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Turkish Press Review, 99-12-30

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

30.12.99

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] NSC DISCUSSES DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN DEVELOPMENTS
  • [02] DISASTER IN BOSPHORUS
  • [03] PLANE CRASHES INTO BLACK SEA
  • [04] TGNA ON HOLIDAY UNTIL JANUARY 15
  • [05] LAST WORD FOR AGCA
  • [06] OCALAN'S APPLICATION IN COURT OF APPEALS
  • [07] STRATEGIC TALKS WITH ISRAEL END
  • [08] KLERIDES EXTENDS GOOD WISHES TO DENKTAS FOR THE NEW YEAR
  • [09] DIPLOMATIC TRAFFIC IN JANUARY
  • [10] MED-TV SEEKING SUPPORT
  • [11] OFFICIAL REQUEST FOR ASLITURK'S EXTRADITION
  • [12] TURKEY FACES 3,880 CASES IN EUROPEAN COURT
  • [13] ANXIETY AND AMBIGUITY IN TURKISH REPUBLIC OF NORTHERN CYPRUS
  • [14] BOMBERS CAPTURED
  • [15] PKK IN UTTER CONFUSION
  • [16] 2 MILLION DOLLARS FROM RELIGIOUS TOURISM
  • [17] FOREIGN MINISTRY ENLARGES EU DEPARTMENT
  • [18] SENTENCES PASSED ON GUILTY PARTIES IN BIRDAL CASE
  • [19] 'UN CONFUSED THE ACCOUNT NUMBER'
  • [20] 100 TRILLION TL TO TRNC
  • [21] ERCEL: "THERE IS NO CHANGE IN MONETARY POLICY"
  • [22] ADDITIONAL TAX'S DEADLINE EXTENDED
  • [23] EXPORTERS ARE HOPEFUL FROM THE YEAR 2000
  • [24] ISTANBUL SHARES YIELD 485 % RETURN DURING 1999
  • [25] BANKERS ADVISE CUSTOMERS TO KEEP RECEIPTS TO AVOID Y2K PROBLEMS
  • [26] G-20 CONTROL FOR OFF-SHORE
  • [27] RASPINO: TURKEY IS OUR PROUD
  • [28] RESTRICTION ON HOT MONEY
  • [29] TURKCELL'S RECORD INVESTMENT
  • [30] FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS
  • [31] THE STRAITS NEED SAFETY PRECAUTIONS BY TAHA AKYOL ( MILLIYET)
  • [32] NARROW ESCAPE BY GUNGOR MENGI (SABAH)

  • [01] NSC DISCUSSES DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN DEVELOPMENTS

    Yesterday, the National Security Council (NSC) met for six hours under the chairmanship of President Suleyman Demirel to discuss domestic and foreign political developments and security issues. A statement issued at the end of the meeting, the first since December 11 EU decision to name Turkey as a candidate for EU membership, stated that the Council had been briefed by relevant security authorities on the activities of separatist, teerrorist and fundamentalist groups and organized gangs. The Council evaluated the measures being taken to deal with such threats to peace and security of the country. The Council also reviewed a report on the Turkish Aviation Society (THK), the statement said. /Turkish Daily News/

    [02] DISASTER IN BOSPHORUS

    Eight hundred tons of fuel oil have leaked from the Volganeft, a Russian ship which split in two after running aground in waters off Istanbul's Florya Menekse shore. The accident was caused by the Lodos (southwestern) wind which began two days ago and has disrupted maritime traffic. The lodos, a strong and unreasonably warm wind from Africa, thus opened the way for a new environmental disaster in the Sea of Marmara.

    According to officials, the Volganeft was bringing 3,463 gross tons of fuel oil from Bulgaria to Ambarli when it ran aground on Wednesday morning a mile off-shore from the Florya Menekse. The jolt, resulting from the ship running aground led to the front cargo hold breaking away from the body of the ship. The fuel oil in the cargo hold flowed into the sea, and the front section of the tanker later sank.

    Because of the strong winds, the ferryboats that provide transportation between the two shores of Istanbul were unable to operate for some time. Large waves created water obstacles on the highway, and some vehicles blocked traffic after their motors got wet and stalled. /Turkish Daily News/

    [03] PLANE CRASHES INTO BLACK SEA

    Turkish rescue teams were, on Wednesday, searching for the wreckage of an Equatorial Guinea cargo plane presumed to have crashed in the Black Sea near the coast at Inebolu, the Anatolia News Agency reports. According to Anatolia the Russian-made Antonov-28, on a flight from Ukon in Ukraine to Tehran, requested permission, on Tuesday, to land in Ankara to refuel but then lost contact. The agency also reported that the five crew members were aboard the cargo plane. The rescue efforts, initiated at the spot where the aircraft gave its SOS call, are being carried out by helicopters, planes and frigates belonging to the Turkish Naval Forces. Authorities refrained from commenting on what the plane's cargo contained. /Turkish Daily News/

    [04] TGNA ON HOLIDAY UNTIL JANUARY 15

    The Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) recently experiencing an intensive agenda due to budget discussions will be on holiday until January 15, 2000. /Aksam/

    [05] LAST WORD FOR AGCA

    Italian Premier Massimo D'Alema, formed the government again, repling to the questions of journalists during a press conference related to the Agca case, he said, " I have no authority to pardon him. If I were, I would forgive everbody, but the final decision belongs to President Carlo Azegli Ciampi or to the Assembly." /Turkiye/

    [06] OCALAN'S APPLICATION IN COURT OF APPEALS

    The application made by the head of the PKK terrorist organization Abdullah Ocalan to amend the decision taken concerning his death sentence arrived in the Office of the Republican Chief Prosecutor in the Court of Appeals yesterday. The Republican Chief Prosecutor of the Court of Appeals, Vural Savas, said that he would examine the application as soon as possible and added that a conclusion could be reached next week. Savas stated that if Savas rejects the application to change the decision, internal legal mechanism concerning Ocalan will end. /Aksam/

    [07] STRATEGIC TALKS WITH ISRAEL END

    The annual strategic talks between Turkey and Israel ended yesterday. The Turkish delegation was headed by the Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen.Edip Baser. During the meetings, the issue of peace talks between Israel and Syria were discussed in detail. The Israeli side guaranteed Turkey that the peace agreement to be reached with Syria was not against Turkey's interests. /Turkiye/

    [08] KLERIDES EXTENDS GOOD WISHES TO DENKTAS FOR THE NEW YEAR

    The President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Rauf Denktas stated that Greek Cypriot Leader Glafkos Klerides had phoned him and extended his best wishes for the New Year. Denktas remarked that Klerides also said that he also hoped that they would see each other in Geneva. Denktas added that he had reciprocated his best wishes for the New Year to Klerides. /Turkiye/

    [09] DIPLOMATIC TRAFFIC IN JANUARY

    Diplomacy will speed up in January, after the end of the Christmas holidays and the holy month of Ramadan. Turkey will host Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreu and Portuguese Foreign Minister Jaime Gama, whose country will hold the next six-month term presidency of the EU. Another important visitor will be Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, to discuss bilateral relations that have recently seen drastic gains and losses between Iran and Turkey. After hosting several foreign delegations, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, at the end of January. Another important diplomatic topic of dicussion in Ankara will be the meetings with European Commission officials scheduled to start in January. Turkish and EU experts will begin to adapt Turkish regulations to EU requirements. /Turkish Daily News/

    [10] MED-TV SEEKING SUPPORT

    The MED-TV, a pro-PKK broadcast, is seeking support in Europe in order to overcome its financial problems. It launched an appeal for assistance campaign throughout Europe. It is reported that 4 million DM has been collected to date as part of the aid campaign. /Turkiye/

    [11] OFFICIAL REQUEST FOR ASLITURK'S EXTRADITION

    The detailed extradition file was prepared by Turkey for the former Mayor of Sisli, Gulay Asliturk, who is was released on bail after being apprehended in London, England and the petition for her extradition to Turkey was delivered to the Royal Attorney-General by the Turkish Embassy in London. This file, which consists of a detailed inventory of crimes claimed to be commited by Asliturk and the courts' decision to arrest her. The judgement will be on 7th January 2000. /Sabah/

    [12] TURKEY FACES 3,880 CASES IN EUROPEAN COURT

    Turkey faces 3,880 court cases at the European Court of Human Rights as of July 1999, Motherland Party (ANAP) Deputy Chairman Bulent Akarcali disclosed yesterday. Akarcali said 2,250 cases have been initiated by Greek Cypriots who claim they lost their land in northern Cyprus. Akarcali stated that the cases filed against Turkey at the European Court are personal applications. He indicated that only two state cases had been initiated against Turkey, by the Greek Cypriot Administration and Denmark. In the Greek Cypriot case the Court has rejected the application three times, but they still have persisted in filing petitions. The ANAP official said the court has ruled 45 times on Turkey and that Ankara has only won four cases, while it has lost 41. /Turkish Daily News/

    [13] ANXIETY AND AMBIGUITY IN TURKISH REPUBLIC OF NORTHERN CYPRUS

    After the results of the EU's Helsinki Summit and the meetings between the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Rauf Denktas and the leader of the Greek-Cypriot Administration, Glafkos Klerides and the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, anxiety resulting from ambiguity regarding the future is increasing in both parts of Cyprus. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ismail Cem, took a short holiday in the Turkish Embassy's summer house 'Villa Fortuna' near Kyrenia with his daugter, son and niece and met Denktas during his holiday. It was stated that this visit's aim was to "convince Denktas". In other words, it has aimed at making Denktas show less reaction to the EU's Helsinki Summit's decision concerning Turkey's candidacy to the EU and concerning the start of the membership negotiations about the Greek-Cypriot Administration. /Cumhuriyet/

    [14] BOMBERS CAPTURED

    Ali Acar, who is claimed to be involved in bombing action activities in five locations, in the name of the terrorist organization IBDA-C, was arrested. It was learned that Acar was the editor-in-chief of the organization's 'Akinci Yolu' magazine for a period of time and had received bomb training in the prison in which he stayed with Mirzabeyoglu. /Cumhuriyet/

    [15] PKK IN UTTER CONFUSION

    According to information obtained from military sources, the PKK terrorist organization is in utter confusion as a result of determined and continuous struggles by Turkish security forces, the Anatolia News Agency reports. As of the end of this year, 1,502 terrorists were reportedly killed during armed confrontations with security forces from January 1-December 27, 1999. Of those, three were regional leaders and another 30 were regimental commanders. Based on PKK failures many of the terrorists began to question the ideology behind living on mountain tops in total destitution, 679 terrorists were successful in deserting the organization during that same period of time.

    Military sources indicate that those who desert the PKK take refuge either with the Iraqi Kurdistan Democrat Party (IKDP) led by Mesud Barzani or the Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) led by Celal Talabani. Additionally, in an effort to cover their tracks, a remaining few come to large cities in Turkey in pursuit of finding jobs. A total of 145 deserters have reportedly turned themselves into the security forces to benefit from the Repentance Law. Based on information obtained from terrorists who have surrendered or been apprehended by security forces, discipline within the PKK has been completely lost and recruitment within Turkey has almost stopped.

    [16] 2 MILLION DOLLARS FROM RELIGIOUS TOURISM

    The year 2000 is the beginning of a new millenium and has spiritual importance for the Christian world as it is the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus. A large sector of the Christian world will visit countries with significant holy places in the year 2000 and Turkey is among these countries. Officials from the Ministry of Tourism, made a statement to 'Sabah' newspaper and said, "As part of religious tourism, 2 million people will come to Turkey to visit the holy places and they are expected to generate two billion dollars in profits. The main concern of the Ministry of Tourism's officials is the lack of facilities and they are looking into how to avoid possible problems. /Sabah/

    [17] FOREIGN MINISTRY ENLARGES EU DEPARTMENT

    The Foreign Ministry has decided to enlarge its general directorate responsible the European Union, within the framework of harmonization of EU regulations. Responding to questions deputy spokesman Sermet Atacanli said there would be an increase in the number of staff to increase the capabilities of the EU section. /Turkish Daily News/

    [18] SENTENCES PASSED ON GUILTY PARTIES IN BIRDAL CASE

    The 17 defendants on trial in connection with the shooting of former Human Rights Association (IHD) President Akin Birdal were sentenced yesterday at Ankara's First State Security Court (DGM), Anatolia News Agency reported. Of the defendants, appearing in court for the last time yesterday to face charges of forming a gang to commit a criminal offence and conspiring to kill someone for political reasons, eleven will face a prison sentence while six were acquitted.

    [19] 'UN CONFUSED THE ACCOUNT NUMBER'

    Six countries, Turkey among them, sent money for a project being financed by the UN in Kenya. Money was transferred in error to the account of an American woman and the UN is responsible for this error. Officials said, "All of these countries did not make the same mistake, therefore the giving the wrong account number could in all possibility be the mistake of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), responsible for operating the project." It was learned that the money was sent to the UNEP by the Ministry of Environment and the information given to Turkey's Embassy in Nairobi. Turkey, France, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Ukrain sent a total of 700,000 dollars. However, the money was sent through the Chase Manhattan Bank and was not credited to the UNEP's account, but to an American woman, Susan Madakor's account. /Cumhuriyet/

    [20] 100 TRILLION TL TO TRNC

    Because of the problems being experienced at the off-shore accounts of Yurtbank in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Turkey will extend 100 trillion TL in emergency loans to the TRNC Finance Ministry. While the activities of Yurtbank in the TRNC have stopped until January 12, 2000, it is expected that this bank will be taken over by the government after this date. /Milliyet/

    [21] ERCEL: "THERE IS NO CHANGE IN MONETARY POLICY"

    The Chairman of the Central Bank, Gazi Ercel, attended a meeting organized by the Association of Cloth Industrialist (TGSD), during which the effects of the monetary policies on the sector were discussed. Ercel said, "The first effects of these policies will be seen this summer. However, the real effect will not be felt until some time later. All the necessary precautions have been taken in order to protect the foreign exchange sectors." /Sabah/

    [22] ADDITIONAL TAX'S DEADLINE EXTENDED

    The deadline for paying the first instalment of the additional estate and motor-vehicles taxes is the evening of the 3th January. The period of payment, which was envisaged to be the 31th December was changed, due to the fact that 31th December is an official holiday. In this framework, the above-mentioned taxes will be able to be paid up to the evening of the 3th January 2000. /Turkiye/

    [23] EXPORTERS ARE HOPEFUL FROM THE YEAR 2000

    The Chairman of the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), Okan Oguz, stated that the monetary programme announced by the Central Bank was Turkey's last chance to take place in the modern world. Oguz delivered a speech in a press conference during which the results of the research titled the "Exportation's Appearance 1997-1999" was announced. Oguz said, "The Central Bank's monetary policy made us hopeful for the first time in the last 30 years. We are on the eve of ridding ourselves of inflation troubles. The average of 8.7% which is envisaged by the government for exports is below the capacity of exporters. Our capacity is enough to go above this. Stable sources are necessary in order to secure economic stability, which can be ensured by exportation." /Turkiye/

    [24] ISTANBUL SHARES YIELD 485 % RETURN DURING 1999

    The average return on investments in the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) was a hefty 485.4 % during the entire of 1999, which, according to stock market statistics, made it the world's second hottest major emerging market this year. The IMKB benchmark IMKB-100 Index closed the year at a record-high 15208.78 points, up 12610.97 points, or 485.4 % from 2597.91 points at the last trading session of 1998. The Greek Cypriot stock market was the hottest emerging one this year with a 600 % return. Most of the rise occurred in the last quarter of the year, as investors brushed aside earthquake worries and showed their confidence in the government's tough reform plans. Traders said the stock market rose sharply in line with a wave of interest rate plunges. Bond yields and bank rates have fallen since the end of October. General optimism and a strong market sentiment sparked stock buying too, brokers said. Finally, a $4 billion stand-by agreement with the IMF, endorsed by the Fund's Managing Board on December 22, triggered extra stock buying. /Turkish Daily News/

    [25] BANKERS ADVISE CUSTOMERS TO KEEP RECEIPTS TO AVOID Y2K PROBLEMS

    Turkish bankers have advised their customers to keep receipts of all banking transactions in order to avoid possible software problems due to the millennium bug. "Although the Turkish financial sector is fully Y2K compliant, the customers should keep better dcouments" said Cahit Sabir, head of the data processing and technology department of the Turkish Banks Association". "Yet, there is no need to worry about major problems", he added. /Turkish Daily News/

    [26] G-20 CONTROL FOR OFF-SHORE

    The Finance Steadiness Forum (FSF), which depended on G-20 Group, in order to better control Off-shore centres, established an Off-shore Finance Centres Working Group. The activities in the Off-shore centres will be monitored closely and informing the member countries regarding the financial movements here, global crisis will also be prevented. /Hurriyet/

    [27] RASPINO: TURKEY IS OUR PROUD

    A member of the 'Tofas Oto Trade`'s Executive Board Italian Ferrucio Raspino said that they are proud of the Fiat's and Koc Group's Bursa factory. He stressed, "The machines, robots and technology are the same but the workers are different. The quality of products manufactured at our Bursa factory is better than the products, of our other factories." Raspino declared, "This year we have sold 280 thousand automobiles. Next year, we expect to raise this number to 300 thousand." He also stated that local production 'Marea` and 'Brava`, has started during this year and there was a great interest with a waiting list for both models of cars. /Hurriyet/

    [28] RESTRICTION ON HOT MONEY

    The Chairman of the National Productivity Center (MPM)'s Executive Board, Nazim Duzenli, in order to get rid of negative aspects of 'hot money`, requested a judgement that foreign sourced investments should be restricted for a minimum of one year before taken out of the country, and exporters should not be allowed to leave 30% of their income abroad. /Turkiye/

    [29] TURKCELL'S RECORD INVESTMENT

    Turkcell declared that they will realize a 1.5-billion-dollar investment in the year 2000. Hitherto, the company has made investments of 2.5 billion dollars. /Turkiye/

    [30] FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS

    [31] THE STRAITS NEED SAFETY PRECAUTIONS BY TAHA AKYOL ( MILLIYET)

    Columnist Taha Akyol commented on the accident in the Straits. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "The fuel-oil tanker accident happened close to the shores of Florya, Istanbul, drawing attention to tanker traffic in The Straits. Pipeline and Transport Corporation (BOTAS) Chairman believes that the critical situation of the Straits has been proved once again by this accident. He stated how alarming it was saying that every day an average of 150 ships passed through the Straits. If the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline project does not go ahead Caspian oil will transported through the Blak Sea, and 2,000 ships have to pass through these narrow Straits. The Straits will become a channel of tankers and accidents will increase accordingly. As traffic is today, 150 serious accidents have already occurred in ten yeears period. If 2,000 tankers pass through the channel you can imagine how much more the accident rate will increase!

    The Chairman of BOTAS, Gokhan Yardim said that former COMECON countries used to trade between themselves and did not depend on the Straits for their commercial activities. However, now that these countries have opened up to the world their foreign trade will grow and their demands on the Straits will increase. In consequence, even if the Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline project goes ahead the Straits need attention and rules for traffic.

    Whatever the cause, rescue attempts should be implemented immediately for accidents at sea and particularly accidents concerning petrol tankers. The equipment needed for search and rescue attempts, fires, barriers and syphoning spillage amounted close to $ 300 million. Turkey cannot avoid spending the monies for this purpose and has to improve ways to benefit from the surrounding seas and reduced the cost of the 'risk' to a minimum by taking the required safety measures.

    The Russian tanker accident should make us to think the matter over and take the required safety measures."

    [32] NARROW ESCAPE BY GUNGOR MENGI (SABAH)

    Columnist Gungor Mengi commented on the sinking of a Russian petroleum tanker off the coast of Florya, Istanbul. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "A Russian petroleum tanker was grounded in Florya, Istanbul due to a storm and split into two. As the ship was small and the the amount of oil was limited to 800 tons, an important environmental disaster was averted.

    Every year 50 thousand ships pass through the Straits. The amount of petroleum carried by tankers equals 70 million tons. The tanker which ran aground in Istanbul yesterday, could have been carrying up to 40-50 tons of petroleum and this accident would have occurred in the Bosphorus Straits.

    Also the possibility of a fire from a spark and the spread of oil by winds and in consequence the drying up of flora in the Bosphorus could have made the cleaning up of the disaster have worse results than the recent earthquake.

    It took three years and amounted to $ 18 billion to clean up the petroleum spillage from the Exxon Walders tanker, which sank off the shores of Alaska in 1989. This is no joking matter. Turkey has to protect its Straits and state clearly to all that there is no alternative but for the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline to carry the Caspian oil to world markets. This is not exploitation but a right!"

    Note: The Turkish Press Review will not be published until January 3, 2000, as it is a New Years Holiday. We wish our readers a very happy New Year...


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