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TRKNWS-L Turkish Press Review (February 14, 1996)

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

Turkish Press Review Directory

CONTENTS

  • [01] TURKMEN GUARANTEE FOR NATURAL GAS

  • [02] RED CRESCENT TO SEND 111 TONS OF FOOD TO BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

  • [03] TURKEY PROTESTS TO FRANCE OVER BIRSEL

  • [04] LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES ABOUT KARDAK CRISIS

  • [05] EUROPEANS SEEKING KARDAK ISLANDS SOLUTION

  • [06] US SUPPORTS 'INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL' TO HANDLE KARDAK ISSUE

  • [07] TURKISH AND GREEK DOCTORS CALL FOR AEGEAN AMITY

  • [08] TURKEY SEIZES 233 KG OF HEROIN

  • [09] ETHNIC TENSION IN BULGARIA INCREASES ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

  • [10] RUSSIA-PKK MEETING

  • [11] PKK TRYING TO MOVE INTO WESTERN REGIONS

  • [12] TURKEY NOT RESPONSIBLE TO ARAB LEAGUE

  • [13] TURKEY TO SIGN ANOTHER PIPELINE AGREEMENT

  • [14] TURKEY FILLING EU AGENDA


  • TURKISH PRESS REVIEW

    WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 14, 1996

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

    [01] TURKMEN GUARANTEE FOR NATURAL GAS

    Turkmenistan has given a written guarantee on the transfer of natural gas via Turkey. During the visit of Turkmen President Saparmurad Turkmenbasi to Ankara, a memorandum of accord was signed by Turkish Energy Minister Sinasi Altiner and Turkmen Energy Minister Saparmurat Nuriyev. According to the accord, 15 billion cubic metres of natural gas will reach Turkey starting in 1998 until 2020. A joint working group to be set up to deal with the natural gas route will choose either Georgia or Armenia. President Suleyman Demirel stated that agreements signed between the two countries would further strengthen friendship ties. Evaluating the accord, Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal noted that political problems in the region between the Caucasus and Turkey should be solved and a "peace region" should be established. He said: "If this problem is solved, there will be a bright future in front of Turkey and the region".

    President Demirel and Prime Minister Tansu Ciller attended a later ceremony during which the golden key of Ankara was presented to President Turkmenbasi. /Hurriyet-Cumhuriyet/

    [02] RED CRESCENT TO SEND 111 TONS OF FOOD TO BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

    The Red Crescent will send 111 tons of food and other necessities to Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Anatolia news agency reported yesterday. A convoy consisting of five trucks will shortly depart from Istanbul. The Turkish chairman of the Red Crescent will officiate at a sending off ceremony at the Red Crescent's Istanbul Office.

    [03] TURKEY PROTESTS TO FRANCE OVER BIRSEL

    Turkey protested to France yesterday over the "ill-treatment" of its envoy in Strasbourg, Ismet Birsel, by French customs officials at Strasbourg airport. The protest was made in Paris by Turkey's Ambassador Tansug Bleda, who reminded French officials of their responsiblity within the framework of the Vienna Convention, which clarifies the status and immunities of diplomats. The Turkish protest also reminded Paris that some

    Turkish parliamentarians and citizens were "unfairly treated" and harassed by customs officials in their entries and exits. The

    Turkish note of protest asked France to take the necessary measures to prevent the ill-treatment of Turks. /All papers/

    [04] LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES ABOUT KARDAK CRISIS

    Press Adviser of the Turkish Embassy in Washington, Bulent Erdemgil, in a letter to the New York Times, said that the intransigent Greek attitude led to the Kardak crisis and stated that the newspaper's previous comment on the Kardak crisis, considering it as not just a dispute over some islets, was founded in truth. Erdemgil pointed out that the problem revolved around preventing the Aegean Sea from being turned into a "Greek Lake".

    Bulent Erdemgil said that Greece had always ignored international law and ruled out peaceful dialogue and drew attention to Greek provocation that increased tension during the Kardak incident. Erdemgil, stating that Greek claims over the Kardak islets had no legal basis, said that Greece had avoided meeting round the negotiation table. Erdemgil declared that Turkey was ready to negotiate with Greece over every issue related to the Aegean Sea. /Sabah/

    [05] EUROPEANS SEEKING KARDAK ISLANDS SOLUTION

    The Greens Group in the European Parliament (EP) has called on both Turkey and Greece to patch things up, settle the Kardak islands issue and restore stability to the Aegean Sea. The issue of the diplomatic confrontation between the two NATO member countries has occupied the member countries of the European Union (EU) for some days, and debate on the matter will continue in the European Parliament tomorrow -under the heading of "urgent issues."

    There are reports from the EP however, that factions in the EP are pushing for more support for Greece. A draft bill is being readied that will claim Turkey threatened Greek sovereignty during the Kardak island dispute because in reality the islands belong to Greece.

    With this and other evidences of EU preferences for one side or another, Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal has stressed again that the EU must be impartial in its dealings with Greece and Turkey. During visits to London, Brussels and Paris, Baykal will clarify Turkey's viewpoint on the matter, and on Friday will have talks with top EU officials. /Cumhuriyet/

    [06] US SUPPORTS 'INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL' TO HANDLE KARDAK ISSUE

    US President Bill Clinton says he supports referring the Kardak dispute to an "international tribunal", as the Greek government has proposed. He made this statement in a video message he sent on Monday evening to the Biannual Congressional Banquet of the American Hellenic Educational Protective Association (AHEPA). The Administration had, as early as February 6, suggested that Turkey and Greece resolve their differences peacefully through the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague or "some other consensual body".

    "We are all concerned about the recent dispute over the island of Imia (Kardak)" Clinton said in his message to AHEPA. Referring to his series of telephone calls to Turkish and Greek leaders, he said he was personally involved in efforts to convince the two NATO allies to pull back from the dangerous confrontation. "I want to assure you that the US strongly supports the principle of respect for international treaties, for internationally recognized borders and for territorial integrity. Greece and Turkey, can, and must, resolve their disagreements by peaceful means" Clinton said.

    Meanwhile, Turkish-American associations in the US appealed to President Clinton to "contribute to a solution of the Turco-Greek conflict through peaceful dialogue". In a letter to Clinton, representatives of about 100 Turkish groups in the US asked Clinton to play a constructive role in the conflict and praised his role in the Kardak crisis. Problems between the two countries have continued because of Greek resistance to "meaningful dialogue" the letter said, adding that Greek claims to own the Kardak/Imia rocks were "completely baseless". /All papers/

    [07] TURKISH AND GREEK DOCTORS CALL FOR AEGEAN AMITY

    Greek and Turkish physicians have jointly issued a statement condemning "all plots against the peace, welfare and socio-economic and cultural solidarity of the peoples of Turkey and Greece". The two affiliated committees of health professionals have in the past campaigned against the war in former Yugoslavia and against the construction of nuclear power plants on the Aegean, as well as celebrating 1994 World Peace Day together in Ankara. In their joint press release, sent to both the Greek and Turkish governments, the Association of Turkish Health Professionals for Peace and the Environment Against the Nuclear Threat and its Greek counterpart blame the media for recent dispute over the sovereignty of the Aegean rocks in both countries, and say: "All vigilant and democratic efforts should be made to orient the media to function for peace and not to be a device of exploitation".

    "We, as Greek and Turkish doctors, refuse to take part in this madness. The Aegean is a bridge between our countries and not a field of war" the accompanying letter said. /All papers/

    [08] TURKEY SEIZES 233 KG OF HEROIN

    Turkish gendarmes have seized 233 kg of heroin in northwest Turkey, officials said yesterday. They gave no value for the haul but the Anatolia news agency valued part of the haul -53.7 kg- seized in a raid on a farmhouse in Silivri near Istanbul on Monday, at $390,625. This would make the total seizure worth around $1.7 million in Turkey. Most of the haul, 155 kg, was seized yesterday in the northwestern town of Tekirdag. Anatolia quoted Tekirdag governor Senol Engin as saying the 180 kg, seized on the route towards Turkey's northwestern border with Greece and Bulgaria, were brought from the eastern town of Van.

    [09] ETHNIC TENSION IN BULGARIA INCREASES ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

    Ethnic tension in the mainly ethnically-Turkish town of Kircaali, Bulgaria, has escalated since the cancellation of local election results in Bulgarian city of Kircaali, and this led to an increase in illegal immigration to Turkey. Muhammed Recep, a Kircaali representative of the ethnically-Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom (MRF), whose party won the recently annulled local elections in Kircaali, said that the tension disturbed the people living in the region. Recep noted that illegal immigration to Turkey was rapidly increasing, and that it was especially young people who were leaving the region.

    The MRF representative blamed the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) government for pursuing separatist policies, and added that they would fight against the attitude of the BSP. /Milliyet/

    [10] RUSSIA-PKK MEETING

    Again there are indications that Russia is not quite so opposed to the terrorist PKK organization after all. The news from Moscow is that at the start of the week, Moscow officials were sitting round the conference table with representatives from the PKK. According to the Itar-Tass news agency, the meeting was held in the Moscow Council Chambers, and was attended by Russian parliamentarians and representatives of the Kurdistan National Freedom Front. Main issues were stability along the southern Russian borders and developments in Turkey.

    Although Russia denies support for the PKK, only a few months ago the so-called "Kurdish parliament-in-exile" was revealed to have property in Moscow. Now this round table meeting has taken place, also suggesting that ties between the PKK and Russia are being maintained.

    On the other hand, reports from the southeast deny PKK claims made at the Moscow meeting that PKK membership now hovers around twenty million. Officials in the regions of the southeast and border regions between Turkey and northern Iraq say that the PKK is on the run, and suffering serious losses at the hands of Turkish security forces.

    Reports note that the PKK appears to be desperate, resorting to unusual violence. In statements to the security forces, captured PKK terrorists say that they want to get to Turkey where they can hand themselves over to the authorities. /Milliyet/

    [11] PKK TRYING TO MOVE INTO WESTERN REGIONS

    Governor of the Sivas region, Aydin Guclu, in a statement denying that regional villages were being forcibly evacuated, said yesterday that PKK terrorists were trying to infiltrate the western regions of the country.

    Guclu noted that the PKK was trying to break through the ring of steel round the southeastern regions and reform in areas relatively free from terrorism. "We must view operations in the Sivas region from this perspective" said Guclu.

    Security operations to prevent PKK expansion were being carried out with full respect for human rights, and in full harmony with democratic principles and the rule of law, claimed Guclu, who described any movement of the local population as "normal" in the circumstances. /Cumhuriyet/

    [12] TURKEY NOT RESPONSIBLE TO ARAB LEAGUE

    Turkey has sharply responded to efforts by the Arab League countries to involve themselves in the "water issue" that has long disrupted relations between Turkey and Syria. The Arab League has said in a statement that Turkey should sign an agreement with Syria and Iraq guaranteeing their rights regarding water supplies from rivers flowing out of Turkey into Iraq and Syria. The Arab League has further intimated during meetings in Damascus that if Turkey does not fall in line with this proposal, then the League "will act against Turkey."

    Turkey has replied by saying that Turkey is in no way responsible to the Arab League, and has again stressed that the problem will not be solved by resorting to political pressure. Turkish officials have also noted again that Turkey must be involved in talks about the issue and its solution. Ankara is adamant that a solution must be found according to the needs and requirements of the region, not just political demands. /Cumhuriyet/

    [13] TURKEY TO SIGN ANOTHER PIPELINE AGREEMENT

    Turkey is supporting closely the steadily developing plans for a pipline across Turkey to carry Russian natural gas to Irael. Turkish, Russian and Israeli officials are at the point of signing an agreement that will bring the project into its final stages.

    Officials representing Turkey's pipeline authority (BOTAS) said yesterday that the project was very close to final agreement, and noted that it was a "prestige" project that equalled the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline project in importance. /Sabah/

    [14] TURKEY FILLING EU AGENDA

    Issues involving Turkey are just about filling up European Union (EU) agendas for current meetings. But according to diplomatic sources, although Turkey is involved in a number of serious diplomatic confrontations-mainly with Greece- this will not negatively influence EU financial aid to Turkey. Officials note that although certain parties have prepared bills that are not in favour of Turkey, they carry no weight because Turkey's status remains unchanged despite pressures to create an opposite effect. /Cumhuriyet/

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