said he would disclose his decision on March 21, adding that he lifted the obligation for Asliturk to go to regional police station two days a week to give her signature.
CUMHURIYET (LEFT)CRISIS HAS HIGH COST FOR TURKEY
The demand for foreign currency is not decreasing and loan interests have increased causing people wait in anxiety. Credit card users have also suffered from the crisis. Many banks increased interest rates for credit cards 1-7 percent. Bank payments are not done in time and people are reluctant to write cheques because of the current incertainty. After the price increase in cigarettes and alcoholic drinks, it was reported that fuel prices will rise after the Feast of Sacrifice. Some clothing stores and also those which sell large household appliances have started sales campaigns to survive the recession. House rentals and sales which were done in foreign currency created troubles between the landlords and tenants. Cancellation of hotel reservations also mounted the anxiety and tension.
WARNING:''THERE ARE ACTIVE FAULT LINES AROUND ANKARA''
Prof. Suleyman Pampal and Beril Kozlu from Gazi University pointed to the active fault lines around Ankara and said that the city might suffer damage in an earthquake measuring over 6.5 by Richter scale. In an article co- written by Pampal and Kozlu, it was stated that Ankara was surrounded by fault lines which were 80-100 kilometer away from the city which could cause deaths and material damage if activated.
RADIKAL (LEFT)DEMIRALP SAYS GOODBYE
Treasury Undersecretary Selcuk Demiralp took off until March 2. Demiralp will retire after the talks with the IMF are finalized. Demiralp's resignation came after that of Central Bank Chairman Gazi Ercel. Deputy Undersecretary Ferhat Emil will fill in for Demiralp.
ADJUSTMENT TO EU IN KURDISH LANGUAGE
The National Security Council yesterday approved the National Program which proposes education and broadcast in mother tongue and abolishment of death penalty in Turkey. If the program is accepted by the Cabinet, the capital punishment will be lifted and it will be possible to broadcast in Kurdish language in 2005.
TURKIYE (RIGHT)IZGI: ''TRNC IS A SEPARATE STATE''
Parliament Speaker Oker Izgi received a parliamentary delegation headed by Parliament Speaker Ertugrul Hasipoglu of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Speaking at the meeting, Izgi stressed, ''TRNC is a separate state. Settlement of peace on the island can only be possible with the confederation.''
AZERBAIJAN SHED TEARS FOR VICTIMS OF MASSACRE IN HOCALI
Azerbaijani people burst into tears at the 9th anniversary of massacre committed by Armenians in Hocali town on February 26, 1992. Armenians killed 613 people including many children in Hocali. Azerbaijani people want Armenia to account for its atrocities in Hocali.
IMF AND WORLD BANK DELEGATIONS COME TO TURKEY
Banking delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank came to Turkey on Sunday. The delegation headed by Lalit Raina, the Chairperson of World Bank's Financial Sector Group, held contacts at the Treasury, the Central Bank and the Banking Regulatory and Supervisory Authority (BRSA).
ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)TRADESMEN WAITING
There is a stone silence in the markets before the religious holiday. Small tradesmen are cautiously waiting for end of uncertainty in foreign exchange to sell goods. One kilogram of sugar which was sold for 450 thousand Turkish lira (TL) before the crisis is now sold for 600 thousand TL. Price of a box of foreign cigarettes which are imported with foreign exchange increased from 1 million TL to 1.4 million TL. Gas stations which sell oil and products by accepting credit cards gave up this service. Durable goods sector stopped selling goods in installments. Trade in food sector decreased to minimum. Wholesalers did not give goods to tradesmen.
After Central Bank Governor Gazi Ercel, Treasury Undersecretary Selcuk Demiralp joined the resignation process which started in the bureaucracy when the government did not undertake responsibility for the crisis.
MARKET SLOWS DOWN
Selling price of U.S. dollar decreased to 930 thousand TL and of German mark reduced to 445 thousand TL. Overnight interests average rate dropped to 102.51 percent and repo interests average rate fell to 139 percent. The National-100 index at the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) ended at 8,880 points.
THEY FINISH MEETING SAFE AND SOUND
The National Security Council (NSC) meeting which was interrupted due to a row between President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Deputy Prime Minister Husamettin Ozkan last week was concluded yesterday without any tension. Following the meeting, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said thay had held a very beneficial and productive meeting.
FRAME REGULATIONS APPROVED
European Union (EU) General Affairs Council officially approved the report on assistance to Turkey in the framework of the pre-accession strategy. The approval of the report which constitutes the legal basis of Turkey's Accession Partnership Document, will be valid following the publication of it in the EU's official gazette. On March 8, the EU Environment Council is expected to approve the Accession Partnership Document and this approval is expected to be published in the official gazette a few days later. Turkey is expected to submit its its national programme to Brussels in March.
TERIM LEAVES FIORENTINA
Fatih Terim which couldn't reach an agreement with the Italian Serie A soccer club Fiorentina for the next season, announced yesterday that he resigned after the club management's reaction to the team's losing points.
The economic crisis in November of 2000 and the latest one hit also the Aydin Dogan Group after the Dinc Bilgin Group. Dogan Group which cancelled publishing all local editions sacked all personnel in local offices. Nearly one thousand journalists will be laid off from the Dogan Group which decided to decrease the number of personnel by 20 percent in each department.
 DHKD BECOMES WWF'S NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONISTANBUL- A protocol was signed which changed the Association to Protect Wild Life (DHKD) to the national organization of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for Nature at a ceremony which was attended by Foreign Minister Nami Cagan at Istanbul's Ciragan Palace on Monday. The foundation's name became WWF- Turkey.
''Cooperation with non-governmental organizations is very important to us, '' Cagan said at the ceremony. ''DHKD has been an essential partner to us, '' he pointed out, adding that the association achieved to overcome the thoughest problems to preserve Turkey's biological variety.
''I'd like to state that WWF-Turkey's views and suggestions will be of great important to us. Our cooperation will continue with WWF-Turkey to preserve Turkey's forests as a part of the association's ''Living Planet'' project.
DHKD Chairman Okan Tapan pointed to the several problems of the aging world with over six billion population. He said environmental problems should be the concern of everyone.
WWF International General Director Claude Martin said he was happy to see Turkey in the WWF family. ''I believe that Turkey will have valuable contributions to international protection of wildlife programs. WWF's international information, experience and support will stregthen the projects carried out in Turkey.''
 EXCHANGE RATES IN COVERED BAZAAR IN ISTANBULISTANBUL - One U.S. dollar was sold at 910 thousand Turkish liras (TL) among the citizens in the Covered Bazaar in Istanbul on Tuesday morning.
One German mark was sold at 430 thousand TL.
-TOWARDS NEW MARKETS IN TOURISM
First convoy of Iranian tourists is expected to come to southern province of Antalya in March.
Responding to questions of A.A correspondent, Rauf Canak, the Chairman of United Travel Agencies' Association (TUBISAD), said on Tuesday that their efforts to diversify tourism activities, and to search for alternative markets, had begun to yield results.
Noting that a tourism bridge had been set up between Antalya and Iran, Canak said, ''a few charter flights from Antalya to Iran were held three years ago. We expect nearly 2 thousand Iranian tourists to come to Antalya this year. First convoy of Iranian tourists will come to Antalya by highway. Number of Iranian tourists coming to Turkey will increase in coming years.''
Canak added that they would expend efforts to enrich alternative tourism opportunities with sports activities like ''soccer tourism''.
 GARANTI BANK'S GENERAL DIRECTOR OZEN SAYS MARKETS WILLNORMALIZE AFTER FEAST OF SACRIFICE
ISTANBUL- Garanti Bank's General Director Ergun Ozen said the markets will normalize after the Feast of Sacrifice.
Ozen told reporters that the interest and foreign currency exchange rates should become stable before the crisis fully ends.
He pointed out that the only positive factor was that Turkey had a high cash reserve when it was hit by the economic crisis. ''During the previous crisis in the history of the Turkish Republic, the Central Bank's reserve was very low. But today the Central Bank is at the negotiation table with the IMF with a cash reserve of 25 billion U.S. dollars,'' he remarked.
Responding a question on inflation, he said although the government failed to reach the targetted inflation rate, one should appreciate the fall of inflation from 60 percent in 1999 to 28 percent by the end of January, 2001. He added that the IMF program has to be restructured following the crisis.
He said economists were expecting a shrinking in economy this year. ''First, a shrinking and then a growth will take place as a part of the disinflation program. Later, the inflation might fall to 4-5 percent in 2002.''
-FOREIGN TRADE STATISTICS (1)
In 1999, the total exports were 26 billion 587.2 million U.S. dollars, the total imports were 40 billion 686.7 million U.S. dollars and the foreign trade deficit was 14 billion 99.5 million U.S. dollars.
The DIE said that the foreign trade deficit increased 89.1 percent to 26 billion 658.5 million U.S. dollars, and the rate of exports meeting imports decreased from 65.3 percent to 50.6 percent.
In December of 2000, Turkey exported 2 billion 274.2 million U.S. dollars goods and imported 4 billion 292.2 million U.S. dollars products.
In the same period of 1999, Turkey exported 2 billion 231.3 million U.S. dollars goods and imported 4 billion 434.2 million U.S. dollars products.
The exports increased by 1.9 percent in December of 2000 compared to the figures of same period of 1999 while the imports decreased 3.2 percent.
The foreign trade deficit which had been 2 billion 292.8 million U.S. dollars in December of 1999, decreased by 8.4 percent to 2 billion 18.1 million U.S. dollars in the same period of 2000.
The rate of exports meeting imports increased from 50.3 percent to 53 percent in December of 2000.
The realizations in foreign trade figures in the last two years according to the DIE data are as follows: (million U.S. dollars)
. 1999 2000 Difference
. Jan.-Dec. Jan.-Dec. (percent)
. ----------- --------- ---------
Imports 40,686.7 53,982.9 32.7
Deficit - 14,099.5 - 26,658.5 89.1
Rate of Meeting (%) 65.3 50.6
-THY TO START ADDITIONAL FLIGHTS ON ISTANBUL-NEW YORK LINE
The additional flights will take place on Wednesdays between June 20 and September 12. The planes will leave Istanbul's Ataturk Airport at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and land at New York's JFK Airport.
The THY planes will leave JFK on the same day and arrive Istanbul at 7.25 on Thursdays.
Airbus-340 type planes will be used in additional flights.
Currently, THY has daily flights between Istanbul and New York. The airline's Istanbul-Chicago and Istanbul-Miami flights are also continuing.
-NUMBER OF FOREIGN VISITORS INCREASES BY 7.6 PERCENT
In the same period of 2000, 333,915 foreign visitors came to Turkey.
The State Institute of Statistics (DIE) said on Tuesday that 235,856 of foreign visitors preferred airway while 11,978 of them preferred seaway.
The match will start at 09:30 p.m. Turkish local time and the National Team will leave for Netherlands at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday.
Turkey and Netherlands have played six games so far:
Date Place Organization Result
------------ --------- ------------ -----
May 10, 1959 Istanbul Friendly (Turkey-Holland) 0 - 0
Dec 16, 1992 Istanbul World Cup Group qualifier (Turkey-Holland) 1 - 3
Feb 24, 1993 Utrecht World Cup Group qualifier (Holland-Turkey) 3 - 1
Apr 2, 1997 Bursa World Cup Group qualifier (Turkey-Holland) 1 - 0
Oct 11, 1997 Amsterdam World Cup Group qualifier (Holland-Turkey) 0 - 0
 OVERNIGHT REPO INTEREST RATES AROUND 122.47 PERCENTISTANBUL - The overnight repo interest rates were around 122.47 percent in the Bonds and Bills Market of the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB).
In accordance with the figures of IMKB Bonds and Bills Market, the lowest repo interest rate was 118 percent and the highest was 130 percent.
The interest rates at the Turkish lira (TL) interbank is fluctuating between 100 and 105 percent.
-FINANCE MINISTER ORAL: ''WE HAVE FULL CONTROL OVER THE ISSUE''
''Nobody should panic and fall into despair,'' he said.
Following his meeting with Omani National Economy and Finance Ministry Secretary General Mohammad Bin Nasir Al-Khusaibi, Oral said that revisions had been made in money and currency policies, but this did not mean that the economy had collapsed.
Stressing that Turkey would overcome those problems, the Finance Minister added that harmonization revisions could be made also in the 2001 year budget following the technical works on macro economy.
-WORLD BANK TURKEY CHAIRMAN DRAWS ATTENTION
Highways Traffic Safety Seminar which is organized by the World Bank and other relevant institutions started in Ankara on Tuesday.
Treasury Undersecretary Foreign Economic Relations General Director Ersen Eken who spoke at the seminar said poor highway infrastructure was one of the causes of traffic accidents, adding that the share assigned from funds and budget for highways increased gradually in the last 15 years.
Chhibber said that he travelled many places in Turkey in the last three years. Pointing out that around 7,000 people die in traffic accidents in Turkey in one year, Chhibber said and added that the damage that occur in these accidents constitute 1,5 percent of the National Gross Product.
Chhibber also said that traffic accidents are brought up to public attention only during holidays when the traffic load increases on highways, and the matter is usually neglected at other times of the year.
Although a small project, he said the World Bank attributes great importance to Highway Safety project. ''A little effort might have an important effect in people's lives,'' he concluded.
-FOREIGN TRADE STATISTICS (2)
According to the State Institute of Statistics (DIE) data, exports of manufacturing industry goods which had been 23 billion 754.7 million U.S. dollars in 1999, increased by 4.9 percent to 24 billion 909.5 million U.S. dollars in 2000.
Exports of fishery products by decreased 36.3 percent from 37 million 895 thousand U.S. dollars to 24 million 148 thousand U.S. dollars in 2000.
Exports of agricultural and forestry products decreased 18.3 percent while exports of mining and quarry products increased 3.1 percent.
Meanwhile, imports of consumer goods which had been 5 billion 62.4 million U.S. dollars in 1999, increased by 42.6 percent to 7 billion 220.9 million U.S. dollars in 2000.
Imports of capital goods increased by 28.9 percent from 8 billion 728.9 million U.S. dollars to 11 billion 249.2 million U.S. dollars in 2000.
Imports of intermediate goods rose by 33 percent from 26 billion 568.1 million U.S. dollars to 35 billion 327.3 million U.S. dollars.
Turkey's exports to the European Union (EU) countries increased 3.2 percent to 5 billion 533.7 million U.S. dollars in the first five months of 1999. Turkey's exports to the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) countries climbed 13.1 percent to 143.4 million U.S. dollars.
Turkey's exports to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries increased by 3.8 percent to 18 billion 741.3 million U.S. dollars in 2000.
Exports to the European Union (EU) countries increased 0.02 percent while exports to the European and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries rose 4.9 percent and exports to Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) countries increased 7 percent.
Turkey's exports to Turkish Republics decreased 1.5 percent; exports to Economic Cooperation Organization countries fell 1.2 percent; and exports to the Organization for Islamic Conference (OIC) countries dropped 11.7 percent.
In 2000, Turkey's imports from the EU member countries increased 23.2 percent.
Imports from the Turkish Republics increased 36.8; her imports from the BSEC countries rose 54.4 percent; and imports from the OIC countries climbed 54.6 percent.
-WORLD BANK TURKEY REPRESENTATIVE CHHIBBER:
He said that a World Bank team was working on the banking sector in Turkey. ''We're having meetings with Treasury officials on agriculture. We're also working with IMF authorities on the Turkish economy's macro environment,'' he said.
Chhibber said he was discussing with Turkish officials about the changing market conditions and the economic program's targets. He said crises sometimes lead to opportunities. ''We're working to use these opportunities to develop the real sector and export in Turkey,'' he remarked.
When asked what he thought about the banking sector, Chhibber said it was too early to comment on that.
-FOREIGN MINISTER CEM MEETS WITH U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE POWELL
Addressing journalists following the meeting which lasted for about half an hour, Cem said that he had thanked the U.S. administration for its serious contribution to Turkey in current economic crisis.
Noting that they had discussed Turkey's geographical position and joint regional benefits at the meeting, Cem said, ''I referred to the issue of Iraq. I told him that a new approach was needed because former approaches did not yield positive results. Turkey attributes great importance to the issue of Iraq. I attracted attention of the U.S. administration to the economic burden of the embargo imposed on Iraq, to Turkey. I also expressed Turkey's uneasiness about the latest air operation in Iraq launched by the U.S. and Britain without giving information to other allies.''
Noting that the issue of Cyprus was taken up in detail at the meeting, Cem said, ''international approach to the Cyprus problem is not adequate. Therefore, it is not successful.''
Pointing out that the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI) was brought onto agenda of the meeting, Cem said, ''there is a serious difference of opinion between Turkey and the European Union (EU) on this issue. Like the U.S., Turkey wants this solution to be solved.''
Noting that U.S. Secretary of State Powell had invited him to the U.S., Cem told reporters that he would pay a visit to the U.S. in the second half of March.
Cem will represent Turkey at the North Atlantic Council's unscheduled meeting which will bring together the foreign ministers of the NATO member countries.
The meeting was foreseen to take place to meet with Colin Powell, the Secretary of State of the new administration in the U.S. and to exchange views.
Cem is scheduled to meet with Guenter Verhaugen, the EU Commissioner for enlargement later in the day.
He is expected to hold several other bilateral contacts.
-FINANCE MINISTER ORAL SAYS ECONOMIC PROGRAMME
Speaking to reporters, Oral said that Turkey has started to implement a programme in the beginning of 2000 and they face now a change in monetary and exchange rate policy of this programme.
Oral said that very important developments have taken place in other parts of the economic programme, adding that a good success has been achieved particularly in public finance.
Oral said that promising results more than expected have been taken regarding the budget of 2000, adding that there won't be a devitation in the basic goal of the economic programme.
Noting that the basic goal of the programme is to reduce the inflation to single digit and to improve the public finance, Oral said that Turkey can't have a production power based on competition without reducing its inflation.
''Fight with inflation is not a goal that will be given up,'' said Finance Minister Oral, adding that their goal is now to normalize the balances in financial markets.
''Turkey will overcome the economic difficulties, everything will return to its right track not in a long time,'' said Oral.
Oral said that there is no need for people to get worried about anything, adding that the relations of Turkey with the world continue.
There is no need for an immediate change in the budget, said Oral noting that the budget won't be damaged by such floatings. Economy didn't collapse and Turkey has to decrease its inflation to single digit, said Oral and noted that they aim at causing no difficulty to Turkish people due to the recent economic developments.
Oral pointed out that the sources that will come to Turkey are being re- evaluated, adding that ''maybe more sources will come to Turkey.''
-STRONG WIND AND BAD WEATHER CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO
The wind which started to blow strongly in quake stricken region damaged many prefabricated huts in the region.
A total of ten prefabricated huts were damaged in northern Duzce province while officials made warnings to the locals in Mudurnu township of northern Bolu province against strong wind.
Schools in villages of Sason township of southeastern Batman province were recessed for three days due to heavy snowfall in the region.
Both officials and people living in the region are exerting efforts to reopen the roads which were blocked in eastern Hakkari province due to heavy snowfall.
Officials said they reopened 68 village roads to traffic while 74 village roads were still close to traffic in northern eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey.
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