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Turkish Press Review, 00-01-06
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From: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.tr>06 January 2000
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS
 MAGNIFICENT FAREWELLPresident Suleyman Demirel is preparing for a 'magnificent farewell display' before his term in office comes to an end on 16th May. Demirel will welcome the leaders of 69 countries as part of the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the establishment of the Ottoman Empire which had previously been postponed due to the earthquake disaster. This celebration, which will welcome the Head of States which were founded on Ottoman lands, will not be forgotten for years to come. This Spring, President Demirel will invite these Heads of State to Turkey and these leaders will be presented with the best examples of Ottoman culture, art, lifestyle and cuisine. /Aksam/
 OPPOSITION BECOMING RECKLESSWhile the government partners are preparing to issue a decision on 12th January concerning Abdullah Ocalan's death sentence, the opposition parties have reached the consensus that this issue is a matter of internal, domestic law and, thus, the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) should be awaited. They have stated, "The Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) is the one to decide on this, not the State." Leader of the Virtue Party (FP), Recai Kutan, defended the view that the one to give a final decision on Ocalan's death sentence is not the State, saying, "The State can forgive crimes that were committed against itself. However, if someone's brother is killed, then the brother of the murder victim should decide on whether or not to forgive the killer." Meanwhile, leader of the True Path Party (DYP), Tansu Ciller, issued a written statement and stated that Ocalan's dossier should be brought to the TGNA as soon as possible." This is what should be done as a country respectful of the law. /Aksam/
 GOVERNMENT'S DECISION CONCERNING EMERGENCY RULEThe government has become reckless in its application of Emergency Rule (OHAL). It is preparing to present a scheme which envisages that the OHAL Regional Governors will work together as 'coordinator' governors to the National Security Council (MGK). It is expected that the government partners will reach a concensus on this issue before the MGK meeting in February. As one of the items that is expected to be placed on the agenda of the MGK conference, the OHAL Regional Governors' Office will become a Governors' Office with an 'autonomous budget'. Furthermore, the extra weighting on salaries paid to officials working in the OHAL Region will be reduced. In addition, the State will remove the system of village guards stage by stage and it will be tried to turn the situation in the region from 'Emergency Rule' back to 'normal life'. /Aksam/
 PRISON PROBLEM TO BE SOLVEDThe coalition parties have started work to solve the problems in the prisons, which came to the fore with the recent riots. The Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Health and Gendarmerie Headquarters will sign a protocol in order to find a solution to the problems in prisons and to improve the living conditions of those detained by the State. Minister of Justice Hikmet Sami Turk, Minister of the Interior Saadettin Tantan, Minister of Health Osman Durmus and the General Commander of the Gendarmerie, Rasim Betir discussed those problems during a meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Husamettin Ozkan. In addition, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit attended end the debates and stated that this problem would be completely solved in the coming year. /Aksam/
 CLINTON HOPEFUL FOR THE CYPRUSAmerican President Bill Clinton considered the start of the indirect negotiations to be very 'pleasing' in his bi-monthly report to the American Congress concerning the Cyprus issue. In this report, Clinton underlined UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's explanation on 13th November and wrote, "During my visit to Turkey and Greece between 15th and 20th November, this pleasing news came as a positive step to ensure a fair and permanent solution for all the people living on Cyprus and to improve relations between Turkey and Greece." Furthermore, in his report, Clinton pointed out that the aim of the indirect talks on Cyprus was to prepare the ground for meaningful discussions in order to find a permanent and comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue. /Turkiye/
 ASLITURK TO BE TRIED TOMORROWThe former Mayor of Sisli, Gulay Asliturk, said that she would not talk about her defence before 7th January, when she will be tried. Asliturk stated that she had been unable to find any opportunity of discussing the matter in detail with her lawyers due to the Christmas and New Year holidays in England. She further added, "It is impossible for me to make a statement concerning the issue before the day of the trial. However, I might make a statement in the next few days if the next few days if the matter becomes definite." It was stated that following the trial, if Asliturk is found guilty, then she might be extradited to Turkey despite the fact that there is no extradition agreement in force between Turkey and England. /Turkiye/
 "PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST DOES NOT DEPEND ON WATER"Turkish Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Sermet Atacanli declared that the success of the Middle East Peace Process and the stability of the region will also reflect positively on Turkey. He stressed that this process should not be related to the water issue. Adding that Turkey had not recommended that the US keep Syria on the 'list of countries in support of terrorism`, Atacanli said, "It is their own business." /Aksam/
 LETTER FROM TEXAS TO ECEVITA letter from Texas has been sent by 13 members of the US Congress to Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit regarding the tender for attack helicopters, worth $4 billion, put out by Turkey. The letter praises the Bell Helicopter Company based in Texas. /Hurriyet/
 AGCA WANTS TO RETURN TO TURKEYMehmet Ali Agca, who killed Turkish journalist Abdi Ipekci, wants to be extradited to Turkey. A member of the Socialist Democrat Party, Ferdinando Imposimanto, who has been exerting every effort for Agca's release or his transfer to Turkey, said that the Italian Justice Ministry saw his transfer to a Turkish prison as techically impossible. /Sabah/
 COTARELLI IN TURKEYThe Head of the IMF-Turkey Desk, Carlo Cottarelli, arrived in Turkey yesterday. Replying to questions posed by journalists at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, Cottarelli said that he had come to Turkey to attend a meeting of the Turkish Banks' Union on January 6. Concerning the recent economic developments in Turkey, Cottarrelli stated that the Turkish economy was on the right path. He remarked that the IMF will support Turkey if it continues to achieve its structural reforms. He pointed out that an IMF delegation would come to Turkey in the second week of February. He added that he would also visit some historic tourist sites in Turkey during his visit, the Anatolia News Agency reports.
 RUSSIAN NATURAL GAS TO BE PIPED OVERMinister of Energy Cumhur Ersumer stated that as part of the agreement signed with Russia, Russian natural gas was expected to be piped to Turkey within seven months. State Minister Mehmet Kececiler, Minister of Energy Cumhur Ersumer, Minister of Communication Enis Oksuz and many other bureaucrats attended the Ramadan supper organized by the Turkish Association of Contractors. Ersumer disclosed that, "An agreement which will ensure the piping of natural gas was signed in the capital of Russia, Moscow, between the German Herbans Bank, Japan, Italy and Russia and is planned to cost 1.7 billion dollars. This natural gas will be piped under the Black Sea for seven months. We have solved the problem of financing, problems with the expropriation of the Samsun-Ankara line have been solved and a report on the matter has been submitted. Now essential work is being undertaken on land. Turkey's aim is to bring the gas to Samsun, then to Ankara and, thus, include it in our national system." /Turkiye/
 OYMEN HOSTS A FAREWELL LUNCHEON FOR VERGAUThe Chairman of the Republican People's Party (CHP), Altan Oymen, yesterday hosted a farewell luncheon for the German Ambassador to Ankara, Hans Joachim Vergau, whose term of duty in Turkey has ended. EU Ambassador Karen Fogg, Swedish Ambassador Henrik Liljegren, CHP Deputy Chairman Inal Batu, CHP Deputy General Secretary Sule Bucak, some other CHP officials and representatives from some newspapers and TV stations in Ankara also attended the luncheon. Oymen expressed his thanks to the three Ambassadors for their support during Turkey's EU candidacy process, the Anatolia News Agency reports.
 GEN.ATES IN TRNCThe Speaker of the Republican Assembly of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Ertugrul Hasipoglu, received Turkish Land Forces' Commander Gen.Atilla Ates, who has arrived in the TRNC to inspect military units there. Hasipoglu stated that he was pleased to see Gen.Ates at the TRNC Republican Assembly. He said, "We will make no compromise concerning our sovereignty and security. The Turkish Armed Forces are guaranteeing our security". Gen.Ates declared, for his part, that the Turkish-Cypriot people's right to establish their own Republic should be recognized by everyone in the world, wherever democratic values are prevalent, the Anatolia News Agency reports.
 GEN.BASER TO VISIT USDeputy Chief of General Staff, Gen.Edip Baser, is expected to visit Washington at the beginning of next month as the official guest of the US Deputy Chief of General Staff, Gen.Joseph Ralston. During Baser's visit to the US, defence relations between the two countries and plans for the sale of US weapons to Turkey will be discussed in detail. Defence sources in Washington said that following significant improvements in the field of human rights in Turkey and the approval of Turkey's EU candidacy, a positive atmosphere prevailed concerning the sale of weapons from the US to Turkey, the Anatolia News Agency reports.
 WORLD BANK LOOKS FOR MONEY FOR TURKEYIn a letter addressed to the State Minister responsible for the Economy, Recep Onal, World Bank Chairman James Wolfhenson, disclosed, "Our colleagues are trying to find the 10-billion-dollar loan to which you referred in your letter through meetings with our counterparts in the EU and Japan." Wolfhenson also guaranteed to underwrite funds which may be needed to top up the stand-by agreement's financial support. Wolfhenson's letter, dated Dec. 27th 1999, revealed that Turkey had written to the World Bank requesting a 10-billion-dollar loan. /Cumhuriyet/
 REVIVAL OF AEGEAN TOURISMThe rapprochement between Greece and Turkey will lead a revival of tourism on both shores of the Aegean Sea in the coming year. Turkish tourists are contacting tourist agencies, wishing to spend their holidays on Greek Islands, especially on Rhodes. So far, 5,000 tourists have made reservations for the four-day Muslim Feast of Sacrifice which will begin on March 15th. Meanwhile, the tourist agencies are pressuring the Foreign Affairs authorities to ease the regulations for visa applications between the two countries. /Cumhuriyet/
 DEFERRED INTEREST WILL DECREASEFinance Minister Sumer Oral delivered a speech at a conference organized by Istanbul University's Economy Faculty's Finance Research Centre. He said, "We have taken some essential measures and the Budget Law was passed through Parliament." Stressing that both Moody's and Standard and Poor's will increase Turkey's credit rating in the near future, Minister Oral said, "The stand-by agreement has been signed with the IMF. New foreign funding will begin to come to Turkey." Sumer Oral added that work was continuing on deferred interest rates and, with regard to the decrease in interest rates, deferred interest rates will also be arranged accordingly. /Aksam/
 RECORD AUTOMOBILE EXPORTSThe year 1999 experienced a boom in automobile exports, and the total reaching 2,238.1 million dollars. According to data supplied by Uludag Exporters' Union, automobile exports in 1999 shot up to 418.6%. /Cumhuriyet/
 GOVERNMENT WARNS INVESTORS OF SHARE LOSSESState Minister Recep Onal yesterday warned individual investors in the stock market of possible losses if they act alone and without any technical advice. "Stock market investment requires a certain level of knowledge and experience", Onal told reporters. "I would advise small investors to appeal to institutional investors when making decisions. They should not play the Stock Exchange themselves". "If the stock market becomes a place where only daily gains are achieved" Onal said, "those who catch the train's last wagon will suffer".
Turkish stocks have rallied since November when the prospects of a new financial agreement with the IMF became certain. The IMF endorsed the $4 billion deal on December 22. Interest rates and bond yields have dropped since then, leaving investors with the option of stock trading. /Turkish Daily News/
 IS BANK MOVES TO ISTANBULTurkey's largest private lender, Is Bank, formally moved its Headquarters on Wednesday from Ankara to Istanbul. Ersin Ozince, the Bank's General Director, said, "The move will create cooperation. The bank will further strengthen itself by establishing closer physical links with the business community in Istanbul". At a Board of Directors' meeting in March 1999 the plan to move the Headquarters to Istanbul was endorsed. The Board agreed that the Bank's formal address would be its Istanbul complex as from January 1, 2000. /All papers/
 UKRAINIAN TEAM READY TO AID TURKEYA team from the Ukraine is to take part in the investigation into the crash of the Equatorial Guinea Airways 'Antonov 28' cargo plane that came to ground on December 29 on Mt.Goynuk in the Northwest of Turkey, the Anatolia News Agency reports. An investigation into the crash was launched by Turkish authorities on the same day. A team of 45 military personnel and 400 civilians, equipped with two snowmobiles and two boats, is looking for remains of the plane but, with snow and freezing weather conditions hampering the search efforts, no results have been produced so far. Sixty-nine boats, thus far, have given up the search.
 TUPRAS TO RESUME FULL PRODUCTION BY SEPTEMBERTurkey's state-run oil refinery TUPRAS will resume full capacity production by September 30, 2000, leaving behind all traces of the August 1999 earthquake, the State Minister for Privatization, Yuksel Yalova, said yesterday. At a press conference in Kirikkale, where TUPRAS has a refinery, Yalova pledged that the company will become a 'world-class refiner' prepared for competition during the year 2000. /Turkish Daily News/
 KOCBANK IN THE TURKISH REPUBLIC OF NORTHERN CYPRUS (TRNC)Kocbank is to become partners with Hur Bank, part of the Birinci Holding Company in the TRNC. A delegation chaired by the Deputy General Director of Kocbank, Semih Bilgili, paid a visit to President Rauf Denktas and explained their partnership decision. Bilgili pointed out that Hur Bank had branches in the TRNC and that they were working together. He further added that the latest incidents in the banking sector in the TRNC had speeded up Kocbank's move. Furthermore, while welcoming the Kocbank delegation, TRNC President Rauf Denktas said that he was very pleased with the Koc Group's arrival in the TRNC, considering it to be a great event. /Turkiye/
 FIRST INTERNATIONAL AWARD OF 2000 TO FAZIL SAYThe French classical music magazine 'Le Monde de la Musique' has named the latest album by successful Turkish pianist Fazil Say, considered by many to be a musical genius, its CD of the month. The magazine chose Say's CD 'Gershwin', which went on sale in Turkey last week and includes such classical works as 'Rhapsody in Blue', 'Summertime' and 'I Got Rhythm'. The CD will be on sale in the US and around the world by March. /All papers/
 FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS
 AFTER HELSINKI: DAVOS BY YALCIN DOGAN (MILLIYET)Columnist Yalcin Dogan writes on the Davos Forum. A summary of his column is as follows:
"In the '80s, as we moved into the free market economy, the world acknowledged Turkey with President Ozal. The leaders of the most important companies and countries in the world met in Davos, Switzerland. The most serious questions facing the world were discussed in a casual atmosphere, like a brainstorming session. After Ozal there was a brief pause in Turkey's attendance at Davos meetings. However, this did not last for long and Ciller and Demirel participated at these gatherings as Prime Minister and President respectively.
Today, there exists a special situation. With the advent of EU candidacy, all eyes are on Turkey. The officials who organized these conferences came to Ankara and invited Prime Minister Ecevit to Davos. The first day of the Davos Forum, 27th of January, was announced as "Turkish Night".
The first of various discussions is entitled "Does the West Still Exist?" Two speakers on the panel are Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit and Polish President. Following their speeches, they will answer the audience's questions.
Ecevit's attendance is of great importance in many respects. Following the Helsinki Summit, in the process towards EU candidacy, this is the first time Turkey is opening up to the West. When the agreement made with the IMF is also taken into consideration, the world is keenly interested in what the Prime Minister of Turkey has to say.
Secondly, many international banks and companies are present at this Forum. This provides a good opportunity for Turkey, who is looking for loans, to engage in meetings with foreign investors. It should also be noted that there is the possibility of bilateral relations with many countries.
Davos also has a political dimension. Clinton, Schroeder, Blair, Aznar, Barak, Arafat, the Prime Ministers of India and Norway, Heads of State from Central Asian Republics, Heads of State and Government of former communist countries in Europe have all stated that they will attend the Davos Forum. Ecevit is preparing to go to Davos to make good use of this opportunity."
DREAMING Of EUROPEAN UNION BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)
Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna is commenting on the changes to be expected during the EU membership process and the expectations of some. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Many changes will occur during the EU membership process in Turkey. Many things won't be the same as before. However, the fundamental principles of the Turkish State will never change.
Separatism, division based on ethnic difference and privileges reminding us of autonomy are not possible. Those who dream that membership of the EU would facilitate ethnic separatism will be greatly disappointed.
In Turkey, it is impossible to stop the reformist movement of two centuries or turn the clock back. This fact has been stated in the Constitution with the Article concerning secularism; the affairs of State and Religion are separated. However, to leave religious institutions and activities outside the control of the State is out of the question. If there are some out-dated restrictions in religious issues, they can be lifted. Religion has become a very sensitive issue in Turkey as we have moved away from the Islam experienced in the Ottoman-Turkish world.
Ataturk will continue to be our national hero for thousands of years. However, a group exists which tends towards fanaticism in the name of Ataturk and attempts to pressurize the nation by using this fanaticism in their own interests. There are some among them who sincerely idolize Ataturk. However, the criticism of all historical periods, including that of Ataturk, is the business of historians.
Those who think that in Turkey, a country which will experience full democracy as a member of the European Union, there will be an opportunity for extremist actions are greatly mistaken. The State will defend itself in Turkey, as in all full-blown democracies."
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