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TRKNWS-L Turkish Press Review (February 13, 1996)

From: TRKNWS-L <trh@aimnet.com>

Turkish Press Review Directory

CONTENTS

  • [01] TURKMEN PRESIDENT IN ANKARA

  • [02] TURKEY HOPES IRAQI-SYRIAN WATER TALKS WILL LEAD TO TRIPARTITE

  • [03] THREAT FROM TWO NEIGHBOURS

  • [04] TURKEY STILL WAITING FOR EXPLANATION FROM SYRIA, IRAN

  • [05] TURKEY TO LAUNCH DIPLOMATIC DRIVE ON KARDAK CRISIS

  • [06] EUROPEANS DEBATE KARDAK ISSUE

  • [07] TIGHT SECURITY MEASURES FOR TURKISH ORGANIZATIONS IN GERMANY

  • [08] "END OF PKK NEAR"

  • [09] MIDEAST COUNTRIES PLAN TO FORM CONSORTIUM

  • [10] BIG BUSINESS CONFERENCE IN ISTANBUL

  • [11] TURKEY SEES 7 % GROWTH IN 1995


  • TURKISH PRESS REVIEW

    TUESDAY FEBRUARY 13, 1996

    Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning

    [01] TURKMEN PRESIDENT IN ANKARA

    Ankara received yesterday the agreement of Turkmenistan to sell Turkey between 10 to 15 billion cubic metres of natural gas between 1998 and 2020. The accord will further be strengthened in a memorandum of understanding between the two countries' energy ministers today. The route carrying the Turkmen gas to Turkey can either be via Iran, which is not favoured by the Turkmen gas consortium, or Armenia or Georgia. Ankara says it is not against any of the routes. The delegations, chaired by President Suleyman Demirel of Turkey and Saparmurad Turkmenbasi of Turkmenistan, are eager to make an agreement which would stipulate the Turkmen sale of 2 billion cubic metres of gas in 1998. This will increase to 5 billion cubic metres by 2004 and hit a possible 15 billion cubic metres by 2020.

    In a press statement by both presidents, they promised to continue support for each other. "We carefully watch the giant steps Turkmenistan is taking toward democracy, secularism and market economies" Demirel said. His statement indicated Turkish willingness to carry Turkmen natural resources to international markets via Turkey. "This means both gas and oil" Demirel added.

    The two presidents have signed a protocol on principles of long-term cooperation which includes the intention to cooperate in fields as diverse as education and military training. Demirel also praised the activities of Turkish companies in Turkmenistan, saying that a quarter of the 200 foreign companies operating in Turkmenistan were Turkish. "Relations between the two countries are based on mutual respect and non-intervention" Turkmenbasi said. Both presidents said that they hoped their bilateral relations would yield fruit and that the visit would mark a step in that direction. Turkmenbasi also held a meeting with Turkish-Turkmen Business Council members yesterday. He pointed out that Turkish investments in Turkmenistan exceeded $1 billion, noting that the issue of the construction of the natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Turkey will be taken up in Ashkabad in May at a meeting of the ECO. /Hurriyet-Cumhuriyet/

    [02] TURKEY HOPES IRAQI-SYRIAN WATER TALKS WILL LEAD TO TRIPARTITE SUMMIT

    "We hope the meetings between Iraq and Syria in Damascus will lead them to tripartite talks (with Turkey) on the water question" Foreign Ministry Spokesman Omer Akbel said in his press conference yesterday. He was commenting on last week's meeting in Damascus between the officials of Syria and Iraq, whose ties have been minimal for fifteen years. Asked if he saw this as two countries "ganging up" against Turkey, Akbel replied: "I have said before that the only solution to the water problem passes through a technical and scientific approach, which would be carried out in tripartite talks. It is not possible to solve the water issue through exerting pressure". Turkey has proposed a three-staged water plan to the two countries but both remained cold toward it. /All papers/

    [03] THREAT FROM TWO NEIGHBOURS

    During talks in Damascus to find a joint strategy over the water issue, officials from Syria and Iraq declared that action against Turkey would be inevitable if Turkey continues with the Birecik and Kargamis dam projects on the Euphrates river.

    Iraqi Ministry of Irrigation Undersecretary Ministry Abdulsattar Salman, talked to journalists after a meeting of the Iraq-Syria technical committee and said that they were considering taking measures against the European firms involved in the projects. /Milliyet/

    [04] TURKEY STILL WAITING FOR EXPLANATION FROM SYRIA, IRAN

    Turkey is still waiting for an explanation from Syria and Iran on the six arms-laden trucks which were seized by Turkey, at the Turco-Syrian border. On February 17, Turkey asked for an explanation both from Iran and Syria about the trucks, which were supposed to be loaded with oil and paraffin and were coming from Iraq. "I leave it to you to interpret the silence as far as Syria is concerned. As for Iran, we are expecting detailed information from them, and then we will consider how to cooperate on the matter" Foreign Ministry Spokesman Omer Akbel said yesterday. /All papers/

    [05] TURKEY TO LAUNCH DIPLOMATIC DRIVE ON KARDAK CRISIS

    Turkey will launch a diplomatic initiative this week to explain the Turkish position on the Kardak rocks. Prime Minister Tansu Ciller told reporters after a security meeting chaired by herself yesterday that the crisis over the "Ikizce Rocks" had indicated that similar crisis could be looming in other regions of the Aegean. Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal, Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen.Cevik Bir, Secretary-General of the National Security Council Gen.Ilhan Kilic, Prime Ministry Undersecretary Arif Yuksel, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ambassador Onur Oymen, Chief Advisor of the Prime Ministry Murat Sungar and military officials and technocrats from the foreign ministry participated in the meeting. "There is the need to take up the issue of the Aegean as a whole, and to start a dialogue on the subject of islets and rocks whose status is not clear" Ciller said. She added that Turkey wanted to have friendly relations with Turkey but said this did not mean that it was prepared to give up on its rights in the Aegean. It was decided at the meeting that Ciller will go to Italy, the term-president of the EU, this month.

    Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal will begin the Turkish diplomatic initiative in London on Wednesday, where he will have a working luncheon with British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind. On Friday, Baykal will move on to Brussels, where he will meet with NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana, European Commissioner Hans Van Den Broek and possibly his Belgian counterpart.

    While Foreign Ministry Spokesman Omer Akbel said that the focus of the visits would be "various issues of Turkish foreign policy", there is little doubt that the agenda will be dominated by the Kardak crisis. In a related development, Akbel denied that a series of Turkish exercises in the Aegean and the Mediterranean were "a provocation" at a sensitive time. "I do not see anything provocative about a previously-scheduled exercise" the spokesman said. He said that the Greek side had been informed of the military exercise, scheduled to take place between February 12 and 16. "These military exercises, called Nimble Paw (Cevik Pence), will be carried out in Turkish waters and international waters" he said, adding that the exercises would take place at nine different locations. While the Greek media continued to cover the military exercise as a "Turkish provocation", Greek Defence Minister Gerassimos Arsenis said Greece had been informed of the military exercise, which was a scheduled and routine one. "It creates no threat" he said. Meanwhile, Greek Armed Forces are holding a military exercise "Egialos 2/96". The Greek Defence Ministry said that the exercise would continue until 16 February. /Cumhuriyet-Hurriyet-Milliyet/

    [06] EUROPEANS DEBATE KARDAK ISSUE

    Members of the European Parliament (EP) have been debating aspects of the Kardak islands during their sessions in Brussels. The member countries of the European Union (EU) have taken up the matter because Greece is a member of the EU, and because Turkey's role in the region is vital to the EU.

    The EU does not want to see a gap grow between Turkey and the EU and between Turkey and Greece. The EP wants to see the matter of sovereignty over the Kardak rocks settled quickly and without resort to serious confrontation. It is expected that the Christian Democrat group in the EP will take up the matter in further sessions this week. The EP is in a difficult position because it really wants to pacify both sides without creating more dissention. It has already called on Greece to act according to international conventions regarding islands of the sea, and to act in harmony with with democratic principles. Turkey hopes that dialogue will lead to a settlement. /Cumhuriyet/

    [07] TIGHT SECURITY MEASURES FOR TURKISH ORGANIZATIONS IN GERMANY

    Having received threats of violence, Turkish organizations in the German state of Hessen are to receive increased security from the police, the Anatolia news agency quoted the German news agency as reporting. A Hessen government spokesman said that they would take tight security measures to prevent any attack on Turkish organizations, especially Turkish banks in the city of Frankfurt. It is also reported that 80 separatists were detained in Baden- Wurtemberg, Germany. /Cumhuriyet/

    [08] "END OF PKK NEAR"

    According to US experts on terror, the "end of the PKK is nigh." The experts claim that once peace between Israel and Syria has been achieved, the terrorist PKK organization will be left high and dry with nowhere to go.

    According to the US State Department experts, as talks between the US, Israel and Syria progress, so the PKK is looking harder for new training areas and bases to operate from. On the other hand, US officials say that the PKK will not go out quietly but that there could be a "final showdown" leading to massive regional dislocation. /Sabah/

    [09] MIDEAST COUNTRIES PLAN TO FORM CONSORTIUM

    Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine are planning to form a consortium in order to import water from Turkey, a report by the Israeli government said. The report, entitled "Development Alternatives for Cooperation in the Middle East and East Mediterranean Region 1996", warns that the low level of water resources in the region are alarming. "By the year 2000 water demand will increase by 30 % in the region. This amount will be double by 2030 and the water scarcity will turn into a crisis" the report noted. Stating that a minimum of $900 million in annual spending is required to overcome the problem, the report urges developing a "strategy on water".

    According to the report, the most cost effective project for solving the water problem in the region is Turkey's "Manavgat Project" which is expected to be finished later this year. The report suggests building a consortium to carry water from Manavgat, Antalya to the port of Askhelon near the Gazza Strip. Another project cited in the report was a water pipeline called "Peace Water". The project aims at carrying water from the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers to Israel and Jordan via a pipeline through Syria. However, the chances of the latter project going ahead are low because of the dispute between Turkey and Syria over Ankara's technical approach towards water related issues. /All papers/

    [10] BIG BUSINESS CONFERENCE IN ISTANBUL

    On February 27-28, Turkish businessmen from five continents will meet in Istanbul for a meeting of the Council of World Turkish Businessmen. The meeting, which will be the first of its kind, is already generating a lot of interest in the commercial, trade and business sectors.

    Set-up with the support and encouragement of President Suleyman Demirel, Turkish businessmen from China to America will be in attendence. Conference organiser Ertugrul Onen from the Turkish Foreign Trade Foundation said yesterday that the meeting will go a long way towards confirming Turkey's huge efforts to establish itself in the international commercial world. /Sabah/

    [11] TURKEY SEES 7 % GROWTH IN 1995

    Figures are expected to show that the Turkish Gross National Product (GNP) grew in real terms by a rapid seven percent during 1995, Finance Minister Aykon Dogan said yesterday. "The economy resumed its growth trend following the first quarter of last year. Rapid growth since then slowed down after last October" he told a meeting. "Export performance during 1995 was satisfactory. The export target was overshot. Foreign currency reserves have one beyond our expectations" the minister explained. /All papers/

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