|Friday, 15 November 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 00-02-11
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From: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.tr>
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS
 ECEVIT TO VISIT BUCHARESTThe Prime Minister will go to Bucharest to attend the 'Southeastern European Countries' Cooperation Process Summit` between Heads of State and Government. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ismail Cem, and a delegation of bureaucrats will accompany Ecevit. During the three-day Summit the 'Good Neighbourly Relations, Stability, Security and Cooperation' pact will be signed by the Heads of State and Government. Ecevit will deliver two speeches at the meetings and talk with the Prime Ministers of Romania, Albania and Macedonia. Whether or not Ecevit will meet the Greek Prime Minister will become clear during the Summit. /Star, Milliyet/
 CILLER: 'EVERY DEMAND MET IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM'The True Path Party (DYP) Leader, Tansu Ciller, has issued a statement concerning the import of weapons by Batman Governor's Office between 1994 and 1996. Ciller said, "I cannot specifically remember the case now. However, since fighting terrorism was our primary goal at that time, we were trying to meet all the Government's demands within the framework of our laws. Everything is documented and the inquiry should continue until it has reached a conclusion." Recalling the situation then the in Southeast, Ciller stated, "Everything done to knock out terrorism in our time in office was legal. During those days, when the sun set, the power of the Government ended; newspaper offices were closed; education was prevented; sports competitions were hindered; government offices were set on fire. We were a political authority which carried out its duty then with great success. Abdullah Ocalan's statement that 'the PKK was finished in 1993-94 and 95` ratifies our accomplishment." Meanwhile, the Governor of the Emergency Rule Region (OHAL) at that time, Unal Erkan, has kept silent in the face of the claims. Erkan was pulled into politics by the then Premier, Tansu Ciller. /Hurriyet/
 GOVERNOR SARMAN: 'CILLER WAS FULLY AWARE`Former Batman Governor Salih Sarman said, in response to enquiries concerning weapon imports said, "I imported the weapons. They were brought to Batman by military plane and the landings were recorded in the Customs' reports." As far as the special team was concerned Sarman stressed, "I wanted to establish a team against the PKK. I outlined my project to Ciller, the Interior Ministry, General Command of Gendarmerie, the General Directorate of Security and the Governor of OHAL. We formed 40 such teams consisting of 15 persons in each which worked under the supervision and in the service of the Gendarmerie Commander. Financing was obtained from Ciller. Prior to the import transactions, we received permission from the Treasury and Foreign Trade Undersecretariat. I think we received four loads of imported weapons in total. The Trigon Company was the go-between for the weapons bought from China and the Alpin Foreign Trade Company was the middle-man for others bought from the Bulgarian Kintex Company. /Hurriyet/
 GENDARMERIE CLEARS UP CONFUSIONThe Gendarmerie Command, which has played a key role in the fight against separatist terrorism in Southeastern Turkey, issued a statement regarding the claims printed in the press. It declared that the weapons purchased by Batman Governor's Office between 1994 and 1996, which had been reported missing, were not missing after all and were being held in regional military stockpiles. The military statement also said the weapons included rocket launchers, rockets, automatic rifles, hand grenades, ammunition and night-vision equipment which had been handed over to the military in accordance with the rules and regulations laid down by law, and were now in gendarmerie unit stockpiles and there were no missing weapons. /Hurriyet/
 EUROPEAN UNION SUMMIT AT MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRSThe coalition government, which is confidently advancing on the path to European Union (EU) membership, is giving priority to coordination between the Ministries. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ismail Cem, who held the first official meeting with private sector representatives concerning the EU membership process at the Economic Development Foundation (IKV), greeted State Ministers Tunca Toskay and Yuksel Yalova at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Cem stated that it was impossible for a few Ministries to undertake the work vital for EU membership and the whole of society, all non-governmental organizations and universities, the private sector and the workers' unions should work hard as well. Futhermore, State Minister Tunca Toskay said, "When the Ankara Agreement was signed in 1963, integration with the EU became our target. All this work was dependent upon a timetable, which achieved great progress." State Minister Yuksel Yalova stated that the basic underpinning of this cooperation was the collective working of the Council of Ministers. /Turkiye/
 HIZBULLAH: PROBLEM FOR ISRAEL AND TURKEYIn an interview with the Israeli Consul-General in Istanbul, Eli Saket, it was revealed that Iran had been responsible for supporting Hizbullah in both Turkey and Israel so as to prevent stability in the region. He also said that Syria had been using Hizbullah, like it previously used the PKK, as a tool to cause instability in Turkey and Israel. /Cumhuriyet/
 TURKS WILL NO LONGER BE DEPORTEDIt was decided by the European Court of Justice that Turks who legally reside and work in European Union countries will no longer be deported, unless they are involved in a crime. According to the European Court of Justice desicion, Turkish citizens who have committed a crime for which they have served their sentence will not lose the rights given to them under the Association Council decision of 19th September 1980 and, therefore, they will not be deported. /Aksam/
 ITALIANS COME TO TURKEYItalian economists have proclaimed Turkey their partner of the century following the easing of tension between the two countries. Italian Foreign Trade Minister Piero Fassino is to visit Turkey next week, accompanied by the members of the Industrialists' and Businessmen's Union. This visit is seen to be a turning point in relations between the two countries. Italians accept Turkey with her 63-million-strong population, as a large consumer and now they are discussing the benefits of investing in Turkey. /Hurriyet/
 PKK'S SELF-DEFENCE TACTICThe fact that the military wing of the PKK has changed its name from the ARGK to the "People's Legal Defence Force" is considered to be a calculated tactic. Experts say, "By changing their name to the 'People's Legal Defence Force', the PKK plans to point to its attacts on the Turkish forces as "self-defence".
Even though the PKK is trying to change its organizational strategy, a group calling themselves "Revolutionary Fighters of the PKK" is resisting the PKK decision to lay down its weapons. /Cumhuriyet/
 FOUR PEOPLE ARRESTED FOR SMUGGLING HISTORIC ARTEFACTSAn investigation has been launched to recover the 650 pieces of a Byzantine statue and large amounts of gold, all worth 7 trillion TL, after they were stolen from the grave of a Byzantine king in Tunceli. Four people, two of whom are assistant superintendents in the police force, have been taken into custody. /Cumhuriyet/
 SABANCI: 'LET'S MAKE TURKEY A LEADER`The Chairman of the Sabanci Holding Company's Executive Board, Sakip Sabanci, will preside over the World Turkish Businessmen's Convention for the third time. Sabanci called on all investors, in the country and abroad, to attend the Convention and said, "If we give each other a helping hand, Turkey will become a leading country in this century." The World Turkish Businessmen's 3rd Convention will be organized on April 10th-11th in Istanbul under the auspices of President Suleyman Demirel at Lutfi Kirdar Congress and Exhibition Hall. Premier Bulent Ecevit will also attend the meeting as a speaker and, in total, 2,000 businessmen are expected to participate in the Convention from 50 countries. /Hurriyet/
 COMMERCIAL RELATIONS BETWEEN ISRAEL AND TURKEY TO IMPROVEEconomic relations between Turkey and Israel will improve more rapidly from now on. The volume of foreign trade, nearly 700 million dollars at present, is expected to reach 2 billion dollars in a few years. One hundred and fifteen firms attended the Fashion Fair organized in Tel Aviv by Turkel Fair Organizers during which the Turco-Israeli Joint Economic Cooperation meeting was also held. Turkish State Minister Hasan Gemici and the Israeli Minister of Industry and Trade, Ron Kohen, reached a consensus according to which the foreign trade volume between Turkey and Israel is set to reach 2 billion dollars. Israel's experience in advanced technology and its agricultural experience will be made use of in joint initiatives within the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) region. Turks and Israelis will also be encouraged to go into partnership in third countries. /Turkiye/
 TURKISH-SPEAKING COUNTRIES' SUMMIT TO BE HELDIn a statement issued from the Azerbaijani Presidential Press Centre, Azerbaijani President Haydar Aliyev stated that the 'Turkish-Speaking Countries' Summit' will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan in April; he would like preparations to be started with the deadline in mind. The Presidents of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Kirgizhstan and delegations from many countries are expected to attend the Summit. At Summit, an agreement concerning the Trans-Caspian pipeline from Turkmenistan via Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey might be signed; for this reason, the President of Georgia, Eduard Sevardnadze might be invited to the Summit. /Turkiye/
 FIRST RESOURCE FOUND FOR THE BLUE STREAMThe construction of the pipeline between Ankara and Samsun, part of the Blue Stream Venture, has started. At an opening on the construction site in Haymana, the General Director of BOTAS, Gokhan Yildirim, helped weld the pipes. During the ceremony it was stated that the project was expected to be finished by February 2001.
In another statement, by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Cumhur Ersumer, declared that the water electricity problems that are being faced by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will be solved by the construction of pipelines and the laying of cables. /Aksam/
 WORLD BANK AND TURKEYThe World Bank's Director for Turkey, Ajay Chibber, at a seminar on 'The Risks Taken in the Turkish Banking Sector' said that, thanks to the decisiveness of its government, Turkey has set an example for other countries in the region and many countries see Turkey as a role-model. Chibber also said that such decisive and brave measures were vital for Turkey's economy and the World Bank has been observing these developments. /Aksam/
 EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN INTERNATIONAL TOURISM AND TRAVEL FAIRThe largest Eastern Mediterranean fair, the 'Eastern Mediterranean International Tourism and Travel (EMITT) Fair` will take place in Istanbul between 17-20 February. One hundred and fifty tourism companies from 40 different countries are expected to participate and the income from the fair will be donated to those charities established to help the people affected by the earthquakes i both Greece and Turkey. /Cumhuriyet/
 THREE HEALTH FACILITIES OPEN IN ANKARAThe Ministry of Health's efforts to invest in the reconstruction of the health sector are continuing. Ankara Hospital's main laboratories, pathology laboratories and blood banks have been renovated and were re-opened yesterday. These new health facilities established within Ankara Hospital, one of the most vital hospitals in Ankara, were opened by Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli and Minister of Health Osman Durmus yesterday. Officials stated that Ankara Hospital would provide a better serve from now on and that further units would be added here. /Turkiye/
 ISIKARA MEETS JAPANESE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRSThe Japanese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ichita Yamamato, who was present at the inauguration of the 'Japanese village' of 500 prefabricated houses in Adapazari, met the Director of Kandilli Observatory, Prof. Ahmet Mete Isikara, at a dinner organized in his honour in Istanbul. Yamamato said that Japan would send 100 more prefabricated houses soon and was briefed by Prof. Isikara on the underlying geological structure of Turkey and the earthquake risk in Turkey. Yamamato pointed out that his people had great sympathy for the Turkish people and recalled that Japan was among those countries which helped Turkey the most after the earthquake last August. /Milliyet/
 POLLUTION FROM RUSSIAN TANKER CLEANED UPAttempts are being made to clean up the pollution from the Russian tanker Volgoneft 248, which broke up in heavy gales and was stranded off the coast of Florya. Two hundred people are involved in the clean-up operation along without any heavy equipment. The Meke Company was appointed by the Volganeft's insurance company to carry out the clean-up operation which has been going on for more than a month. Officials from the Company stated that they had collected nearly 2,000 tons of oil from the seabed and coastline; the work should be finished completely in one month's time. /Milliyet/
 NEW APPOINTMENT IN THE WORLD BANKThe World Bank Deputy Chairman's area of responsibility is changing. Kemal Dervis, who is responsible for North Africa and the Middle East, will take on more work as the Chairman of the Poverty and Economic Management Department from May onwards. Meanwhile, the restructuring of the International Financial Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank, is continuing. As a result, Turkey will be excluded from the IFC's Middle East-North Africa region and will be included in the Balkans-Central Asia region. /Sabah/
 IMF DELEGATION TO ARRIVE IN TURKEYAn IMF delegation will arrive in Ankara on 16th February to attend meetings on the economic proposals outlined in the letter of intent drawn up under the stand-by agreement signed with the IMF. The IMF's Chairman for Turkey, Carlo Cottareli will be present on 18th February due to his busy schedule. The delegation is expected to stay in Turkey for 10 days and will first of all review the economic developments which took place in 1999. Officials stated that the delegation would also examine data from January and the first half of February 2000 as well. /Sabah/
 GREAT SUPPORT FROM HALKBANKDeputy Prime Minister Husamettin Ozkan has stated that Halkbank has begun to implement three loan ventures for capital accumulation, product and software improvement. Ozkan said, "A new financing model of a suitable length and with suitable interest conditions was formed thanks to these loans. We will provide the Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (KOBI) with a structure that can compete with companies in the European Union. At this time, while harmonization with the EU is being worked on, our government is determined, in particular, to support the KOBIs." Halkbank's new loans for the KOBIs are as follows: software loans, product development loans and sectoral growth loans. /Sabah/
 RECONSTRUCTION OF YALOVA BY BRITAINA technical and financial cooperation agreement which aims to contribute to the reconstruction of the province of Yalova was signed between Turkey and Britain in Ankara. Undersecretary Ali Helvaci signed the document on behalf of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, and the British Ambassador to Ankara, Sir David Lagon, signed the accord on behalf of the British Department of the Environment. Under the agreement, one-and-a-half million pounds, the cost of the reconstruction, will be donated to Turkey. /Cumhuriyet/
 40% DISCOUNT BY TURKISH AIRLINES ON VALENTINES' DAYTurkish Airlines will apply a 'Special Valentines' Day' discount between 11th and 14th February on its flights to Rome, Paris and London. Only couples can take advantage of the special offer: a return Istanbul-London or Istanbul-Paris flight will cost 239 dollars per person and a return to Rome will cost 199 dollars. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS
 STABILITY IN THE BALKANS BY SEMIH IDIZ (STAR)Columnist Semih Idiz writes on the possibility of stability in the Balkans. A summary of his column is as follows:
"The "Balkan Foreign Ministers' Meeting" held in the magnificent conference hall of the "Sava Centre" in 1988 led to great expectations. The meeting had brought the Foreign Ministers of this turbulent peninsula together for the first time. All participants believed that they had sown the seeds of peace and if these seeds were tended carefully enough, they would blossom into the brotherhood yearned for many years. The region which was called the powderkeg of the world could have overcome its bad fortune.
However, no-one was to know that while peace songs were being played at the conference hall, President Slobodan Milosevic had already sown the seeds of hate. We did not know that the Serbs referred to their greatest enemies as "Turks".
The events which happened following this meeting are known to the whole world today. First, Bulgarian President Todor Jivkov's brutality towards ethnic Turks living in his country which brought Bulgaria and Turkey to the brink of war in 1989, then the ethnic tension which first started in Bosnia-Herzegovina, spreading to Kosovo and other regions in Yugoslavia.
Furthermore, the tension between Greece and Turkey, which is liable at any time to turn into an armed conflict, disturbed everyone. In short, before the ink of the good-will documents, signed by Foreign Ministers who believed they were working for peace, had dried, the clouds of the "Third Balkan War" were gathering.
The Balkan leaders are meeting today in Bucharest to continue the efforts began in 1998 in Crete and then Antalya for a new peace initiative. The Summit which will be attended by Prime Minister Ecevit, is called the "Southeastern European Countries' Cooperation Process Summit". There is no mention of the Balkans, but in official language this region is known as Southeastern Europe.
Stability is a prime requirement in the Balkans today and the conference held under the auspices of the OSCE in Sarajevo last year aimed to provide it. The leaders gathering in Bucharest today have the same concern. However, while those who have fanned ethnic hatred are still on the scene, criminals responsible for crimes against humanity are freely wandering the streets, shaking the hands of French UN troops. While the Europeans who did nothing but embroil themselves in the Balkans still stick to their old obsessions, it is not clear how stability can be achieved.
Certainly, there are some promising developments being seen in the Balkans, the most important being the climate of friendship recently created between Turkey and Greece. This is not something to be taken lightly. If the French and the Germans can make peace, why not the Turks and the Greeks? Therefore, it is possible to be optimistic about stability in the Balkans."
 SECULARISM BY COSKUN KIRCA (AKSAM)Former Ambassador Coskun Kirca comments on the concept of secularism. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Some who declare theselves to be the leaders of the reformist wing of the Virtue Party, have reached the unshakeable opinion that secularism is the only way out and state that it was they who were promoting this idea! According to one of the newspapers, this was an important crossroads!!!
These people took extraordinary efforts to amend the last paragraph of the 24th Article in the Constitution which describes two requirements for secularism in August 1995. This provision not only bans the exploitation of religion, but also stipulates that the State's social, economic, political and legal parts cannot be run along religious lines, even partially. Have they begun to see the truth after all, or are they faking it?
This behaviour cannot be described as anything but hypocrisy. These people promised to be loyal to the principle of secularism as they were being sworn in as deputies. If you describe secularism by changing the essence or requirements of the concept, you can convince others or even yourself that you are in favour of secularism, but the concept you defend will not be true. Furthermore, these people are not saying that they have deviated from secularism for the first time; when in trouble, they have always pretended to defend something else. So, this is not a new development.
According to their latest statements, the Virtue Party does in fact recognize secularism, and had no demands other than the implementations of the freedom of religion. One of their demands concerns the dress code for women; another concerns re-arrangement of working hours so as to allow everyone to undertake their religious obligations. According to the Virtue Party, all these are in line with secularism and are in fact a natural result of secularism. In fact, the Virtue Party has a series of demands which appear to immply that secularism is only about the freedom of religion.
However, secularism does not only cover the freedoms of conscience and of religion. While recognizing the freedom of religion and of conscience for the individual, secularism requires his philosophical belief to be practiced only in his private life. Otherwise, individuals become political beings. Therefore, the secularist state bans the display of religious beliefs by the individual in schools and public institutions. No-one can act against his obligations stemming from the law because of his religious belief. In fact, secularism establishes equality among citizens and brings them together.
According to the Virtue Party, plurality in the legal system is a necessity of religious freedom. No-one should be constrained to marry with only a civil ceremony and the religious ceremony should also be made valid. Moreover, the individual should be able to be tried according to religious laws and not only according to the civil law.
The Virtue Party believes itself to be a defender of freedoms due to its demands, the aim of which is not to give way to greater freedom but to lead to inequality within society, especially for women. Secularism does not permit this.
The reformist wing of the Virtue Party has to declare itsviews on religious freedom. In recent statements, no answer can be found to this question. Who is hindering the practice of religious rules, prayers, pligrimage and others so that there is talk of restricted religious freedom in the country?
The view of the Virtue Party on the Hizbullah affair is interesting. It is not opposed to their policy of forming a religious state, but rather to their violent methods of accomplishing it.
If you pretend too much, you cannot convince people with commonsense."
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