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Turkish Press Review, 99-02-24

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

24.02.99

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] OCALAN IS CHARGED WITH TREASON
  • [02] PANIC IN ATHENS
  • [03] COUNCIL OF EUROPE OFFICIAL CANCELS ANKARA VISIT
  • [04] DEMONSTRATIONS AT HOME AND ABROAD FOLLOWING OCALAN'S CAPTURE
  • [05] GREAT GOVERNMENT INCENTIVES FOR INVESTMENT IN THE EAST
  • [06] TRADING EMBARGO AGAINST GREECE
  • [07] CALLS FOR BLOODY RERISALS BY MED-TV
  • [08] A CAMPAIGN BY TURKS LIVING ABROAD AGAINST MED-TV
  • [09] MORNINGSTAR IN ANKARA
  • [10] TURKEY MIGHT SEND TROOPS TO BAKU
  • [11] JAPAN RATING INSTITUTION IN ANKARA
  • [12] GENERAL YALMAN IN SYRIA
  • [13] LAST DAY FOR CANDIDATE LISTS
  • [14] TREASURY LOOKS FOR ONE BILLION EUROS
  • [15] NO CONSENSUS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKERS
  • [16] YOUNG BUSINESSMEN SUPPORT THE EASTERN RECOVERY PLAN
  • [17] ANAP MAINTAINS ITS STARS FOR THE ELECTION
  • [18] AGAR RESIGNED FROM DYP
  • [19] NAIM SULEYMANOGLU WILL RUN FOR BURSA MP
  • [20] KENAN AYDIN: `MODEL ENTREPRENEUR' IN GERMANY
  • [21] BORUSAN THIRD IN EUROPE
  • [22] BARADAN IN FAR EAST
  • [23] RELATIONS WITH EUROPE BECOMING STRAINED - BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)
  • [24] OCALAN, KURDISH INTELLECTUALS AND US - BY A.TANER KISLALI (CUMHURIYET)
  • [25] IT IS THE TIME FOR A REFORM IN OUR HIGH-SCHOOLS - BY ISMET SOLAK (HURRIYET)

  • [01] OCALAN IS CHARGED WITH TREASON

    Abdullah Ocalan, the chief of the outlawed PKK who is being held on the south Marmara island of Imrali, was formally arrested on Tuesday following the completion of his interrogation. Ocalan has been charged with treason, particularly in reference to a speech he made on the pro-Kurdish MED-TV, and numerous counts of murder in the southern city of Adana and its environs over the recent years, Ankara State Security Court (DGM) Judge Mehmet Maras announced. Ocalan's first trial session will take place on Wednesday on the island itself by the Ankara DGM. The other DGMs have already tranferred thousands of files on Ocalan, the Diyabakir DGM alone sending nearly 1,400.

    Meanwhile, Turkey has been facing intense international pressure for a fair trial for Ocalan. On Tuesday, it slammed a recent statement to that effect by the European Union (EU), rejecting any intervention in its independent judiciary. In response to the EU statement issued on Monday, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued its own statement, stating that Turkey is a State of Law and is complying with its international legal responsibilities. "The Turkish Judiciary is independent; trials are fair and transparent and, in principal, court hearings are open to the public. Depending on the judges' decision, everyone, regardless of whether they are Turkish or foreign, can watch them. However, there are no circumstances under which we can accept the questioning of the independence of our courts," the Ministry statement said.

    In a further development, the Governor of the Emergency Rule Region (OHAL) has prepared three separate announcements calling on active PKK members to surrender to the authorities now that Ocalan has been captured. The appeals are aimed at the terrorists themselves, their families and the inhabitants of the region. They will be written down and distributed to the most distant regions of the Southeast by helicopters. OHAL Governor Aydin Arslan said that, in Diyarbakir, members had already begun laying down their arms. /Milliyet_Aksam_Turkiye/

    [02] PANIC IN ATHENS

    The reverberations from President Suleyman Demirel's veiled warning against Turkey's western neighbour, Greece, for sheltering terrorism continued to spread yesterday. During his flight home on Tuesday from the Philippines, Demirel answered questions on the plane and stated that Athens supported terrorism. He added Turkey reserved the right of self-defence for acts carried out by Greece in support of the terrorist activities conducted by the PKK. Demirel stressed that whoever was supporting those who murder innocent people, had blood on their hands and repeated his call for active PKK members to surrender as soon as possible.

    Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit announced that Turkey was stepping up lobbying efforts at an international level to have Greece included among those countries which support terrorism. However, he did not give any detailed information about what specifically was being done by Turkey.

    Meanwhile, the Turkish Foreign Ministry criticized the European Union for turning a blind eye to Greek actions as an EU country which, after being caught red-handed, had confessed to being the accomplice of a terrorist organization. A Foreign Ministry statement released on Tuesday stated that there can be no explanation for, on the one hand, the EU's silence towards Greece's acts and, on the other, its pressure on Turkey to allow her judiciary system to be monitored. The statement said that Ankara would continue its fight against terrorism and would take any steps necessary to ensure the peace of the nation.

    The political parties in Turkey have been critical of Greek support for PKK terrorism. The Leader of the the Republicab People's Party (CHP), Deniz Baykal, said yesterday at his party meeting that Greece ought to assure Turkey that it would accept its wrong-doing. Additionally, it ought to guarantee Turkey that it would not support Turkey's enemies anymore.

    Democratic Turkey Party (DTP) Chairman Husamettin Cindoruk stated that Greece should reassure Turkey by closing down the training camps in its territories and end its support of terrorism.

    The Motherland Party (ANAP) Deputy Chairman, Bulent Akarcali, declared that Greece had been carrying out anti-Turkish activities for years and that these activities were not limited to support for terrorism alone.

    On the other hand, there has been chaos on the Greek side. Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis convened an emergency meeting of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Council yesterday. According to the Greek press, the meeting discussed how to react to a possible incursion by Turkey. The Greek Army also went on a state of alert and the Greek Navy was also said to have increased its patrols. Meanwhile, a former Greek Navy Admiral, Adonis Naxakis was interrogated by a prosecutor in Athens for bringing Ocalan illegally to Greece a few weeks ago. /Milliyet_Turkiye_Aksam/

    [03] COUNCIL OF EUROPE OFFICIAL CANCELS ANKARA VISIT

    The Head of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly on Tuesday canceled a visit to Ankara to check on trial preparations for Ocalan saying Turkey had told him that he was not welcome. Russell Johnston, a British Liberal Democrat, said that he wanted to visit Turkey this week.

    Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights turned down the application by Ocalan's lawyers to take precautionary measures before the legal process began. At the end the meeting yesterday, the Court rejected an application asking for precautionary measures which foresee that the chief of the terrorist organization will be able to meet his foreign lawyers and to be examined by those doctors assigned to him by Ocalan's lawyers. /Aksam/

    [04] DEMONSTRATIONS AT HOME AND ABROAD FOLLOWING OCALAN'S CAPTURE

    Demonstrations have continued unabated in many parts of the world following Ocalan's capture by Turkey. It has been claimed that 18 people had died by the end of the demonstrations against Turkey in Senendec, Iran. According to the opponents of the regime in Iran, police had opened fire against the people who were demonstrating in protest at Ocalan's capture by Turkey; many were wounded and 270 demonstrators were arrested.

    Germany has begun trial procedures immediately against Kurdish demonstrators who occupied Greek Embassies and Consulates last week. One of the protestors received an eight-month prison sentence, while three others were given between five and six months for an assault on the Greek Embassy in Stuttgart.

    Italian authorities stepped up security against any incident that may occur during Wednesday's national basketball game between Turkey and Italy. PKK supporters had carried out protests in Rome.

    There were also clashes both in rural areas and urban centres in Turkey the week after Ocalan was captured. Security forces continued their operations in the rural areas of the Souheastern provinces of Siirt and Sirnak, killing 14 terrorists. There were also incidents in central Diyarbakir. A group of police officers was fired upon as they tried to persuade store owners to unlock and reopen their stores. In Batman, attackers threw a hand grenade into an elementary school, destroying the Ataturk bust in the school yard and shattering the windows. /Turkiye/Milliyet/

    [05] GREAT GOVERNMENT INCENTIVES FOR INVESTMENT IN THE EAST

    The governmental action plan to induce the economic and industrial recovery of Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia, following the capture of the PKK leader Ocalan, will be clarified by early March. It is reported that the "first aid" package will cover the provision of both vehicles and equipment needed to enable industrial investment as well as the allocation of considerable financial incentives. The project, which is being carried out coordinated by the State Planning Organization (DPT) with the participation of the Treasury and the Ministry of Finance, predominantly aims to expedite the construction of organized industrial regions, the improvement of public health and education services and the implemetation of many investments that will reduce the rate of unemployment in the region. Meanwhile, it is also reported that the Treasury is seeking foreign finance in order to meet the cost of the comprehensive project. /Hurriyet/

    [06] TRADING EMBARGO AGAINST GREECE

    The Turco-Greek Business Council decided to freeze economic relations with Greece at the end of the meeting held yesterday under the Chairmanship of Turkish businessman Rahmi Koc. The decision will be announced today by the Council. The decision will cut Turco-Greek trade relations which are in "hibernation". /Milliyet/

    [07] CALLS FOR BLOODY RERISALS BY MED-TV

    The PKK broadcasting organization Med-TV, based in London, began to call on the supporters of the PKK all around the world to engage in bloody reprisals following the capture and conveyance of Ocalan to Turkey. An example of this was issued on 9 February 1999, declaring, " We have nothing to lose in an climate where we have no leader. We have to carry on our actions in the most ruthless way possible until he is either released or his safety is guaranteed by international organizations. All military, political, economic and social institutions in Turkey should be assumed to be targets."/Sabah/

    [08] A CAMPAIGN BY TURKS LIVING ABROAD AGAINST MED-TV

    The 'Crisis Desk' formed at the Prime Ministry decided that a campaign against MED-TV ought to be started by the Turkish community abroad. Turks living in those provinces or cities where MED-TV broadcasts are received, are to protest to the local administrations that the inflammatory programmes broadcat by the said television channel ought to be stopped. It was reported that, in Belgium, a great number of Turks had already asked the local authorities to stop MED-TV broadcasts and that these requests were being considered. It was also learnt that the Belgian Government had relayed the complaints to the English Government as the broadcasts were made from England. /Sabah/

    [09] MORNINGSTAR IN ANKARA

    The US Ambassador to the Caspian Basin, Richard Morningstar, held meetings in Ankara with the Minister of Energy, Ziya Aktas, Undersecretary Yurdakul Yigitguden and the Deputy Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs, Mithat Balkan. Following the meetings, Morningstar held a press conference declaring that Turkey should provide incentives needed in order to persuade oil companies to commit themselves to the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. /Aksam/

    [10] TURKEY MIGHT SEND TROOPS TO BAKU

    In a commentary in one of the most influential Russian newspapers, Nezavisimaya, it was remarked that great strides have been taken in furthering the process of military cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan. The newspaper also added, "If the US decided not to establish bases in Azerbaijan, Turkey would most certainly deploy its own troops on these bases. Nezavisimaya went on to say that this cooperation would be a guarantee of safety for the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline. /Sabah/

    [11] JAPAN RATING INSTITUTION IN ANKARA

    A delegation from the Japan Credit Rating Institution (JCR) came to Ankara after completing their series of meetings in Istanbul. The delegation met representatives of the Turkish private sector and was informed about the developments of the Turkish economy. The delegation will meet representatives from the Treasury, the Ministry of Finance, the State Planning Organization, the Central Bank and the Privatization Administration. JCR officials will leave Turkey on 26 February. /Aksam/

    [12] GENERAL YALMAN IN SYRIA

    The Commander of the Second Army, General Aytac Yalman, went to Syria yesterday accompanying representatives from the Office of the Chief of General Staff and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Diplomatic sources announced that the visit was the natural process of the Adana Agreement between Turkey and Syria. Turkish and Syrian military and diplomatic representatives will discuss the Adana process. /Aksam/

    [13] LAST DAY FOR CANDIDATE LISTS

    Political parties will submit their Parliamentary and local candidates' lists for the forthcoming elections to the Higher Board of Elections (YSK) until 17:00 today. Today is also the deadline for those who want to apply to become independent Parliamentary candidates. The YSK had declared that the 21 parties which will run in the elections should nominate a total number of 1,6 million candidates to run for Parliament, Mayors and Municipal Assembly memberships. /Cumhuriyet/

    [14] TREASURY LOOKS FOR ONE BILLION EUROS

    Following positive statements concerning the Turkish economy by IMF and the World Bank, the Treasury started a road show for a one-billion Euro loan. It is reported that the General Director of Foreign Economic Relations within the Treasury Undesecretariat, Aydin Karaoz and the Deputy General Director, Ali Gonulal, have been maintained their contacts with representatives of banks and financial institutions in London, Paris, Madrid, Luxembourg and Frankfurt. The German Deutstche Bank and Commerzbank, it is reported, are expected to give a positive answer to the request for a loan to Turkey. Aydin Karaoz said that the Turkish economy was improving and inflation was decreasing due to economic measures and that the confidence felt in foreign economic circles had been increasing towards Turkey. /Turkiye/

    [15] NO CONSENSUS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKERS

    No agreements could be reached during the third bargaining meeting between the government and the Turk-Is Trade Union on behalf of 500 thousand public workers. The government retreated from the idea of providing a 10-million-TL wage rise for each of the second, third and fourth 6-month periods within public contracts. This step down on the part of government, explained as the consequence of a "false estimation", shocked labor representatives whereas Semsi Denizer, the General Secretary of Turk-Is, said that they demand that Ecevit take up the issue. /Cumhuriyet/

    [16] YOUNG BUSINESSMEN SUPPORT THE EASTERN RECOVERY PLAN

    Hamdi Akin, the Chairman of the Turkish Young Businessmen's Association (TUGIAD), said that, following the resolution of the question of terrorism in Eastern and Souteastern Anatolia, the economic recovery of the region should be adopted as a state policy. Akin emphasized that the most important obstacle to the flow of investment into the region is the problem of transportation, which must be tackled by the government as soon as possible. /Hurriyet/

    [17] ANAP MAINTAINS ITS STARS FOR THE ELECTION

    The Motherland Party (ANAP) has maintained most of its ever-present party figures as Parliamentary candidates for the forthcoming elections in April. It is reported that Mesut Yilmaz, the leader of the party, has recently launched initiatives to determine the list of both Parliamentary and local candidates, striving to maintain the places of some politicians who had lost the in-party pre-elections. Meanwhile, the Bursa independent MP, Turhan Tayan, former Minister of Defence and a former MP for the True Path Party (DYP), declared that he had proposed his Parliamentary candidacy for ANAP in order to be elected from Bursa again. /Hurriyet/

    [18] AGAR RESIGNED FROM DYP

    Mehmet Agar, former Minister of the Interior and the Elazig MP for the True Path Party (DYP), has resigned from his party. Declaring his decision in a press conference yesterday, Agar said that he will attend the elections as an independent Parliamentary candidate for Elazig again. Agar said, "The marginal oligarchy around the leaders, who pursues only its own interests, alienated me from my party." /Hurriyet/

    [19] NAIM SULEYMANOGLU WILL RUN FOR BURSA MP

    Naim Suleymanoglu, the Turkish World and Olympic Champion weight-lifter, whose world records could not be broken for more than 10 years, applied to become the independent Parliamentary candidate for Bursa. /Cumhuriyet/

    [20] KENAN AYDIN: `MODEL ENTREPRENEUR' IN GERMANY

    `Business Week', a world-renowned economic magazine, presented Kenan Aydin, a German-resident Turkish businessman who owns a construction firm and who has been living in Germany for 18 years, as the `Model Entrepreneur' of the year. The magazine also published an article concerning the significant role played by Turks in the German economy, in which it was said, "Turks, who helped Germany become a gigantic industrial power after it had been totally demolished due to the the Second World War, currently constitute 10 percent of the total labor force in Germany. They also prevent a rise in the rate of unemployment with their diligence, particularly in the service sector." Meanwhile the magazine also criticized the barriers which remain blocking in front of dual-citizenship for German-resident Turks. /Hurriyet/

    [21] BORUSAN THIRD IN EUROPE

    The Chairman of Borusan Holdings' Administrative Board, Ahmet Kocabiyik, stated that following its merger with the establishments of the German Mannesman company in Izmit last year, Borusan Boru reached the third place in welded pipe production output in Europe. Kocabiyik pointed out that, after the merger, production had been increased to over 500.000 tonnes. /Sabah/

    [22] BARADAN IN FAR EAST

    The two metres square ceramic panes painted by the famous Turkish painter, Umran Baradan, entitled "Hummin-Birds" were delivered to the `National Museum' in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, by the Malaysian Cultural Minister, Dato Teng Gaik Guan. The handing-over took place during a ceremony attended by the Turkish Ambassador to Kuala Lumpur, Ferhat Ataman, and Turkish Cultural Advisor Selda Sagiroglu. /Sabah/

    [23] RELATIONS WITH EUROPE BECOMING STRAINED - BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

    In his column, Sami Kohen writes about the after-effects of the capture of Ocalan and how they were differently interpreted in Turkey and Europe. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "It seemed likely that the effects of the post-Ocalan period would be seen in relations between Greece and Turkey and then in Turco-European relations. After the links betweeen Greece and the PKK were revealed, Ankara hardened its stance towards Athens and warned that it would take the necessary measures to protect itself if the Simitis Administration did not change its policy... We shall see what the coming days will bring concerning these relations. However Ankara expects its European friends to show the right path to Greece. It is disturbed that the EU remains silent over Greek complicity in the matter and, what is more, tries to interfere in the Turkish legal system.... The reactions seen European countries over the capture of Ocalan have puzzled the Turkish public. Some European politicians, and in general the European press have turned a blind eye to Ocalan's terrorist activities and taken it on themselves to defend him. Europeans were more interested with the demonstrations taking place in their own countries and somehow related the PKK with the Kurdish question. As if this was not enough, Europe has begun a campaign against the Turkish legal system which will try Ocalan and requested both a 'fair trial' and to send 'foreign observers' to the trial. Furthermore, it asked for a political solution.... Expecting a different official approach from the EU, Ankara therefore raised its voice against its European friends...Recently, many Turkish officials, led by Prime Minister Ecevit stated that the trial would be fair, foreigners could be allowed as spectators but not as observers, and any interference which would cast a shadow on Turkey's sovereign rights would not be permitted."

    [24] OCALAN, KURDISH INTELLECTUALS AND US - BY A.TANER KISLALI (CUMHURIYET)

    Prof. Ahmet Taner Kislali, a columnist in the `Cumhuriyet' daily, reflects on the possibility of a reconciliation between Turkish and Kurdish intellectuals, which will rely upon a consensus on the founding principles of the Republic. Kislali writes:

    "There are two important faults- one made by us and the other by those intellectuals of Kurdish origin. To begin with, my friend Serafettin Elci, a former Kurdish-origin MP and a well-known Kurdish intellectual, told me years ago that the Turkish Republic would be compelled to consider Kurdish intellectuals as counterparts when it realized that the armed struggle against the PKK would fail in time. Yet he became the one who failed; Turkey succeeded in struggling against PKK terrorism and Ocalan. Now the Kurdish intellectuals are admitting that the ethnic terrorism of the PKK has always led to an impasse.

    It is easier to see faults from outside. Dursun Atilgan, the Chairman of the German Ataturkist Thought Society, sent me a long letter, in which he draws attention to two points. First of all, he says that Prime Minister Ecevit's reply to European efforts to enforce a legal control over the trial procedure of Ocalan has become effective. Ecevit had stated that Europe is the last to have the right to speak on this issue. Atilgan also notes that the PKK attacks in several European cities have helped Europeans to understand what an outrageous organization the PKK is. However, Atilgan emphasizes a second point as well. He claims that those video films of Ocalan concerning his conveyance to Turkey, where he is shown as being somewhat helpless, made no positive impact on the European public. Atilgan mentions that many of his German friends tell him that it would have been sufficient if Turkey had shown that the terrorist was alive and had declared that he would be tried justly. Instead of showing Ocalan, Turkey ought to have shown those doctors, teachers, women and children massacred by the PKK.

    This country belongs to all of us. We should learn from our former errors. The state should not consider that the issue has ended and interpret the capture of Ocalan as the final chapter; we still have a long way to go. On the other hand, our intellectuals of Kurdish origin, who are to lead their own people, should accept the virtue of backing away from committing errors.

    There is just one denominator on which we are to agree: a single country, a single flag, and a single official language. This is the prerequisite for accepting the legitimacy of both `sub-cultures' and `sub-identities'. This is the prerequisite for us to maintain that the `national identity' is also a synthesis of various sub-cultures, and there can be no `national culture' without sub-cultures. "

    [25] IT IS THE TIME FOR A REFORM IN OUR HIGH-SCHOOLS - BY ISMET SOLAK (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Ismet Solak looks into the question of reform in education. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Leaving the parties' announcements of the election candidates aside, I attended the 'Council of Education'. The Education Minister, Metin Bostancioglu, stated that now was the time for a reform in our High Schools. He added with self-confidence that, the 16th Council for National Education had been convened to restructure the High Schools, taking vocational-technical education as its basis...The great interest shown in this meeting of the Council is pleasing and, as continuity is a must for State affairs, this tradition should be carried on...The Education Minister stated that the public attached great significance to education and parents were doing their best to educate their children. He added that people expected higher education to be a solution to unemployment. However, Bostancioglu stated that what was required was well-trained High School graduates. Therefore, the Council would open a new era due to its decisions concerning the matter."


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