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Turkish Press Review, 00-02-03

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

03.02.00

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL PRESENTS REPORT TO CANKAYA PRESIDENTIAL PALACE
  • [02] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... EUROPEAN UNION INSTEAD OF NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL BY GUNGOR MENGI
  • [03] DEMIREL RECEIVES RAMDRAKOVIC
  • [04] ECEVIT: "HIZBULLAH WILL BE COMPLETELY DESTROYED"
  • [05] ECEVIT EVALUATES THE CYPRUS ISSUE
  • [06] SUPREME COUNCIL TO FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM
  • [07] CEM TO VISIT ATHENS
  • [08] NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL PRESENTS REPORT TO CANKAYA PRESIDENTIAL PALACE
  • [09] ANTI-HIZBULLAH OPERATIONS
  • [10] CONGRESS PRESSURE
  • [11] ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT
  • [12] BRIBE: INTERNATIONAL CRIME
  • [13] HAIDER: ANXIETY IN TURKEY
  • [14] US CONTINUES TO SUPPORT BAKU-CEYHAN
  • [15] TURKEY TO PURCHASE GAS FROM EGYPT
  • [16] WORLD BANK OFFICIALS OFFER ADVICE TO TURKEY
  • [17] EUROPEAN UNION TO SUPPLY AID TO TURKEY
  • [18] INCREASE IN EXPORTS
  • [19] NEW ARRANGEMENT FOR EXPENDITURE BY MINISTRY OF FINANCE
  • [20] AMERICAN GESTURE TO TURKISH NAVY
  • [21] ISTANBUL PAYS OUT
  • [22] TURKISH CONTRACTORS AMONG THE WORLD'S TOP TEN
  • [23] SEVERE TAX ON MOBILE PHONES
  • [24] RATING INSTITUTIONS TO INCREASE TURKEY'S RATING
  • [25] TENDER FOR TURK TELECOM
  • [26] EURO BONDS IN IMKB
  • [27] TURKEY RANKS FIRST IN CEMENT PRODUCTION IN EUROPE
  • [28] VESTEL AGREES WITH DIXONS
  • [29] TURKISH PRODUCTS MUCH IN DEMAND
  • [30] BEKO IN PARIS
  • [31] TURKISH WEEK IN MOHAC
  • [32] INTERNET FAIR
  • [33] PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE AGE: ARA GULER
  • [34] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
  • [35] EUROPEAN UNION INSTEAD OF NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL BY GUNGOR MENGI (SABAH)
  • [36] BAKU-CEYHAN COOLING BY SEMIH IDIZ (STAR)

  • [01] NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL PRESENTS REPORT TO CANKAYA PRESIDENTIAL PALACE

    [02] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... EUROPEAN UNION INSTEAD OF NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL BY GUNGOR MENGI

    [03] DEMIREL RECEIVES RAMDRAKOVIC

    President Suleyman Demirel received the Belarussian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Latipov Ural Ramdrakovic, the Anatolia News Agency reports. State Minister Rustu Kazim Yucelen, who attended the meeting, stated that they would intensify work to double the trade volume between the two countries. After being allowed to take photographs, the meeting was closed to the press.

    [04] ECEVIT: "HIZBULLAH WILL BE COMPLETELY DESTROYED"

    The Prime Minister and Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader, Bulent Ecevit, disclosed that the terrorist organization Hizbullah had been caught 'red-handed' and said, "The raids started by the State will be continued until the source of this terrifying, murderous and insane organization is completely removed." Ecevit delivered a speech at the beginning of his party's parliamentary group meeting and stated that the terrible evidence of crimes against humanity had been revealed one by one through the raids against Hizbullah. "Once the sad results of using religion as a means to politics are uncovered, the value of secularism, which is respectful to all faiths, will be able to be seen more clearly. The aim of this evil organization is to destroy our secular and democratic Republic, to divide our nation and our country. However, this organization was caught red-handed." In addition, Ecevit talked about the presidential election and said that if the 5+5 formula is accepted, then the presidential election will occur without any problems. Ecevit also evaluated the meetings in Davos during the party gathering; he declared that the meetings of the World Economic Forum were very important in terms of politics and economy and that they would greatly affect the world's economic public. /Turkiye/

    [05] ECEVIT EVALUATES THE CYPRUS ISSUE

    Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit received students from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' (TRNC) Bulent Ecevit High School yesterday and pointed out the importance of Cyprus in terms of the security of Turkey. Ecevit added, "The fact that the Turkish-Cypriot people have a separate, independent state is accepted in the world's mind, although they do not express it openly. Therefore, I do not have a single doubt concerning the future of the TRNC." Ecevit also talked of the banks in the TRNC and said, "We have made some contributions to this issue and we will continue to do the same if needed." /Turkiye/

    [06] SUPREME COUNCIL TO FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM

    Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit issued a circular dated February 1, 2000, and requested that the Supreme Anti-Terrorism Council should be the only body to administer strategies concerning this struggle. The Council was established on January 15, 1999, to take any measures required in the fight against terrorism and offer their proposals to the Council of Ministers concerning this issue. /Aksam/

    [07] CEM TO VISIT ATHENS

    Foreign Minister Ismail Cem will go to Athens to attend a conference which will begin on February 5 and last for two days. A statement issued by the Press Council said that more than 50 Turkish journalists will attend the Turco-Greek Journalists' Conference to be organized in Athens by the Contact Group established as part of the cooperation process between the Press Council and Greek journalists. During the opening of the conference, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou will each deliver speeches. /Aksam/

    [08] NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL PRESENTS REPORT TO CANKAYA PRESIDENTIAL PALACE

    National Security Council (MGK) replied harshly to claims that the terrorist Hizbullah organization had been protected by the State, and presented a report concerning the 10-year anti-terrorism struggle. In the report, it was stated that 5,458 people had been detained during operations against this terrorist organization and that 772 incidents had been cleared up, some unsolved murders. In addition, during the last 20 days, 1000 persons have been detained in raids against Hizbullah. In the document, which covers the period between 1991 and 1999, the security forces' fight against the organization was documented using statistics. In a statement issued by the Ministry of Interior Affairs yesterday, following the most recent incidents, 938 persons have been detained during raids in 44 provinces. /Milliyet/

    [09] ANTI-HIZBULLAH OPERATIONS

    The crackdown is continuing against the reactionary illegal terrorist Hizbullah organization throughout Turkey. During digs in Mardinkapi, Diyarbakir, yesterday three more corpses were unearthed. In Gaziantep a corpse was also found in a cave. The total uncovered has reached 60 so far. Meanwhile, Ankara's Security Chief Kemal Iskender has warned all security units to take precautions against revenge attacks. /Cumhuriyet/

    [10] CONGRESS PRESSURE

    The Hizbullah crisis which flared up between the military and the Virtue Party (VP) has revived the congress and traditionalist-reformist disputes within this party. Last night, during the group meeting, reformists asked for a 'extraordinary congress`. One of their leaders, Abdullah Gul, evaluated the latest crisis with the military and said to Recai Kutan, "You ought to have resigned but you didn't." While Party leader Kutan preferred to remain silent in the face of criticisim, traditionalists opposed the request for an extraordinary congress. /Hurriyet/

    [11] ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT

    Yesterday, a bomb was placed under Isparta Director of Security Metin Alp's car, which was in the garden of the Directorate General, by an unidentified person. The bomb-disposal squad rendered the bomb ineffective. Governor Halil Ibrahim Dasoz pointed out that the assassination attempt had been carried out during the crackdown against Hizbullah. /Star/

    [12] BRIBE: INTERNATIONAL CRIME

    Following terrorism and drugs, 'bribery` has also been ratified as an international crime by the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA). Following this, Turks who offer bribes to foreign public officials will be accused of committing a crime. 'The Agreement to Prevent Bribery to Foreign Public Officials during International Trade Transactions` which was enacted by the TGNA last night, was prepared due to concern that bribery damaged the economic structure of developing countries. With the agreement, signed in Paris on Dec. 17th 1997, payments in the name of 'commission` during international tenders were also banned. /Hurriyet/

    [13] HAIDER: ANXIETY IN TURKEY

    Reports of the possible participation in a coalition government of a Nazi sympathizer, the far-right Freedom Party in Austria, has been received with anxiety in Europe, as well as in Turkey. Turkey's concerns stem from the situation of 150 thousand Turkish citizens living in this country, and the enlargement process of the EU. Premier Bulent Ecevit delivered a speech at his party's parliamentary group meeting and said, "The fear that 'the Turks are coming` is being gradually erased in Europe; however, the revival of that old European sickness of racism is being feared." During the press conference, Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Sermet Atacanli stated that Turkey was closely observing developments in Austria, and said, "We have conveyed our views to this country, where many Turkish citizens live, on racism and hostility to foreigners several times." /Cumhuriyet/

    [14] US CONTINUES TO SUPPORT BAKU-CEYHAN

    Ambassador Richard Morningstar, President Bill Clinton's former special representative responsible for the Caspian Basin, refuted reports that he said the US should review its strategy concerning the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline, and reiterated his support for the venture. The Spokesman of the US State Department, James Foley, stated that the US maintained its policy of cooperation with countries and companies in the Caspian region. /Aksam/

    [15] TURKEY TO PURCHASE GAS FROM EGYPT

    Work on the scheme to purchase gas from Egypt has been accelerated. The Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Cumhur Ersumer, after meeting Egyptian Oil Minister Sameh Fahmi, said that a protocol had been signed concerning cooperation in the fields of natural gas and oil. The protocol envisages new feasibility studies for the venture to buy 4 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually from Egypt. The motion has also been adopted to set up separate working groups for natural gas and oil. /Aksam/

    [16] WORLD BANK OFFICIALS OFFER ADVICE TO TURKEY

    The delegation from the World Bank who arrived in Ankara under the auspices of Lalit Raina in order to examine the banking sector is continuing its work. It was stated that the officials from the World Bank were divided into sub-groups so as to continue their research at the Central Bank, Treasury Undersecretariat and in the public banks; this research will continue until 14th February. Furthermore, the Treasury and the World Bank will hold discussions concerning loans between 14th and 17th February. Banking experts have suggested that 8 banks within the Saving Deposit Insurance Fund should be relinquished after rehabilitating them, and that the first three banks in the Fund should be sold this year. /Turkiye/

    [17] EUROPEAN UNION TO SUPPLY AID TO TURKEY

    Foreign Minister Ismail Cem met the Chairman of the European Investment Bank and Turkish officials in Luxembourg. Cem, who returned to Turkey with a big economic aid dossier, stated that the European Union (EU) will contribute greatly to Turkey's economic development. Turkey received the political support of the EU Commissioner responsible for expansion, Gunter Verhuegen, and then organized economic aid from the European Investment Bank, and will obtain a loan of 750 million Euros in a short period of time. A fund of 8.5 billion Euros was reserved for the financing of all candidate countries by the European Investment Bank, and Turkey will be able to make use of the portion reserved for her. As interest rates of the European Investment Bank, which is not a profit-making establishment, are very low, the cost of these loans will also be very low. Furthermore, Ismail Cem stated that the State Minister responsible for the Treasury, the Chairman of the Central Bank and the Treasury and the Foreign Trade Undersecretary would meet EU economic officials at the end of February in Brussels and explain Turkey's economic programme. In addition, a Turkish economic delegation will also meet administrators of the European Investment Bank. /Turkiye/

    [18] INCREASE IN EXPORTS

    The first macro-economic data concerning January 2000 has been received from foreign trade. According to data supplied by the Turkish Export Centre, exportats increased by 8.1% compared to the same time last year; this rate of increase is the highest during the last 13 months. Increases in automobile, iron-steel and ready-to-wear exports influenced the total export amount of January, a sum of 1 billion 900 million dollars. /Sabah/

    [19] NEW ARRANGEMENT FOR EXPENDITURE BY MINISTRY OF FINANCE

    The Ministry of Finance is entering a new period in which it will discipline public expenditure and include performance criteria for various establishments. The Ministry of Public Works has also been involved in the preparations, during which the State reviewed the Bidding Law again. The draft laws, which are in their last stage of preparation, will be placed on the agenda of the Council of Ministers. The 'Expenditure Reforms', which are expected to mark the year 2000 will be based on five basic points: those funds which are criticized for hampering financial discipline will be eliminated; the appropriation of nearly 4,500 new vehicles, entered in the Budget for the year 2000, will be used carefully; instead of buying new buildings and movable stock, establishments will exchange them amongst each other; arrangements that do not concern the Budget Law will be excluded from the Law's articles; the draft law prepared by the Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of Finance will be presented to the Council of Ministers. /Sabah/

    [20] AMERICAN GESTURE TO TURKISH NAVY

    American officials have given permission for the transfer of frigate 'USS John A. Moore' from the U.S. Navy to the Turkish Naval Forces. This frigate will be delivered to Turkey in the next few months after being sold to Turkey for 29 million dollars. The American Ambassador to Ankara, Mark Parris, issued a statement concerning the subject and stated that this price was almost half the amount that was initially stated to the Turkish Government. Parris said that the reason for this decrease in the price was the financial constraints that Turkey was experiencing in the aftermath of the earthquake that occurred on 17th August, 1999. /Sabah/

    [21] ISTANBUL PAYS OUT

    According to the balance-sheet for 1999 prepared by the Ministry of Finance, 41.2% of tax revenues that were collected last year came from Istanbul itself. Istanbul repaid four times the investment and other sums of money that it had received from the State. Earthquake-hit Kocaeli succeeded in being among those provinces with the highest amount of tax collected. However, Sakarya, another earthquake-hit province, was unable to pay 1/3 of its taxes. /Sabah_

    [22] TURKISH CONTRACTORS AMONG THE WORLD'S TOP TEN

    In spite of the world economic crisis that was experienced last year, Turkish companies' success is continuing in the contract services sector abroad. Turkish contractors, who are working in more than 40 countries, came 10th in the world's contract market with an income from their foreign work of more than 40 billion dollars. Turkish companies have undertaken projects costing more than 10 billion dollars in Caucasian and Central Asian countries alone, and has successfully completed nearly 75% of this. Turkish companies undertook new ventures amounting to 2 billion dollars in the Commonwealth of Independent States last year, but the most important venture is in Pakistan, with a market share of 55.8%. Next in importance is Russia with 15.5%, then Kazakhstan with 12.8% and Uzbekistan with 5.9%. In addition, Turkey has some important contracts in the United Arab Emirates and Georgia. /Turkiye/

    [23] SEVERE TAX ON MOBILE PHONES

    Unduly heavy taxes on mobile phones were reflected in bills for January; Turkcell sent 10,434-million-TL-worth of bills to subscribers who have not used their phones, and Telsim sent 8,891-million-TL-worth of bills. On the January mobile phone bills, an annual General Directorate Telecommunications 3-million-TL commission, a 2,173-million-TL contribution to education and a 2,173-million-TL Special Transaction Tax were added. Furthermore, Turkcell and Telsim also receive a 'constant fee` every month. /Hurriyet/

    [24] RATING INSTITUTIONS TO INCREASE TURKEY'S RATING

    The increase in Turkey's rating from BB to BB(+) by the Japanese rating institution JCR has created a positive atmosphere on international markets towards the Turkish government's economic policy. It is expected that other rating institutions - Moody's, Standard and Poor's and DCR - will also increase Turkey's rating. /Aksam/

    [25] TENDER FOR TURK TELECOM

    Proposals submitted by firms hoping to participate in the tender for Turk Telecom's infrastructure and related services have been opened. The General Director of Turk Telecom, Fatih Yurdal, said that this was the biggest, and the last, worth more than $200 million. With reference to the telecommunications company's infrastructure, he added that six firms had outlined their proposals. /Aksam/

    [26] EURO BONDS IN IMKB

    Bonds worth 750 million Euros issued by the Treasury will begin transactions on the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) as of today. The annual interest rate of the 10-year-term Euro bonds, which also began transactions on the International Bonds Market, will be 9.25 %. /Aksam/

    [27] TURKEY RANKS FIRST IN CEMENT PRODUCTION IN EUROPE

    The Turkish cement sector has come first in terms of the production of cement and second in the consumption of cement in Europe. A report issued by the General Secretariat of the Central Anatolian Exporters' Union said that Turkey ranked seventh in the world for cement production as far as 1998 data is concerned. /Aksam/

    [28] VESTEL AGREES WITH DIXONS

    The Turkish firm, Vestel, which has started to sell PCs to Europe, has reached an agreement with Dixons, one of the largest electronics retail firms in Britain. According to the agreement, Dixons will sell Vestel PCs which reach European standards. /Aksam/

    [29] TURKISH PRODUCTS MUCH IN DEMAND

    The Foreign Trade Undersecretariat (DTM) has launched an initiative for the promotion of Turkish products on the world market. The DTM, which is affiliated to State Minister Tunca Toskay, has nominated 'TURQUALITY' as the symbol of high-quality Turkish products. /Aksam/

    [30] BEKO IN PARIS

    A renowned Turkish firm, Beko, is participating in the Confortech International Fair in Paris which started yesterday and will stay open until February 6. Beko is taking 150 products to the Fair, one of the biggest fairs to promote consumer goods in the world. /Aksam/

    [31] TURKISH WEEK IN MOHAC

    It is reported that a festival will be held in Mohac, Zigetvar, Siklos and Pech in Hungary; these places are of historic importance to the Turks. The Festival is being organized as part of the celebrations for the 1000th anniversary of the establishment of Hungary. Planned to be held on September 2-12, 2000, the Festival will be called 'Turkish Week'. /Aksam/

    [32] INTERNET FAIR

    The 'Compex Multimedia and Internet' Fair was opened in Istanbul yesterday. A total of 580 Turkish and foreign firms are present at the Fair where many products and technological developments are being exhibited. Nearly 120,000 people are expected to visit the Fair which will be open until February 6. /Aksam/

    [33] PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE AGE: ARA GULER

    The readers of 'Fotograf` Magazine and 'Photo Digital` selected Ara Guler to be 'the Photographer of the Age` in Turkey. Guler took his shield before the inauguration of the '5th Complex Multimedia and Internet Fair` at Tepebasi Istanbul Exhibition Palace, and also put on a photographic exhibition for the guests. /Hurriyet/

    [34] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...

    [35] EUROPEAN UNION INSTEAD OF NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL BY GUNGOR MENGI (SABAH)

    Columnist Gungor Mengi comments on the developments in Austria and their reflections on Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "The EU has opposed a coalition Government to be formed in Austria with the Freedom Party, which tends towards Nazism, although received 27% of the votes. This is an unprecedented move; the EU is actually threatening to isolate Austria if such a coalition comes to power. The President of the EU Commission, Romano Prodi, stated that they had decided to suspend diplomatic relations with Austria in order to protect "principles such as democracy, human rights and the legal state."

    Joerg Haider, the leader of the Freedom Party noted for his rhetoric in praise of Hitler, had attracted a great deal of attention with his xenophobic declarations against both foreigners and the expansion of the EU. The ultimatum issued by the EU is being interpreted as a clear stand against the rise power of a party bent on destroying democracy by using democratic means. It is intervening in Austrian internal affairs in the name of human rights and democracy; it does not allow for the national will revealed by the ballot-box, as Hitler despite creating the catastrophe of the 20th century had also come to power following an election.

    This event is a heavy blow to the hopes of those ideological and discriminatory groups which may wish to come to power. The means to say that human rights are more important than the right to self-rule of a country.

    Hope created by the new values will mean nothing if a way cannot be found to prevent aggression. Therefore, the EU is trying to quell the fire which would be started by partisan ideology, as the power of the ballot-box does not give any party the right to threaten or destroy the values democracies are based on.

    This development directly concerns Turkey, as there are many Turkish workers in various European countries, including Austria, who can present a target for racist tendencies. Moreover, there are no racist parties in Turkey, but there are some defending discrimination on grounds of religion. They see democracy as a means which will carry them to their goal. Following the blow on 28 February 1998 from the National Security Council, they were influenced by the principle of freedom and loved the idea of integration with Europe. However, democracy, European-style, does not recognize any kind of discrimination.

    We shall see if the Virute Party will now defend membership of the EU with the same fervour as before. We hope that they will use this experience as a path of metamorphosis towards accepting modern values. As a US diplomat said, "Turkey's democratic future is in Europe. This is for certain."

    [36] BAKU-CEYHAN COOLING BY SEMIH IDIZ (STAR)

    Columnist Semih Idyz is writing on the developments concerning the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline venture. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "US State Department Spokesman James Foley, in a statement he released the day before yesterday, said that Washington was exerting every effort to carry out the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline venture. The reason why Foley had to make such a statement was the words believed to be said by President Clinton's special representative to the Caspian Region, Richard Morningstar. Although these rumours have been denied, there is the belief that there is no smoke without fire. News coming from Washington concerning this scheme, which led to great expectations in Turkey, reveal that it is not going as smoothly as it should.

    The document signed in November at the OSCE Istanbul Summit was nothing more than a declaration of intent. We had already stated that there were many other documents to be signed with the relevant countries, such as the agreements on the amount of oil to be permitted to pass through the pipelines and price guarantees. Most important of all was that the questions of how to make up for the lack of funding to construct these sections of pipeline and the cost-effectiveness of such a pipeline were not overcome. It has been seen that the troubles with Georgia have not been surmounted yet.

    US diplomats say that the US is approaching this venture for strategic reasons rather than economic ones. They believe that Washington evaluates the situation within the guidelines of its competitive tussle with Russia. This means that economic aims are secondary in nature.

    Even though it may be too early to tell, we can say that the future of the Baku-Ceyhan scheme is in trouble today. Due to the "Great Game" played in the Caucasus, it can be seen that both the US and Turkey are losing ground and Russia is strengthening its position.

    It could not be foreseen that Russia would take matters to such lengths in Chechnya in order to protect its own interests as it needed loans from the West. Furthermore, it was believed that it would not dare to enter into any new adventure after the defeat it received at the hands of the Chechens in 1996. All of these assumptions have been proven wrong. With the news that the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline project would be implemented, the Caucasus found itself with a new dilemma.

    In short, Russia has shown that it is the boss of the Caucasus and was prepared to do everything in its power to protect its interests there. Therefore, we can say that the future of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline venture is not as bright as before.


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