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Turkish Press Review, 98-12-21

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.tr>

21.12.98

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] ECEVIT RETURNS THE MANDATE TO DEMIREL
  • [02] THIS WEEK IN PARLIAMENT
  • [03] OCALAN TO BE JUDGED IN HIS ABSENCE
  • [04] BATU-FASSINO MEETING
  • [05] ITALIAN OFFICIALS MEET
  • [06] IL GIORNALE: 'OCALAN READY TO LEAVE'
  • [07] ITALIAN-TURKISH FRIENDSHIP UNION PROTESTS AGAINST THE CRISIS
  • [08] "EUROPEAN GOVERNMENTS HAVE NO CONCEPTION"
  • [09] TURKEY WARNS GERMANY ON TERRORISM
  • [10] MUTINY IN THE PKK
  • [11] HERCUS REPORTS 'SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS'
  • [12] GREEK-CYPRIOTS BOGGED IN THE MIRE OF MISSILES
  • [13] CHOPPER SHORT-LIST TO BE READY IN DECEMBER
  • [14] RUSSIA IS WITHDRAWING ITS FORCES FROM THE CAUCASUS
  • [15] "ANKARA CAN ENSURE PEACE IN CAUCASIA"
  • [16] "TO IMPROVE TRADE WITH RUSSIA"
  • [17] THE WEALTH OF ISTANBUL
  • [18] TEXTILE EXPORTS UP FROM THE GAP REGION
  • [19] MAJOR HIGHWAY PROJECTS BEING COMPLETED
  • [20] DRUG OPERATIONS
  • [21] EARTHQUAKE, AFTERSHOCKS SHAKE ERZURUM
  • [22] DOGRAMACI RECEIVES AWARD IN VIENNA
  • [23] ATTACK ON POLICE CAR
  • [24] TOURISTS TO SIVAS AND ELAZIG
  • [25] TURKEY TO HOST SCIENCE OLYMPICS
  • [26] NEW ARRANGEMENTS FOR NATIONAL PARKS
  • [27] "GONE WITH THE WIND" OVER TURKEY
  • [28] GOVERNMENT...DEEP STATE... AND HAMLET
  • [29] "POLITICIANS ARE DISENCHANTING"

  • [01] ECEVIT RETURNS THE MANDATE TO DEMIREL

    Democratic Left Party (DSP) Leader Bulent Ecevit, who has been trying extremely hard to form a new government for the last three weeks will finally return the mandate to President Suleyman Demirel today. The time remaining for the political parties to form a government that could receive a vote of confidence from Parliament is now less than three weeks. If a government able to receive a vote of confidence from Parliament cannot be formed by January 10, 1999, the President will have the right to form a government not requiring a vote of confidence. /All papers/

    [02] THIS WEEK IN PARLIAMENT

    This week, Parliament will be focussing entirely on budget discussions. In accordance with the schedule, discussions on the 1999 fiscal year draft budget will commence on Wednesday, December 23, providing that debates by the Planning and Budget Commission can be finalized earlier in the week. The budget discussions will reportedly be completed in the Parliamentary Assembly within six days, according to the Anatolia news agency. The final discussions on the budget will be held on December 28. /All papers/

    [03] OCALAN TO BE JUDGED IN HIS ABSENCE

    The PKK chief, Abdullah Ocalan will be tried today in his absence and sentenced to the death penalty at the State Security Court in Ankara. The first session of the trial, at which five more suspects have been tried, was held on 13 October 1997.

    Meanwhile, Turkey's legal complaint against the Italian Minister of Justice, Oliviero Diliberto, on 14 December by her lawyer, Augusto Sinagra, was rejected by the Public Prosecutor of the Republic in Rome.

    On the other hand, Turkey's lawyer, Augusto Sinagra said that Abdullah Ocalan could not leave Italy until the legal procedure concerning his application for political asylum were ended. Sinagra pointed out that Ocalan could be handed over to Turkey with the claims of international drug smuggling, bribery, collecting money by force and attacking civilians which do not foresee the application of the death penalty. /Cumhuriyet/Turkiye/

    [04] BATU-FASSINO MEETING

    The Turkish Ambassador to Italy, Inal Batu met the Italian Minister of Foreign Trade, Piero Fassino. It was announced that at the meeting Batu and Fassino discussed Turco-Italian economic relations following the Ocalan issue. Batu said after the meeting that such meetings were of great significance in overcoming problems between the two countries; however, he added, it should be seriously taken into consideration how the Turkish people would react when they heard news about the release of the head of the separatist terrorist organization. /Turkiye/

    [05] ITALIAN OFFICIALS MEET

    A meeting headed by the Italian Ministers of Industry and Foreign Trade and attended by representatives of the private sector was held yesterday. During the meeting, economic agreements cancelled by the Turkish side and troubles in the Italian private sector were discussed as well as the cost of the crisis which emerged following the arrival of the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in Rome. In an evaluation regarding the crisis, the Italian Trade Undersecretary at the Italian Embassy in Ankara, Paola Trichilo, stated that following the crisis between Italy and Turkey, initial data shows that the cost of the crisis amounts to DM 300 million. He added that if the Turkish side does not renew the agreements, that amount will increase.

    Meanwhile, the Italian Industry Minister, Luigi Bersani, is due in Ankara today and will meet the Turkish Industry and Trade Minister, Yalim Erez, and Energy Minister Cumhur Ersumer. It was stated by the Italian officials that Rome will bring a package of proposals for the solution of the unofficial boycott of Italian goods in Turkey. Bersani will return to Rome on Monday evening after his all day meetings in Ankara. /AKsam/

    [06] IL GIORNALE: 'OCALAN READY TO LEAVE'

    The Il Giornale newspaper published in Italy claimed that the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan was ready to leave Italy. The newspaper said that the possibility that Ocalan may go to Libya was not likely due to the harsh reaction of the US. The newspaper noted that Ocalan might go to South Africa and that Britain does not want Ocalan. If Ocalan goes to London, he may be arrested, the newspaper added. /Aksam/

    [07] ITALIAN-TURKISH FRIENDSHIP UNION PROTESTS AGAINST THE CRISIS

    UAIT, the Italian-Turkish Friendship Union, protested against the recent crisis in economic relations between Italy and Turkey due to the issue of Ocalan. UAIT reported that the volume of business between the two countries had decreased from $7 billion in 1997 to less than $4 billion today; losses incurred by Italian firms from the beginning of the crisis amounted 113 billion Italian liras. The organization, which strives to rejuvenate commercial relations, is headed by Franco Nobili, the former chairman of the Confederation of Italian Construction Firms. /Hurriyet/

    [08] "EUROPEAN GOVERNMENTS HAVE NO CONCEPTION"

    Cem Ozdemir and Alper Oktem note in their article in the Milliyet daily newspaper today that following the capture of the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in Italy, there have been many reactions in Turkey against the stance of European countries and the recent decision to release Ocalan. The common point of comments made on this issue is that Europe has secret plans aimed at Turkey. Is Europe benevolent towards the PKK in order to play its Kurdish card? Are there European aims to develop an alternative Kurdish policy against that of the US? The developments observed following the capture of Ocalan, and reactions by the Italian and German governments and nations do not give us the impression that Europe has a Kurdish plan. Even though Ocalan has gone to Italy with the support of some Italian politicians, it is evident that the Italian government is acting in a confused manner.

    The Italian government is knocking on the door of Germany by stating that Ocalan's capture was based on the German demand for extradition. Germany has abandoned its demand of extradition and does not want Ocalan. The Italian Foreign Minister has gone to Moscow to research into ways of sending Ocalan back to Russia. According to rumors, Italy even proposes his transfer to the US. These irremediable initiatives by European governments show us that they have no conception of a solution regarding this unexpected incident. On the other hand, half of the European countries are not even interested in the issue. If there were a plan, more coordinated efforts would have been seen. /Milliyet/

    [09] TURKEY WARNS GERMANY ON TERRORISM

    Turkey warned Germany after statements had been made to the effect that the Kurdish issue was their problem too and attempts had been made to move the Southeastern problem of Turkey into the international arena. The German Ambassador to Turkey, Hans Joachim Vergau, was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Turkey's views and concerns were explained to him in detail. According to information received from diplomatic circles, Vergau (who was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) was asked to give an explanation on his and German Government representatives'statements reflected in the press. It was also pointed out that efforts to move a problem concerning a region of Turkey into the international arena caused reaction in Turkey. /Sabah/

    [10] MUTINY IN THE PKK

    The vacuum of authority in the terrorist organization the PKK following the escape of Abdullah Ocalan has been attempted to be filled with statements signed "Leadership". It has been learned that these statements were prepared by the brother of Abdullah Ocalan, Osman Ocalan who is making a play for the leadership. The main rivals of Osman Ocalan are Cemil Bayık and Murat Karayılan. The positive atmosphere formed concerning the bloody terrorist organization the PKK and Abdullah Ocalan in Europe following his arrest in Italy is fading and the terrorist organization is left facing problems. The best indication for the change in atmosphere can be seen in the Italian press which at first presented Ocalan as an 'innocent hero' but is now describing him as a 'terrorist'. /Sabah/

    [11] HERCUS REPORTS 'SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS'

    The UN resident envoy in Cyprus, Ann Hercus, said yesterday that the shuttle diplomacy she has been carrying out between the two Cypriot sides is producing results, the Anatolia news agency reports. "I believe we have a substantive and substantial process underway" she told a press conference, adding: "I would not continue if progress was not being made". Hercus, a former New Zealand Cabinet minister, has spent the past eight weeks shuttling across the UN buffer zone for separate meetings with the Greek Cypriot Leader, Glafkos Klerides, and the Turkish Cypriot President, Rauf Denktas.

    The talks have the 'dual goal of reducing tension and promoting progress toward a just and lasting settlement', she said. Hercus stated she was 'genuinely encouraged by the two leaders' positive and constructive approach to the goal set by the Secretary-General. She refused to give details.

    [12] GREEK-CYPRIOTS BOGGED IN THE MIRE OF MISSILES

    The Greek-Cypriot Administration postponed the delivery date of S-300 missiles once more. The leader of the Greek Cypriot Administration Glafkos Klerides, who conveyed an urgent message to Russia, requested the postponement of the loading of the S-300 missiles for a few days more. Klerides talked with the leaders of the Greek-Cypriot political parties before taking such a decision. Aware that the missiles should not come to the island of Cyprus, Klerides is now expecting a helping hand from the UN or the US. /Sabah/

    [13] CHOPPER SHORT-LIST TO BE READY IN DECEMBER

    The announcement of the short-list for a nearly $4 billion attack helicopter production project for the Turkish Army is expected to come before the end of December, the Anatolia news agency reports. The final decision will be made by an executive committee comprised of the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister and the Chief of General Staff. The first of the helicopters will be assembled at the Ankara facilities of TAI, the main contractor for the project. The production will take place in three stages.

    [14] RUSSIA IS WITHDRAWING ITS FORCES FROM THE CAUCASUS

    Russia, which began to lose its influence over the Caucasus following the collapse of the Soviet Union, is reducing its military forces in the region. Russian units which have defended the border between Georgia and Turkey for the last four years are returning to their headquarters in Russia. Russian soldiers who are serving as a peace force on the border between Georgia and Abkhazia are also expected to leave the country in the near future. The Russian forces are leaving the defence of the Turkish border to Georgian units and an official statement on the sAubject has been made from the Russian headquarters in Stavrnopol. The Russians are withdrawing in compliance with an agreement signed between the two countries. /Sabah/

    [15] "ANKARA CAN ENSURE PEACE IN CAUCASIA"

    The Georgian President, Eduard Sheverdnadze, asked Turkey to be influential in solving the Abhazia issue. In a meeting with the members of the Turco-Georgian Culture and Cooperation Foundation, Shevardnadze said that they would like to open the borders with Turkey.

    Regarding the Abhazia issue, Sheverdnadze noted that they believed that if Turkey played a more active role in the issue, it would be more easily solved. /Turkiye/

    [16] "TO IMPROVE TRADE WITH RUSSIA"

    The Head of the Centre to Improve Trade with Russia, Oktay Ulkuguner, said that they had taken important steps without needing to obtain any credit from Eximbank to increase trade,and they would officially start the "barter trade" with Russia. Ulkuguner added that they would open an Expo fair in Moscow to improve "suit-case trade". As part of an agreement with the semi-official Mosglavsnab, both Turkish and Russian-made goods will be exhibited in the fair, which will be opened on 1 February 1999, said Ulkuguner. /Milliyet/

    [17] THE WEALTH OF ISTANBUL

    Istanbul, the Turkish economy's centre, is moving towards becoming a global economic centre with its huge population and increasing volume of trade. Istanbul accounts for 22.5 % of the Turkish economy, and its economy is ranked 16th in the world according to purchasing power parity and 23rd according to nominal Gross National Product. Istanbul's total income is more than that of 126 dependent and independent states.

    According to 1997 data, there are only 50 dependent and independent states whose national incomes are more than Istanbul's $43.1 billion Gross Domestic Product. According to the calculations of the Anatolia news agency based on data from the World Bank and the State Institute of Statistics (DIE), Istanbul has more people than 129 of the 210 independent and dependent states of the world, with a population of 9.1 million.

    [18] TEXTILE EXPORTS UP FROM THE GAP REGION

    Between the period of January-November 1998 almost $ 278 million-woth of textile goods have been exported from the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) region with a 33 percent increase compared to the same period of last year. Within the total export from the region the portion of textile exports increased to 50.6 percent whereas it was 35.2 percent in 1997. Kazakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Romania, Azerbaijan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Begium, Italy, Jordan, Spain, France, Lubnan, the US, Greece, Algeria and the Russian Federation are among the countries to which Turkey exports textile goods. /Turkiye/

    [19] MAJOR HIGHWAY PROJECTS BEING COMPLETED

    The General Directorate of Highways reported that 10 big highway projects are almost finished. Amongst 11 projects whose construction was started in past years, the Kazanci-Gumusova highway project has been completed while 89 % of the other 10 projects has been completed. The Edirne-Kinali, Kinali-Sakarya, and Pozanti-Tarsus highways were opened to traffic, but the construction of connected highways is still continuing. /All papers/

    [20] DRUG OPERATIONS

    During operations carried out in Agri, Gaziantep and Kilis, 60.5 kilos of unadulterated morphine have been seized by members of the Department of Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime of the Security Office. In connection with the incident, 11 people have been taken into custody, the Anatolia news agency reports.

    Meanwhile, Turkish police were successful in their struggle with drug smuggling this year, seizing over five tons of hashish, three tons of heroin and 604 kilos of cocaine. The amount of heroin seized represents a 50 % increase over last year.

    [21] EARTHQUAKE, AFTERSHOCKS SHAKE ERZURUM

    A moderate earthquake and two aftershocks rocked an eastern Turkish city that a strong quake had levelled 15 years earlier, the Anatolia news agency reports. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

    [22] DOGRAMACI RECEIVES AWARD IN VIENNA

    The European Culture Improvement Foundation under the auspices of the European Council and European Union have presented Professor Ihsan Dogramaci with the inaugural award for toleration. While Professor Dogramaci received the award for toleration, the former Vienna Archbishop Cardinal Franz Konig received the peace award, and the Austrian Jewish Documentation Centre Chairman, Simon Wiesenthal, received the justice award in a ceremony held at Austria's historic Hofburg Palace.

    The European Council's Honorary Chairman Louis Jung praised Dogramaci's life-long efforts in the field of toleration and said that Dogramaci, who is a doctor, had approached each child with affection and approached other people from different religions and of different view points with the same toleration. /All papers/

    [23] ATTACK ON POLICE CAR

    A police car patrolling around Gungoren, Istanbul came under attack by a bomb last night. Officials reported no casualties at the end of the attack. It is announced that a wide scope of operations have been started to seize the attackers.

    Meanwhile, in another incident in Kartal, Istanbul, a molotov cocktail was thrown at the Yapi Kredi Bank office last night by an unidentified person. /Milliyet/

    [24] TOURISTS TO SIVAS AND ELAZIG

    The last solar eclipse of the century will be best viewed in Turkey. The solar eclipse will be seen in August 1999 especially in Sivas and Elazig. Hotels in these cities have already been booked up, representatives of travel agencies report. /Aksam/

    [25] TURKEY TO HOST SCIENCE OLYMPICS

    Antalya will be the site of the 1999 International Computer Olympics, according to a decision by the International Science Olympics Committee, the Anatolia news agency reports. Turkey was also the venue chosen for the 2000 Biology Olympics and the 2001 Physics Olympics. Preparations have already begun for the Computer Olympics, which will be held on October 9-16, 1999. Turkey is expecting to host students from 78 countries at the event.

    [26] NEW ARRANGEMENTS FOR NATIONAL PARKS

    The Ministry of Forestry will bring new arrangements for National Parks. It is announced that long term development plans will be prepared for the 32 National Parks in Turkey in cooperation with universities. According to Ministry officials, joint studies with the related universities to prepare master plans for the 26 National Parks have already begun. /Cumhuriyet/

    [27] "GONE WITH THE WIND" OVER TURKEY

    Two businessman on a world balloon tour passed over Turkey and they are expected to enter Azerbaijan. A millionaire from Chicago, Steve Fosset, and English businessman Richard Branson entered Turkish airspace from the Mediterranean. The balloonists who spent most of Sunday over Turkey are expected to continue their route towards China over Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and the Himalayas. /Sabah/

    [28] GOVERNMENT...DEEP STATE... AND HAMLET

    Yavuz Donat in his column analyses the government crisis with reference to the remarks of Andrew Mango. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Andrew Mango, an English journalist, is a specialist on Turkish affairs. He visits Turkey at critical times and at present he is in Turkey. He likened the government crisis in Turkey to playing Hamlet without the Prince. According to him, the Hamlet in Turkey is called the 'deeper state'. This 'Deeper State' is made up of the universities, the military, trade unions, intelligensia and the media. Andrew Mango believes that there are politicians who want to play Hamlet without the Prince. But the President is aware of everything and he is working to save democracy and not to let anything happen to it. Therefore the President will not act against the Deeper State. He will try to nominate a candidate for the prime ministry which will be acceptable both to the Motherland Party (ANAP) and the True Path Party (DYP)." /Sabah/

    [29] "POLITICIANS ARE DISENCHANTING"

    Mustafa Balbay, a columnist in the Cumhuriyet daily, evaluates Ecevit's futile efforts to form a government and argues that this failure further intensifies the ever-growing disenchantment with the political system in Turkey. Noting that the most likely alternative is a government under the Prime Ministry of a "third person" assigned by President Demirel, Balbay writes:

    "Despite current difficulties with the political system, it does no good to lose heart. However, the credibility of the politicians is gradually shrinking. In the case of the Democratic Left Party (DSP) and Ecevit, recent developments have revealed their irreconcibility with the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the basis of their alliance with the Motherland Party (ANAP). A possible minority coalition between the CHP and DSP was impeded by the personal bickering of the leaders. On the right-wing of the political spectrum, on the other hand, Ciller was insincere, especially in terms of the attitude of the True Path Party (DYP) in Parliamentary commissions. In turn, Yilmaz left the entire burden of the governmental turbulence to his partner, Ecevit. Last but not least, the Virtue Party (FP) is excluded from all these processes but inevitably included in their consequences as the main actor on the stage. Meanwhile, its latest program is a clumsy blueprint of former attempts."


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