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Turkish Press Review, 99-01-07
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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
 ROADS TO A THOUSAND VILLAGES CLOSED BY SNOW IN THE EAST
 EREZ RETURNS THE MANDATEFollowing a 30-minute meeting with President Suleyman Demirel, former Prime Minister-designate Yalim Erez said: "I have returned the mandate to form the new government, which I had accepted patriotically to resolve Turkey's problems, to our President proudly and without defeat". Remarks by Erez and Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz yesterday after meeting the President indicate that Demiral is seriously considering designating the Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Bulent Ecevit with the responsibility of forming the new government.
Erez said that he feels positively about the government to be formed by Ecevit, asserting: "I hope all the promises are kept and the government will be formed. Turkey has significant problems so our main duty is to support the government. I will do my best and support the government as a deputy. I wish Ecevit luck". Up until Wednesday, Erez was attempting to form a minority government with deputies from the Motherland Party (ANAP), the DSP, the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Democratic Turkey Party (DTP). But demands made by the CHP, which included the allocation of an equal number of Ministries to the CHP as to the DYP and ANAP and the exclusion of those Ministers who had participated in the previous Motherleft cabinet, interrupted the negotiations. /All papers/
 YILMAZ: 1998 A GOOD YEAR FOR THE ECONOMYPrime Minister Mesut Yilmaz yesterday noted that his government had proven that the nation's problems could be solved by democratic means. Yilmaz made the comments at a press conference entitled 'The Turkish Economy at the Beginning of 1999', held at the Prime Ministry. Yilmaz emphasized that, although his government had been a minority one, it had succeeded in completing several projects and enacting a number of reforms in various fields.
Yilmaz said that Turkey had 'preserved its balances' and continued its forward development in 1998 by means of the government's prudent economic policies, its three-month programmes and its political resolve. Yilmaz also mentioned the global economic crisis that is affecting Turkey, natural disasters, political uncertainties and the tension in the Persian Gulf. He boasted that in spite of these negative factors, the Turkish economy continued to grow. /All papers/
 CEM: "EUROPE SEES REALITIES"Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ismail Cem answered the questions of Sabah reporter Ibrahim Gunduz. In the interview Cem evaluated Turkish foreign policy in detail saying that the Abdullah Ocalan issue was still ambiguous because of the untidiness of the Italian State and the lack of control within the Italian justicial system. He noted: "The Adana Agreement with Syria is a blow to the PKK terrorist organization; it will no longer be able to direct its acts of violance from one point with support for its activities. Before the chief of the terrorist organization went to Rome, some circles in Western Europe tried to legalize terrorist activities. But now Western European countries can see the real character of the chief of the terrorist organization, his violent actions and their results. They realize that there is a prallelism between the news about Ocalan in the European press and Turkey's claims about him."
Ismail Cem added that Greece openly supported the terrorist organization and its chief. He said: "Turkey will continue to answer the hostile attitude of Greece as necessary over the S-300 missile issue, Greece and Greek Cyprus are disgraced in the face of Turkish foreign policy. They will experience the same defeat concerning the Ocalan issue." /Sabah/
 ANKARA TO `WAIT AND SEE' ON OCALANTurkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Necati Utkan yesterday said that Ankara would 'wait and see' how the situation pans out after the Italian Prime Minister's recent remark that the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan could face trial in Italy. "We may have to wait and witness new developments either this week or early next week" Utkan told reporters at the Foreign Ministry yesterday in Ankara.
Assessing the current situation which Ankara and Rome have reached in their relations, Utkan said that it was wrong to treat a terrorist as a partner in dialogue. He said Ocalan, ever since his arrest in Rome on November 12, 1998, has been able to control his outlawed organization. /All papers/
 TURKISH AMBASSADOR TO ROME: ITALY BEGINS TO SEE THE TRUTHCommenting on Italian Prime Minister D'Alema's statement telling Ocalan either to go or face life imprisonment, Turkey's Ambassador to Rome, Inal Batu said,"Finally, they begin to see the truth. It would have been much better if these developments had taken place before any tension had occurred in the relations between the two countries."
Prime Minister D'Alema's words to the effect that Ocalan either would have to leave Italy or face life imprisonment exploded like a bomb and led to comments that the government was threatening Ocalan.In another development, Daniele Verga, the Counsellor at the Italian Embassy in Ankara was summoned to the Foreign Ministry and was asked what D'Alema meant by this statement. The Italian press headlined the Prime Minister's reaction. /Hurriyet/
 WANTED FOR ELECTIONS: 288,305 CANDIDATESIn the national and local elections on April 18, 1999, Turkish citizens will select the administrative staff that will run the country in the 21st century. The 288,305 positions up for grabs include parliamentary deputies, municipal mayors, members of provincial and municipal assemblies, local leaders and members of village and neighbourhood assemblies. According to the Supreme Election Board (YSK) data updated on December 31, 1998, Turkey currently has 15 metropolitian municipalities, 65 city municipalities, 921 township municipalities and 2,270 county municipalities.
Thus, in the elections on April 18, 1999, 550 people will be elected as deputies, 3,271 as municipal mayors, 3,126 as provincial assembly members, 33,778 as municipal assembly members, 49,580 as village and neighbourhood administrators and 198,000 as village and neighbourhood assembly members. For a political party to participate in the elections throughout the country, it must muster about 40,000 candidates. With 12 parties receiving permission from the YSK to enter elections, this means a total of some 840,000 candidates for national and municipal elections.
Meanwhile, election campaigning will begin on April 8, 1999. Candidates and poitical parties will be allowed to start broadcasting campaign speeches on radio and television stations on April 10, 1999, and the campaign will officially end on April 17, 1999, at 6 p.m. /All papers/
 CILLER CRITICIZES MILITARY FOR ISSUING `TOO MANY STATEMENTS'The True Path Party (DYP) leader Tansu Ciller said yesterday that her party completely supports the latest statement released by the General Staff; however, that the DYP does not approve of the military releasing statements so frequently. Speaking to her parliamentary colleagues, Ciller noted that they had nothing against the content of the recent statement, which did not include a section concerning the DYP but did criticize the President. "Those who say that 'These are not my thoughts' and put the shadow of some other powers behind their personal calculations, must seriously think now", Ciller said, referring to the accusations that Demirel is hiding behind the supposed belief that the military does not want a government that involves the Virtue Party (FP). /All papers/
 THE SUMMIT OF COMMANDERS IN ESKISEHIRThe Forces' Commanders who stressed that Turkey urgently needed a government, are expected to analyze the recent developments at the summit they will hold in Eskisehir. At the summit the formation of a government, terrorism, and the danger of reactionarysm are expected to be discussed. The Forces' Commanders are coming together because of a planned exercise involving the Ist Tactical Air Force in Eskisehir. The meeting will bring together the key names inthe Turkish Armed Forces. Chief of General Staff General Huseyin Kivrikoglu, Commander of the Army General Atilla Ates, Commander of the Navy Admiral Salim Dervisoglu, Commander of the Air Forces General Ibrahim Kilic and Commander of the Gendarmerie General Rasim Betir will attend the meeting. /Hurriyet/
 CONFEDERATION LEADERS TO DISCUSS WORKERS' RIGHTSThe chairmen of the three largest union confederations are to meet today in Istanbul to discuss government work to solve workers' problems. Hak-Is Labour Confederation Chairman Salim Uslu, Confederation of Turkish Workers' Unions (Turk-Is) Chairman Bayram Meral and Confederation of Revolutionary Workers' Union (DSIK) Chairman Ridvan Budak are expected to concentrate on the problems facing workers in the textile sector and the strike planned by those workers on January 12 during their meeting at DISK headquarters. The head of the textile workers' unions are also to take part in the meeting. /All papers/
 UTKAN: CRISIS IN IRAQ CAUSING DAMAGE TO TURKEYForeign Ministry Spokesman Necati Utkan said in a weekly press conference yesterday that the crisis in Iraq was harming Turkey as well as other countries in the region. Utkan asserted that the flow of immigrants into Turkey in 1988 and 1991 had inflicted damage on Turkey and that "Operation Northern Watch" had been established in order to normalize the situation in the region. Calling the incidents in the no-fly zone a 'vicious circle' surrounding the country, Utkan noted that the important thing for the region was normalization. /All papers/
 AIRPLANE TRAFFIC IN INCIRLIKTwenty aircraft including F-15s and F-16s, which belong to the US Air Forces, departed from the Incirlik Air Base near Adana yesterday to closely observe and supervise the no-fly zone in southern Iraq. While Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz was announcing that they had allowed US aircraft to depart from the Incirlik base, the Iraqi Head of State, Saddam Hussein, called on the nations, which support the US, to revolt against their administrations. /Aksam/
 WASHINGTON POST: "THE SAFEST WAY IS BAKU-CEYHAN"According to an opinion column issued in the US Washington Post newspaper, what Turkey and Ceyhan were of key importance in increasing the variety of options for oil routes from Caspian oil-producing countries. The article by Paige Sullivan claimed that the US President, Bill Clinton, supported the oil pipe-line from Baku to Ceyhan to transport Azeri oil; it would be the safest way. /Milliyet/
 EU EXPECTING `GESTURE' FROM TURKISH SIDE ON CYPRUSIn the aftermath of the Greek Cypriot decision to cancel the deployment of Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles, the European Union (EU) said that it is time for the Turkish side to make a `gesture'. Following the Greek Cypriot move, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots are expected to face gradually escalating pressure from the West, particularly on the demilitarization of the Mediterranean island.
In the meantime, there is still speculation that the Greek Cypriots will continue buying arms, a Russian newspaper claimed. Greek Cypriots are said to be considering the purchase of another type of Russian anti-aircraft missile as a replacement for the S-300s, according to the newspaper 'Segodnya'. Greek Cypriots are now considering buying Russia's short-range Tor M-1 anti-aircraft missile, according to the newspaper.
Meanwhile, Greek Cypriot Leader Glafkos Klerides appointed two new Ministers yesterday to replace the socialists who resigned in protest over his decision to cancel the deployment of S-300 missiles. On the other hand, the Turkish Cypriots also welcomed the Greek Cypriot decision not to deploy the S-300s. Ertugrul Hasipoglu, the Parliament Speaker of the TRNC, said that the move was an important step towards peace and reconciliation in Cyprus. /All papers/
 TRNC'S COALITION GOVERNMENT PRESENTS NEW PROGRAMMEThe Turkish Cypriot National Union Party (UBP) and Socialist Liberation Party (TKP) coalition presented its new programme to Parliament yesterday. The Prime Minister, Dervis Eroglu, who formed the coalition, said that the people's free demands and wishes had constituted a base for the new government, the Anatolia news agency reports. The priority of his government will be to promote the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to the world.
The UBP-TKP coalition will meet on January 9 to review its agenda and they will hold a vote of confidence on January 11, provided the two sides finish their talks on January 9.
 TURCO-SWISS RELATIONS ARE IN CRISISThe recent decision to cut TRT-INT broadcasts and put MED-TV on-air continues to threaten Turco-Swiss relations. The Undersecretary of the Turkish Embassy in Bern, Birgen Kesoglu, said that they had already sent a note to Switzerland Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting the cancellation of MED-TV broadcasts; however, they have not received an answer as yet.
Meanwhile, the Spokesperson of the Switzerland Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Monika Schmutz, said that they had reported their uneasiness to the administration of the Bassel region and asked them to reconsider the decision which would jeopardize their relations with Ankara. Schmutz added that they knew that MED-TV was the voice of the PKK.
On the other hand, the General Directorate of Turkish Radio and Television (TRT), Yucel Yener criticized the recent decision by Switzerland to broadcast MED-TV in Basel region in place of TRT-INT. Sending a letter to the Swiss Federal Communication Office, Yener said that freedom of expression and the broacast of news to the Turks living in the Basel region had been destroyed. /Cumhuriyet/
 MED-TV SCANDAL SOURS TURCO-SWISS TIESA recent move by a private cable television company in Basel, Switzerland to take the Turkish TRT-INT channel off the air and replace it with the pro-Kurdish Med-TV has inflamed diplomatic ties between Ankara and Bern. The action took place on January 2 and sparked angry reactions from the Turkish community in Basel.
A written statement by the Foreign Ministry yesterday said that Turkish diplomatic officials in Bern had taken the initiative in consulting the Swiss authorities. The statement also said that the Swiss Charge D'Affaires in Ankara had been summoned to the Foreign Ministry yesterday. Turkey has called on Switzerland to halt Med-TV broadcasts in Basel. /All papers/
 OCALAN'S BODYGUARD CAUGHT WITH HEAVY WEAPONSAhmet Sahin, who came to Istanbul on the instructions of Ocalan in Italy, was caught as he was planning an attack on Sehit Ahmet Police Precinct, using heavy weapons. A false identity card was found on him and he stated that he had worked as bodyguard for Ocalan for years and the instruction to plan an attack was given by Ocalan himself. The police stated that Sahin was also responsible for the death of Cetin Yildiz in 1996 because he had confessed to the actions they had carried out. /Hurriyet/
 UTKAN: NO OBJECTION TO KDP TELEVISION STATIONForeign Ministry Spokesman Necati Utkan said that Turkey did not object to attempts by the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) of Mesud Barzani to establish a television station in northern Iraq as long as the station did not support separatist terrorism. Speaking at his weekly press conference, Utkan said that Turkey was not supporting the KDP's efforts to establish a TV station and considered the venture a 'private investment'. /All papers/
 MANDELA CHANGES HIS MINDThe Leader of the Republic of the Southern Africa, Nelson Mandela, decided to accept the "Ataturk Peace Award" which he had refused in 1992. Turkey calmly welcomed the decision, when Mandela decided to receive the award after seven years. It is expected that there will be an improvement in Turco-South African relations. The Republic of Southern Africa's Ambassador to Ankara said last year that Mandela's refusal of the award was a great mistake and the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained to the Ambassador the importance Turkey attached to the Ataturk Peace Award. Last month the government of the Republic of the Southern Africa announced that Mandela was ready to receive the award. Ankara said that Mandela would have to come Ankara to be presented with the award. /Milliyet/
 SECRETARY-GENERAL OF ALGERIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY TO VISIT TURKEYThe Secretary-General of the Foreign Ministry of the Algerian Democratic People's Republic, Ambassador Amar Bendjama, will visit Turkey on January 8-9, 1999, the Anatolia news agency reports. Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Necati Utkan, held a weekly press conference yesterday and said that Bendjama would visit Ankara as the official guest of the Foreign Ministry Undersecretary, Ambassador Korkmaz Haktanir. During meetings, the development of friendly relations between the two countries and international and regional issues will be discussed.
 BUSH PLANNING TO VISIT TURKEYTurkey's Ambassador to Washington, Baki Ilkin, stated in a meeting with journalists that former US President George Bush has told him that he loves Turkey and he would like to visit the country. Ilkin said that he had met Bush during his visit to Texas but he added that the details of a possible visit to Turkey are not clear yet. It is expected that Bush will visit Turkey as a part of his planned tour of European countries. /All papers/
 TWO TURKISH DEPUTIES IN KAZAKHSTANTwo Turkish deputies, who will attend the Presidential elections to be held in Kazakhstan on January 10 as observers, arrived in Almati yesterday, reported Anadolu News Agency. Motherland Party (ANAP) Deputy Esat Butun and Democratic Left Party (DSP) Deputy Kazim Ustuner were welcomed by the Almati Ambassador at the airport. Meanwhile, according to a statement made by the President's Office, President Suleyman Demirel phoned Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and wished him success during the elections.
 IMKB INDEX RISES BY 2.21 %The index of the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) increased by 2.21 % yesterday and reached the highest level since August 26, 1998. News on the merger between some international companies and the increase in demand on Stock Exchanges world-wide positively affected the IMKB. /Aksam/
 FREE TRADE ZONES ARE IN DEMANDIt is reported that there has been an increasing interest in the free trade zones in recent years. Accordingly, the volume of trade in the 12 free zones in Turkey rose by 43% in the first 9 months of 1998 compared to the same period in 1997 and reached $6,973 million from $4,864 million. The most remarkable trade volume increase last year was in the Istanbul Ataturk Airport Free Zone where the volume of trade mounted from $741 million to $1,159 million with an increase of 112%. /Turkiye/
 EXPORTS FROM BURSA REACHES $2.7 BILLIONAccording to the data provided by the Uludag Exporters' Unions (UIB), exports from Bursa increased by 11% and reached $2.7 billion in 1998. The most significant increase was experienced in the textile sector with a rise of 27.6% while the automobile industry, which constitutes a great portion of exports from Bursa, displayed a rise of 11% and reached $1,773 million. /Turkiye/
 DUMPING TAXES ON 34 PRODUCTSIt is reported that Turkey currently imposes dumping taxes on mass imports of 34 cut-price products from 21 countries. According to the Foreign Trade Undersecretariat, inquiries into 39 products launched in Turkey, since the anti-dumping law was put into effect in 1989, have been completed without any further measures being taken. /Aksam/
 RUSSIAN AIRLINER HITS AGAINST THY PLANE ON RUNWAYIt was reported that a Russian Ilyushin-86 on manoeuvre struck a Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-400 awaiting its Moscow-Istanbul flight at Moscow Airport on Sunday, January 3. The accident caused great damage to the tail-end of the Turkish airliner on the runway. A team of technicians dispatched from Istanbul renewed the damaged components of the 737-400 and the airliner returned to Istanbul last night. /Turkiye/
 AWARD FROM PAKISTAN FOR STFAPakistani President Muhammed Refik presented an 'Award for Excellence' to the Turkish STFA contracting firm because of its successful activities in Pakistan. The award was given by the Head of the Islamabad Chamber of Trade and Industry, Akrem Ferid, to the STFA Regional Representative, Murat Tutan. STFA is the first Turkish company to win a tender in Pakistan, with its two highway construction projects in 1992. /Aksam/
 ROADS TO A THOUSAND VILLAGES CLOSED BY SNOW IN THE EASTIn Eastern Anatolia, life is paralyzed due to heavy snow falls. Around a thousand villages were cut off from neighbouring towns or provinces as the roads were blocked. The Eastern Anatolia region fell under the influence of cold and snowy weather coming from the Balkans; the snowfall reached a depth of 37 cm. in Palandoken and 15 cm. in Erzurum, the provincial centre. The Rural Services Regional Directorate stated that work to clear the roads have begun. Citizens were also supported in their efforts to open the roads. /Hurriyet/
 HAKAN SUKUR TO JUVENTUS AT LASTHaving reached an agreement with Juventus' President Agnelli in Zurich, Turkish striker Hakan Sukur came back to Istanbul in order to prepare to move to Italy in a few days. It was reported that the parties shook hands on a contract for $8 million for 4 years; Hakan would play against either Bari or Venezia next week. Meanwhile, the Italian sports press argued that Hakan had come back to Turkey after signing the final contract on Wednesday. /Aksam/
 SUCCESSFUL NAMES OF THE YEARThe monthly finance magazine, the "World of Finance", announced the successful names of 1998. At the end of wide-ranging survey among the business world, academics and members of the press, the Chairman of the Executive Board of Enka Corporation, Sarik Tara, was elected Businessman of the Year. The Chairman of the Central Bank, Gazi Ercel, was Bureaucrat of ther Year, Bulent Eczacibasi was Industrialist of the Year, Bulent Ecevit was Politician of the Year. Academic of the Year was Ilter Turan, Professional Administrator of the Year was Bulent Ozaydinli and the columnist of the year was Osman Arolat. The awards will be presented during a ceremony on 13 January in Istanbul. /Milliyet/
 NOEL CELEBRATIONS IN ISTANBULThe Christian celebrations of Christmas and the Epiphany have ended in Istanbul. There was a large turn-out for during the ceremonies held in the Greek Orthodox Aya Yorgi Church in Cengelkoy, Istanbul.
Meanwhile, Christians living in Buyuk Ada in Istanbul met at Ayios Dimitrios Church to celebrate the Epiphany. It seemed that a lot of Christians from Poland, Germany and America attended the ceremony. /Sabah/
 AWARD TO THE INVENTOR OF THE FIRST TURKISH ROBOTThe company belonging to Hakan Altinay is the inventor of the first industrial robot in Turkey, won the "1998 Award for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises" (SEEs). Hakan Altinay said that they aimed to decrease the total cost of the establishment of automation and the use of robots in factories in Turkey. /Sabah/
 KARACA, A CADIDATE FOR THE AWARD FOR "SERVICE TO HUMANITY"The Chairman of the Turkish Foundation Struggling Against Erosion and Deforestration (TEMA), Hayrettin Karaca, has been nominated for the Award for "Service to Humanity" by the International Lions Club Union. Karaca is the first Turkish candidate for the award; 184-member countries to the union can only propose one candidate for the award. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS
 ECEVIT'S PROGRAMME - BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Fikret Bila, a columnist in the Milliyet daily, reports on the interview he conducted with the Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Ecevit on the possible programme of a DSP minority government which seems to be the sole alternative under the current circumstances. Bila writes:
"Ecevit says that the minority government he will form, if the mandate is given to him,will have a very concise programme; since the fundamental task of such a government, he says, will be to bring the country to the elections in April. He thinks that within such a turbulent political climate it will be hard to pass laws Parliament. Yet there are three particular issues that Ecevit desires to codify: social security reform, banking law, and a law to regulate public personnel's right to unionize. He notes that these three laws are also important in the execution of measures against the economic crisis. Ecevit also notes that there will be a considerable reduction in the number of ministers in the new cabinet. In addition, he insists that he has no intention of postponing the elections in April. Consequently, he seems well-prepared; his targets are to bring the country to the elections without allowing for any instability and to pass three fundamental laws in the Parliament. Under the current political conditions, the brief programme that Ecevit has determined for the DSP minority government seems to be realistic."
 OCALAN:TO AN ISLAND IN ITALY? - BY YALCIN DOGAN (MILLIYET)Yalcın Dogan, a columnist in "Milliyet", asks if Ocalan is going to be sent to an Italian island. A summary of his column is as follows:
"The names of Albania, Tunisia and Sudan are caonnected in relation to Ocalan. All three of them stated to Ankara and Rome that they do not want to take Ocalan . Although the crisis seems over, it is not so. Following the return of the Italian Prime Minister from the US certain developments occurred. First, Ocalan wanted to go to Greece, but Greek Prime Minister Simitis opposed this idea. Then the names of Albania,Tunisia and Sudan came to the fore; they also stated that they would not accept Ocalan. Gambia is unsuitable for Ocalan as he believes that he will be in danger there. Then another alternative came to mind; there is a small island between Italy and Albania where Italy has a military base. This alternative is currently being examined.
The Italians are disturbed by Ocalan and want to expel him as soon as possible. But at the same time they are working very hard to protect the worst terrorist of the twentieth century. Ankara still insists on its extradition demand. However, recent developments show that Italy is not taking it into consideration. A series of legal reasons, even though they may stem from Turkey's legal system, does not change the fact that Italy is protecting a terrorist.
Apart from this, Ankara is insisting on two fundamental points. The first one is not to let Ocalan engage in any activities, and the second one is that whichever country he may go to should not grant him political asylum. The recent developments leave Rome in a tight spot. Not only Turkey's pressure, but also criticism from Italian public opinion and in domestic politics directed at the Prime Minister, leave him with scarcely any space to move. The time has come to make a decision." /Milliyet/
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