|Saturday, 20 January 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 98-12-17
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From: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.tr>
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 TERRORIST LEADER OCALAN IS SET FREEAn Italian court on Wednesday lifted restrictions on PKK chief Abdullah Ocalan, reportedly allowing him to leave the country. Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said that Turkey would appeal against the court decision if there were no conditions on Ocalan's release. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ismail Cem, gathered with leading officials at the Turkish Foreign Ministry to evaluate the situation and the Turkish Ambassador to Rome, Inal Batu, went to the Italian Foreign Ministry to obtain an official clarification of the court ruling. The Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Necati Utkan, said that the decision had created questions in people's minds as to Italy's legal process. The Minister of Defence, Ismet Sezgin, evaluated the decision as a tragic one both with regard to international law and relations. The Head of the Turkish Police Department, Necati Bilican, said that it seemed that Italy had prepared the ground for Ocalan to travel to another counrty.
Meanwhile, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lamberto Dini, said on Wednesday that Ocalan would either be tried in Italy or he would be expelled from the country. Also, the Spokesman for the German Minister of Justice, Bernhard Boehm, said that the Bonn government still wanted to see Ocalan brought before an international tribunal despite Wednesday's decisions. /All papers/
 OCALAN RELEASEDThe leader of the PKK terrorist organization, Abdullah Ocalan, was released by the Court of Appeals in Rome yesterday. Ocalan was taken from his villa to an unknown location yesterday night. Turkish security sources note that the new residence of Ocalan could be in Rome or near Rome. They point out that in order not to sever his relations with Italian political circles, Ocalan prefers not to leave the region. The so-called representative of the PKK in Europe, Akif Hasan, stated that Ocalan was considering going to a third country. Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema said yesterday that a decision on Ocalan would be given in the next few days.
The Italian Ambassador to Ankara, Massimiliano Bandini, who replied to questions put by the 'Sabah' daily newspaper, recalled that Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini had said Ocalan would be either deported or be tried. Bandini said: "I do not know which alternative will be chosen". /Sabah/
 D.MITTERRAND VISITS OCALANThe former French President's wife, Danielle Mitterrand, paid a visit to the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan yesterday in his villa. It is reported that Danielle Mitterrand, accompanied by some supporters of the PKK terrorist organization and the Chairman of the Italian Peace Association 'Asopace', Luisa Morgantini, held a one-hour meeting with Ocalan. No statement was made regarding the meeting. /Sabah/
 US CRITICIZES THE DECISION ON OCALANThe US administration has stated that the decision to release the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is very disturbing. US State Department Spokesman James Rubin held a press conference yesterday said: "The release of Ocalan is a blow in the struggle against international terrorism". Rubin noted that US officials had held contacts with high-level officials in the Italian government and wanted them not to release Ocalan, on the contrary, they wanted Ocalan's trial. Rubin pointed out that he had re-discussed the Ocalan issue with Germany, Italy and Turkey in the light of the new developments. /Sabah/
 NO EU SUPPORT TO ITALYItaly could not find the support that she expected from the European Union (EU) Council concerning the trial and extradition of the chief of the PKK terrorist organization. Diplomatic sources pointed out that the decision accepted yesterday at the Committee of the Delegation of the EU Council did not meet the Italians' expectations. The same sources noted that the final decision was very different from Italy's suggestion. It was also added that the Committee stressed in its decision that the tecnical and legal sides of the European agreements would be examined to solve the problem. /Turkiye/
 COMMON CANDIDATE PLAN OF DYP AND FPTruepath Party (DYP) and Virtue Party (FP), the two partners of the former REFAHYOL government, are in the process of deciding on a single candidate for the Prime Ministership to be offered to President Demirel. Having agreed that the DSP leader, Bulent Ecevit, would not be able to form a government, the leading figures of both parties reached a consensus to overcome the government crisis by determining on a single candidate to be offered to President Suleyman Demirel. In this context, Recai Kutan, the leader of the Virtue Party (FP) said: "After visiting other parties to take their views into consideration as well, we will go to the President to declare our candidate and ensure that the government be formed immediately. For Turkey immediately needs a democratic government." /Milliyet/
 YILMAZ: "WE DO NOT TRUST BAYKAL"Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz visited President Suleyman Demirel yesterday to inform the President about his meeting with the Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Bulent Ecevit. Yilmaz said that he supported Ecevit's efforts to form a government adding that it would be most improper for Turkey at the moment to be ruled by a pre-election government. He noted that they had complete faith in Ecevit's good will; however, they had no faith in Baykal. Mesut Yilmaz pointed out that he still hoped that Ecevit's consultations with both Ciller and Baykal scheduled for today would produce positive results. /Turkiye/
 CILLER: ECEVIT IS PULLING OUT NEW MODELS FROM HIS HATThe pressure on the Prime Minister-designate to give up his efforts to form a government is increasing every day. Following the leaders of the Virtue Party (FP) and the Republican People's Party (CHP),the Chairman of the True Path Party, Tansu Ciller, demanded Ecevit to ask the President to relieve him of his duty to form a government. Stating that Ecevit was following a delaying tactic which stretched the limits of "good will", Ciller said :"Ecevit is pulling out new government models from his hat every 10 days." /Cumhuriyet/
 BBP LEADER VISITS THREE PARTIESMuhsin Yazicioglu, the leader of the Grand Unity Party (BBP), visited the DYP leader Ciller, the CHP leader Baykal and the FP leader Kutan to discuss the forming of the government in the nearest future. Stating that he was against the President's decision to put Ecevit in office to form the new government, Yazicioglu said: "The efforts to form the government have not taken place in conformity with democratic traditions. Ecevit impedes the forming of a broad-based government through excluding the FP. This is against our conception of national unity." /Hurriyet/
 ALBRIGHT CALLS PRESIDENT DEMIRELState Minister Cavit Kavak reported that, the US Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, had called President Suleyman Demirel a couple of hours before the beginning of the US midnight attack on Iraq and informed him about the current developments. Kavak also noted that the US did not demand to use the Incirlik base for this operation. Meanwhile, it was reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had decided to evacuate the Turkish Ambassy in Baghdad just before the operation. /Milliyet/
 THE GOVERNOR OF THE CENTRAL BANK: "NO CRISIS BUT MINI-CRISES"Speaking at a conference held by the Istanbul Stock Exchange, Gazi Ercel, the Governor of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, noted that measures against the international financial crisis had already been taken and the Turkish economy was quite far from a state of crisis according to main economic indicators. Ercel said: "There is no crisis in Turkey. There are mini-crises. And the measures taken are not to overcome a present crisis but, in contrast, to prevent a possible crisis. There has been no real decrease in the GDP of Turkey. On the contrary, the average rate of growth is around 4.5%. There may be crises in some particular sectors. Our aim is to blockade them as such."
Ercel also stated that the staff monitoring agreement drafted by the IMF had reached most of its targets and it would just be a matter of a political initiative to be launched by the new government to accelerate the flow of credits from the IMF. Referring to the system of banking and the financial constraints, Ercel said: "For the time being, we have no problems with our banking system. Similarly, there are no problems or troubles in our foreign exchange reserves. This applies also to our balance of payments. That is why I cannot say that Turkey faces a crisis but a set of mini-crises." /Milliyet/
 DEMIRBANK GETS $ 55 MILLION LOANDemirbank has received a $ 55 million syndicated loan from a group of 15 Western and Japanese banks, bank officials announced yesterday. The one-year loan signed in London on December 16, brings to $ 355 million the amount raised by Demirbank on international money markets. /Milliyet/
 DENKTAS SENDS LETTER TO ANNANThe President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus sent a letter to the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, drawing attention to the fact that the separatist PKK terrorist organization had increased its activities in Northern Cyprus. Denktas asked in his letter that as part of the efforts to decrease tension on the island, relations between Greek Cyprus and the PKK should be ended. Denktas noted the anxiety of Turkish-Cypriots regarding the increasing activities of the terrorist organization in Northern Cyprus. It was known that the Greek-Cypriot Administration had not only given financial support to the terrorist organization but also members of the so-called Kurdish parliament-in-exile had been in close contact with the Greek-Cypriot Administration, said Denktas. In the letter he also asked Greek-Cypriots to end their provocative activities against Turkish-Cypriots. /Turkiye/
 GREEK-CYPRIOT MEDIA BLAMES ADMINISTRATIONAccording to the Simerini newspaper, the Greek-Cypriot Administration did not sufficiently evaluate the reaction created by the idea of deploying Russian-made S-300 missiles in southern Cyprus and did not learn from the 1964-1965 missile crisis. The newspaper recalled that the Makarios administration signed an agreement for the purchase of tanks, missiles and weapons from the Soviet Union in 1964, these arms were sent to Egypt in 1965 and they were expected to be brought to Cyprus by Greek vessels, however this ended in a fiasco. The newspaper stated that the US, European countries and the EU countries did not want a flash point situation in the region. Meanwhile, Turkish officials indicated that they would not participate in discussions regarding the S-300 missiles. /Aksam/
 TURKISH-EGYPTIAN RELATIONSFirst-round meetings on the Turkish-Egyptian free trade agreement will start today in Ankara. The meetings will last two days. According to a statement issued by the Foreign Trade Undersecretariat, during a visit by a Turkish delegation, headed by Foreign Trade Undersecretary Yavuz Ege, to Egypt on October 16-19, it was agreed that the first-round meetings would be held in Ankara. The statement recalled that an outline text for the Turkish-Egyptian free trade agreement prepared in line with the EU's European-Mediterranean Partnership Agreements was conveyed to the Egyptian side in 1997.
The statement said that during Egyptian President Husnu Mubarak's visit to Ankara on December 5-6, Mubarak and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel had declared that the Turkish-Egyptian free trade agreement should be signed as soon as possible. The statement added that trade volume between the two countries reached $588 million during the January-September 1998 period and that following the free trade agreement, this figure would rise to $1 billion in the year 2000 and $2 billion in 2005, the Anatolia news agency reports.
 ROMANIAN GENERAL IN ANKARAThe Commander of the Romanian Land Forces, General Mihail Popescu, is paying an official visit to Ankara. Within the scope of his visit, Popescue visited his Turkish counterpart General Atilla Ates yesterday. After the meeting Ates said that Romania was a friendly country to Turkey in the Balkans, adding that relations between the two countries had been rapidly improving in every area. /Turkiye/
 DERVISOGLU IN GERMANYThe Naval Forces Commander, Admiral Salim Dervisoglu, went to Hamburg, Germany, yesterday to attend a flag-hoisting ceremony on the TCG Salihreis (F-256) frigate constructed at the Blohm-Voss dockyard. The ceremony will be held today. Admiral Dervisoglu, who will also have official meetings in Germany, will return to Turkey on December 20, the Anatolia news agency reports.
 DRUG TRAFFIC ROUTE NOW PASSES THROUGH THE BLACK SEAThe Department of Anti-Organized Crime and Smuggling of the Directorate General of Security, stated that in operations carried out from the beginning of the year until now 13 tonnes of narcotics had been seized. Due to successful operations by the police and the instability following the collapse of the Soviet Union the drug trafficking route passing over Turkey had slid to the north of the Black Sea. The street value of heroin and cocaine among the narcotics seized surpassed $ 50 million; 5.465 suspects involved in drug trafficking were handed over to justice. According to data furnished by the Department, 1988 was a successful year in combatting narcotic trafficking. Due to its geopolitical location Turkey has been used as a bridge in trafficking drugs from production areas to consumption areas./Cumhuriyet/
 TURKISH SHIP SINKED IN ISRAELWhile transporting cement from Mersin Seaport to Ashdod Seaport in Israel, Dogruyollar-2, a Turkish ship, sank off the port of Haifa. The captain and eight crew were rescued alive. It was reported that the 904-gross-ton ship, which had sailed from Mersin on December 14, was carrying 850 tons of packaged cement. /Hurriyet/ [A ARMANIAN PATRIARCH MEETS TOP OFFICIALS IN ANKARA
The recently-elected Armenian Patriarch, Mesrop Mutafyan, met Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and Parliament Speaker Hikmet Cetin on Wednesday, and pledged his loyalty to the Republic of Turkey and its integrity. Earlier in the day, Mutafyan, who was elected as the religious leader of the 80,000 Armenian community in Turkey in October, visited Ataturk's mausoleum, Anitkabir, and signed the memorial book there. /Sabah/
 NATIONAL DEFENSE MINISTRY PUTS SHIPPING OUT TO TENDERThe transport of Turkish Armed Forces' equipment has been put out to tender by the External Preparation Department of the Ministry of National Defense. In accordance with the annoucement published in the Official Gazette, the service regarding the shipping of Turkish Armed Forces' equipment between Turkish seaports and seaports abroad was put out to tender for which only Turkish maritime companies will bid. The estimated cost is TL 1 trillion and the bid bond is TL 30 billion. The awarding of the tender will take place at the Ministry's External Preparation Department on December 30, the Anatolia news agency reports.
 HAZELNUT EXPORTSTurkey has obtained $406.1 million from her exports of hazelnuts since September 1, 1998, the first month of the 1998-1999 export year, the Anatolia news agency reports. Officials of the Black Sea Union of Hazelnut Exporters said that Turkey has exported 99.7 tonnes of hazelnuts and obtained an income of $406.1 million. Turkey exported hazelnuts mainly to European countries.
 AAZIZ NESIN COMMEMORATEDA noted Turkish writer, who died two years ago, will be commemorated with many recreational activities including exhibitions, theatre plays, concerts and panels throughout Turkey as part of Aziz Nesin Week on December 18-28. With the revenue to be received from the activities, an Aziz Nesin primary school will be constructed. /Sabah/
 MEVLANA FESTIVAL IN KONYAAs the annual Mevlana Festival moves towards its climax, Konya is a temporary home to visitors from far and near attending the Whirling Dervish (Sema) ceremony. Drawn by the universal and timeless message of one of Sufism's greatest teachers and poets, Mevlana Jalal ad-Din ar-Rmi, (1207-1273) this year marks the 725th year since his death on 17th December. /All papers/
 SABANCI CALLIGRAPHY COLLECTION TO OPEN IN LOS ANGLESThe Sakip Sabanci Calligraphy Collection which has been open at the New York Metropolitan Museum for the past three months will be moving to the Los Angeles County Art Museum. It is scheduled to open there on February 24, 1999. The exhibit called "Letters in Gold-Ottoman Calligraphy from the Sakip Sabanci Collection" was the first private collection to be shown at the Metropolitan. When the exhibition in Los Angeles ends, the collection will go to Harvard University Museum in October 1999 where a course will be taught on calligraphy while it is on display. /Turkiye/
 UN SUPPORT FOR DEVREK STICKSOut of $25,000, which the United Nations granted for Devrek sticks made in the Devrek district of Zonguldak, $10,000 has been received. It is reported that 14 masters of stick craft are able to continue their work in the region. /Aksam/
 GALATASARAY SMASHED BESIKTAS: 2-0In the Premier League match, which had been postponed because of Galatasaray's Champions' League adventure ended with total disillusionment, Galatasaray beat the leader Besiktas with a fascinating play. The goals that brought three points to Galatasaray were scored by Fatih and Emre, the two young stars of Turkish football. In the face of this disenchanting defeat, Besiktas remained at the top of the league, two points in front of Fenerbahce. /Hurriyet/
 ISN'T IT ENOUGH?Columnist Taha Akyol looks into the government problem and expresses his impatience with the political party leaders.
Akyol agrees with Baykal'statement that it is not right to bring the February 28 discussions onto agenda during the process of forming a government and adds that it is totally wrong to split up the already divided political scene with other factors. "No new formula is coming out as all the leaders insist on their own models. Regimes where there is one strong party on the left and right are stable. If left and right are divided and governments are formed with Byzantine intrigues they cannot last long. Besides, if the left and right are divided within themselves, ethnic, religious, and ideological radicalism gets stronger and disagreements get deeper. The centre left and right have vital duties such as enhancing national unity, and providing the country with administration by bringing their differences together around a political programme. At present in Turkey all parties have been divided and the attraction of radicalism has increased. However it would be wrong to say that left and right would be divided into camps."
Akyol is of the belief that while the politicians are bickering due to the weakness of the administration Ocalan, has been released and the spirit of the Lausanne Treaty is threatened. He adds that Turkey is being drawn into a very dangerous process if the government problem is not solved soon and asks the leaders of the political parties what they are waiting for. /Milliyet/
 OIL: "WHO DID SAY WHAT?"Zeynep Gogus, a columnist in the 'Sabah' daily, saysin her article today: "At the beginning of the 20th century, halfof the oil consumed in the world was produced in Baku. Azerbaijan may be oil-rich after a century, because the US wants it. However, negative signals have been prevailing from every corner.Oil prices have been at their lowest level during recent years.Saudi Arabia noted that it will open its oil fields for production for the first time since 1970. In such a negative atmosphere, the US Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson, made a statement on December 8 in Washington, stating that the new fields in Saudi Arabia would not have a significant effect on Caspian projects. On the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline project, Richardson said: 'It is not a question anymore of whether the pipeline will be constructed or not, the issue is now when it will be constructed'.
Meanwhile, the Royal Dutch_Shell Group, Mobil and Chevron, together with the Kazakh government, decided to launch feasibility studies into the Trans-Caspian project; this consists of two pipelines, one of which will carry gas beneath the Caspian Sea, and the other (will carry) oil. For the feasibility studies, the US has provided $20 million. The pipeline, which will transport Kazakh oil, will come face-to-face with the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline on the opposite coast of the Caspian Sea. The most interesting point of the issue was the Iranian dimension. The Royal Dutch_Shell Group has announced that it renounced the pipeline project which was to transport Turkmen gas via Iran. According to the Regional Director of Shell, Iranians themselves construct the pipeline; Shell was interested in the Trans-Caspian line. It is evident that Shell also acts in line with the US policy of holding out both a carrot and a stick; the US has been implementing sanctions worth more than $20 million annually on Iranian projects. The US State Department declared at the beginning of this week that they believed Turkey would not purchase gas via Iran. The Trans-Caspian and Baku-Ceyhan is our carrot and Iran gas is our stick...." /Sabah/
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