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Turkish Press Review, 00-01-03

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

03.01.00

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] DAY OF PRAISE
  • [02] CEM: "THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE IS THE CAUCASUS"
  • [03] SELCUK: "LAST WORD ON OCALAN BELONGS TO EUROPE"
  • [04] TIME FOR CRITICAL DECISIONS
  • [05] NATIONAL EDUCATION MINISTRY'S VENTURES
  • [06] OSMAN OCALAN'S CONFESSION
  • [07] BIG GESTURE FROM KUWAIT
  • [08] AGE OF RETIREMENT CONSIDERED AT CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
  • [09] RAMADAN SUPPER ORGANIZED BY CHP
  • [10] TURKEY TO PURCHASE AWACS PLANES
  • [11] NEW PERIOD IN MONEY
  • [12] LOAN DISCUSSIONS WITH THE WORLD BANK
  • [13] VENTURES FOR ISTANBUL
  • [14] TURKISH SHIP SAVES LIFE
  • [15] TURKISH AIRLINES JOINS EUROPEAN AIRLINE MAINTENANCE ORGANISATION
  • [16] BLACK SEA MAY SWALLOW LAKE TERKOS
  • [17] MORE FEMALE PROFESSORS IN TURKEY
  • [18] 'NIGHT OF POWER`
  • [19] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
  • [20] A STRONG TURKEY BY SUKRU ELEKDAG (MILLIYET)
  • [21] FOR THE FUTURE.... BY GUNGOR MENGI (SABAH)

  • [01] DAY OF PRAISE

    Today, President Suleyman Demirel and Premier Bulent Ecevit will attend the opening ceremony at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport of its new Foreign Terminal, building which cost 150 billion TL and has the capacity to handle 14 million passengers per year. The Terminal is the largest in Europe with a carpark for seven thousand vehicles, runaway, and environmental planning. Only at Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Frankfurt and Chicago Airports can be seen a similar technological system. The giant facility was completed in 22 months using the latest technological developments. /Aksam/

    [02] CEM: "THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE IS THE CAUCASUS"

    The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ismail Cem, stating that the conflict in Chechnya affected the South Caucasus, said, "The most important issue for us is that of the Caucasus in the year 2000". Cem was a guest on a programme broadcast by TRT in which he evaluated the changes in 1999. He was also elected 'Man of the Year' by the audience and received his plate from the General Director of TRT, Yucel Yener. During the programme, Cem also spoke on the continuing conflict in Chechnya: "This issue is having a negative impact on its neighbours such as Georgia. However, Turkey will continue in solidarity with Georgia in every way. Our government has a healthy approach towards the conflict in Chechnya." /Turkiye/

    [03] SELCUK: "LAST WORD ON OCALAN BELONGS TO EUROPE"

    In statements to the 'Sabah' newspaper the Chairman of the Supreme Court of Appeals, Sami Selcuk, said, "We adopted the rules of European laws of our own free will and, thus, we gave out the message: 'Turkey is a country that considers the law as supreme, no matter what happens'. If we have entered this process, then we should leave behind our personal worries and ideologies. We will surrender to objective laws. The verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights will result in three points: ECHR decisions interpret the articles of the European Agreement on Human Rights and we are authorized to do so. Secondly, it will ensure the payment of compensation to the victim and the third and most important point is the obligation of all parties to obey these verdicts. Turkey should adher to the ECHR's precautionary measures. Turkey has seized the opportunity of proving that it is a state that abides by the supremacy of the law and, therefore, should make use of this opportunity and wait for ECHR's final verdict." /Sabah/

    [04] TIME FOR CRITICAL DECISIONS

    With the new Millennium, Turkey's coalition government has to deal with a number of controversial issues in Parliament. Turkey's 57th coalition government, made up of the Democratic Left Party (DSP), the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and the Motherland Party (ANAP), has run the country harmoniously for the last seven months. Political circles are now wondering whether this harmony will survive during debates of controversial issues. The biggest of them are the Presidential Election, Ocalan's death sentence, Constitutional amendments to bring Turkey in line with the EU's criteria, the headscarf issue and various investigations. /Turkish Daily News/

    [05] NATIONAL EDUCATION MINISTRY'S VENTURES

    The National Education Ministry is planning to put three ventures into effect in the year 2000 in order to attain EU standards in education. The Ministry is targeting an increase in the quality of the education it provides with its plans for 'Modernization of the Professional Technical Educational Establishments` and 'Strengthening Professional Education in Turkey`, which will be implemented thanks to a loan from the EU. With the 'Support for Primary Education`venture, the education level of poor students is aimed to be raised. The cost of the ventures is about 193.5 million EUROs. /Hurriyet/

    [06] OSMAN OCALAN'S CONFESSION

    The PKK, finished thanks to the determined work of Turkish soldiers, has declared its end at its so-called 7th Congress in Iran. Abdullah Ocalan's brother Osman Ocalan confessed, "The Republic of Turkey came at us with tanks, planes and traitors among us, detaining our leader. We have lost the armed struggle." Stressing that morale had collapsed, Ocalan lashed out harshly at Cemil Bayik and Duran Kalkan, concerning the laying-down of weapons and said, "They say, 'let's roll it up`. Is there anyone who believes that we can do this? How will they manage this when they couldn't do it at the most suitable time?" Ocalan also addressed the youngmen, who had been sent into the mountains and fed vain fantasies for years: "One may go into the mountains and continue to fight; we won't interfere with them." /Aksam/

    [07] BIG GESTURE FROM KUWAIT

    Kuwait has not forgotten Turkey's support during the Gulf War and has once again helped Turkey by loaning 20 million Kuwaiti Dinar (65 million dollars) in order to ensure the implementation of the Yesilcam System. This project aims to obtain large water supply for Istanbul, 145 million cubic metres of drinking water. As part of the project, two dams will be built near Istanbul thanks to Kuwaiti loan. In addition, this agreement recently signed between Kuwait and Turkey recently includes the construction of one water channel pipeline and some necessary tunnels. The scheme's other goals are the construction of an irrigation plant with a capacity of almost 500,000 cubic metres. /Turkiye/

    [08] AGE OF RETIREMENT CONSIDERED AT CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

    The Constitutional Court is to consider the opposition parties' application for the abolition of 'the Social Security Law` which was protested strongly against by the workers. The Virtue Party and the True Path Party defended the view that the Law was indirect violation of the principles of 'equality` and 'the superiority of the law` as laid in the Constitution which envisaged the age of retirement as being 58 for women and 60 for men. /Aksam/

    [09] RAMADAN SUPPER ORGANIZED BY CHP

    For the first time the Republican People's Party (CHP), has attended a supper to break the day's fast with its Chairman, the Central Executive Board and a delegation of the Party Assembly. The CHP's meal was organized in Bolu on December 31st and announced in a press relese for the first time. The Party authorities declared that the CHP have always been respectful of religions and remain so today. /Hurriyet/

    [10] TURKEY TO PURCHASE AWACS PLANES

    The Minister of National Defence, Sabahattin Cakmakoglu, stated that Turkey would purchase four AWACS planes during this year which will cost Turkey 1.5 million dollars. AWACS are known as for their early warning systems which pinpoint the exact position of enemy missile and rocket emplacements. Moreover, if these rockets attempt to lock in on any planes, then AWACS can warn the pilots of these planes. /Sabah/

    [11] NEW PERIOD IN MONEY

    Tomorrow, the Central Bank will begin to enforce the new rate of foreign exchange and monetary policies that it drew up in accordance with the stand-by agreement with the IMF. In parallel with these policies, the new arrangements for the operation of the markets within the Central Bank will be implemented as from today. In addition, how foreign exchange is set will be changed as from today. During the new period, the Central Bank's dollar and Euro foreign exchange purchase rates valid at 16:00 will be the official purchase rate for foreign exchange. /Cumhuriyet/

    [12] LOAN DISCUSSIONS WITH THE WORLD BANK

    Conditions for a loan amounting to 3 billion dollars that the World Bank is planning to give to Turkey will be determined during negotiations to be held in January. A series of discussions will be held between officials from the World Bank and the government concerning the 'economic reform' and 'harmonization within the financial sector' loans. Then, according to the results of these discussions, the loan applications will be sent to the Executive Board of the World Bank for approval. Economic reform loans will be used for Turkey's structural reforms in the agriculture, retirement, privatization, energy and communication sectors. /Cumhuriyet/

    [13] VENTURES FOR ISTANBUL

    The selection stage has been reached for the Istanbul Tube Crossing venture, which is an alternative to a third bridge and is planned to be implemented using a Japanese loan, and the construction of the Gebze-Haydarpasa-Sirkeci-Halkali commuter railway line. Feasibility studies by three firms have been sent to the Japanese Overseas Loan Establishment (OECF) for approval. After the OECF's selection, engineering and counsellor services will begin very quickly. The ventures are expected to be implemented at the latest in the year 2005. /Aksam/

    [14] TURKISH SHIP SAVES LIFE

    31 refugees, including 27 Chinese and 7 Armenian people fell overboard due to the bad weather conditions yesterday while trying to reach Italy by boat. It was stated that a Turkish ship, the 'Ilisoy 4', which had left Istanbul and was on its way to Trieste Harbour, noticed the refugees in the water and notified Italian Coastal Guard officials. Because of this, 28 refugees were rescued but sadly 3 of them lost their lives. /Turkiye/

    [15] TURKISH AIRLINES JOINS EUROPEAN AIRLINE MAINTENANCE ORGANISATION

    Turkish Airlines (THY) took yet another step towards Europe before entering the year 2000 by becoming a member of the European Airline Maintenance Organization. This organization ensures integration between the big European airlines' in-flight customer care departments. Thus, THY has improved its present situation and this will help our country to be amongst the best in customer care. /Turkiye/

    [16] BLACK SEA MAY SWALLOW LAKE TERKOS

    The dividing line between Lake Terkos, which is Istanbul's main source of water, and the Black Sea has become very thin. The thickness of the land between them was 300 metres but this has been eroded to less than 100 metres in some parts. If this boundary disappears, then salt water will penetrate into the lake and Istanbul will lack drinking water. There are those who remove sand illegally from places 50 metres from the coast. As long as the sand is transported, landslides will occur at the bottom of the sea and, thus, this results in erosion of the sandy part of the land. A fine of 30 million TL handed down to the smugglers is not enough of a deterrent. /Milliyet/

    [17] MORE FEMALE PROFESSORS IN TURKEY

    It was stated that Turkey has the largest number of female professors among the Western countries. The Chairman of Osmangazi University's Technological Research Centre, Prof. Dr. Muammer Kaya, stated that although the number of educated women was less than that in Western countries, the ratio of female professors in Turkish universities is above Western standards. "In addition, the ratio of associate professors and lecturers is 42%, which is a high amount compared to that of Western countries", said Kaya. /Milliyet/

    [18] 'NIGHT OF POWER`

    The Ramadan 'Night of Power` is going to be celebrated tonight. The Chairman of the Religious Affairs Directorate, M. Nuri Yilmaz, issued a message to mark the 27th day of Ramadan, when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed, and emphasized that tonight should be accepted as the beginning of a new life. /Hurriyet/

    [19] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...

    [20] A STRONG TURKEY BY SUKRU ELEKDAG (MILLIYET)

    Former Ambassador Sukru Elekdag writes on whhat we expect from the 21st century. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Turkey is entering the new century with optimism and heightened morale. Notwithstanding the damage of the earthquake disasters, she can look to the future with hope and enthusiasm. Turkey has great dreams for the future. This optimism stems from the fact that terrorism has been defeated almost to the point of nullification, in addition to the promising and successful developments seen in recent months.

    Certainly, the most promising development concerns the EU candidacy status which has now been granted to Turkey. This will open the roads to integration, modernization and prosperity. Secondly, the stand-by agreement made with the IMF to beat inflation is also important. Finally, the petrol and gas pipeline agreements not only make Anatolia a crossroads for fuel lines but also leads to geo-strategic results of global significance. With the implementation of these ventures, a belt of Western orientated states, from Anatolia to China, will emerge integrated into the world's economy. This will bring a new dimension to Turkey's strategic value and influence.

    It can be said that the most important factor in Turkey's admittance into the EU was the reflection of a stable and credible Government in Turkey abroad to which the EU was not accustomed. The striking characteristic of this Government is the importance it attaches to reforms and the continual workings of Parliament.

    Gunther Verheugen, the EU Commissioner responsible for Enlargement, stated that the green light given at Helsinki will tear down a metaphorical dam in Turkey and the reforms trapped behind this wall would tumble out. He thus pointed out that membership negotiations between Turkey and the EU could start soon.

    Prime Minister Ecevit has announced 2004 as the target date for the start of the negotiations. Certainly this has a sine qua non condition and that is compliance with the Copenhagen criteria. The basic problem facing the leaders of the Coalition lies in achieving a lasting peace in the country and eliminating terrorism once and for all. If the Coalition Government can bring a permanent solution to this problem, taking the unitary structure of the State and the territorial integrity of the country into consideration, this will be the first sign for Turkey that she will in fact be a member of the EU.

    Such a solution would enable Turkey to take over her historic responsibility and, in President Clinton's words, "play a vital role in shaping the 21st century." The road to creating a strong Turkey and enabling her to hold her head high passes starts with internal peace."

    [21] FOR THE FUTURE.... BY GUNGOR MENGI (SABAH)

    Columnist Gungor Mengi comments on the words of President Suleyman Demirel concerning the death sentence passed on Ocalan. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "President Suleyman Demirel made a serious and just warning on the carrying-out of the death sentence passed on Ocalan. He stated that Turkey had to wait for the verdict of the European Court of Human Rights. The President stated that the Government had to calculate the results of what would happen if we did not wait for the ECHR and not be influenced by the mothers of the fallen. No-one can know better than the President that the number of politicans who are thinking of the next election is far greater than those who are thinking of the next generation. However, we are concerned that the discussion over Ocalan will be reduced to obsessive revenge against one person.

    The important point is the search for ways to immortalize a victory achieved through the death of thousands to ensure the territorial integrity of the country. If the feeling is reduced to revenge on Ocalan, it will bring back a new hell demanding the lives of others; this would only mean disrespect to the ones fallen and would award an udeserved recognition to the murderer of babies. Turkey will learn some lessons from the mistakes of her past and achieve peace.

    To deserve the future we demand, the worst punishment we can give to a blood-shedding terrorist should be to keep him in a cell for the rest of his life and make him wish for death every day. We have to persuade the mothers of the fallen that this is real revenge! We have to take such a decision not as a concession to the EU but as a compromise to protect the territorial integrity of the country. No-one has the right to spend a victory dear to Turkey in a hastily taken decision!"


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