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Turkish Press Review, 00-02-14

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

14.02.00

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
  • [02] PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TO BE DEBATED
  • [03] NEW ERA IN THE BALKANS
  • [04] HARMONIZATION WITH EUROPEAN UNION
  • [05] MASSIVE VENTURES TO BE IMPLEMENTED 2010
  • [06] FOREIGN MINISTER CEM IN BERLIN
  • [07] DENKTAS: "EUROPEAN UNION WOULD WANT AN UNDIVIDED CYPRUS"
  • [08] SOCIAL INSURANCE INSTITUTION TO ISSUE ELECTRONIC CARDS
  • [09] EDUCATION WITHIN MOSQUES
  • [10] TRANSPORT WORKERS CONTINUE SUPPORT FOR EARTHQUAKE SURVIVORS
  • [11] TURK-IS GATHERS IN ADAPAZARI
  • [12] PARLIAMENTARY MEMBERS PRESENT AT POLITICAL SYMPOSIUM
  • [13] KIVRIKOGLU DUE IN MALAYSIA
  • [14] IMF WILL BEGIN ITS INSPECTION WITH BANKING SECTOR
  • [15] FIELDSTONE'S: 'LET'S ESTABLISH MORTGAGE SYSTEM IN TURKEY`
  • [16] TURKISH WORKFORCE ACROSS MANY CONTINENTS
  • [17] SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT IN ENGLISH NEWSPAPER ON TURKEY
  • [18] ERCEL WARNS INDUSTRIALISTS
  • [19] INVESTMENT ENCOURAGED BY THE TREASURY
  • [20] TURCO-GREEK BRIDGE OF ART
  • [21] SCHOOLS RE-OPEN TODAY
  • [22] SEBA: HONORARY CHAIRMAN
  • [23] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
  • [24] FRANCE AND ARMENIANS BY SUKRU ELEKDAG (MILLIYET)
  • [25] AFTER THE BALKAN SUMMIT BY SEMIH IDIZ (STAR)

  • [01] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...

    [02] PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION TO BE DEBATED

    The first concrete step concerning the setting-out of electoral procedure vis-a-vis the Presidential election in Turkey will be taken today. The True Path Party (DYP) and the Virtue Party (FP) will present their proposal for a Constitutional change, complete with 187 signatures, to the Turkish National Grand Assembly (TGNA); the document requires the general public to elect the President. It will be discussed by the TGNA's Justice Commission and then will be brought to the notice of General Council. After this, the proposed '5+5' formula will be placed on the agenda, at which point the Democratic Left Party (DSP) will retire to prepare the appropriate Constitutional amendment; following this, it will be passed on to the TGNA. It is expected that the 5+5 formula will be supported and accepted. /Turkiye/

    [03] NEW ERA IN THE BALKANS

    Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit attended the third Summit of Southeastern European Heads of State and Government. The leaders of six Balkan nations -Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania and Turkey- signed the Stability, Security and Cooperation Charter for Good Neighbourly relations within Southeastern Europe in Bucharest, Romania on Saturday. In comment, Ecevit said 'concrete steps' would be taken with the signing of the Charter to pave the way for multilateral cooperation in the region. Premier Ecevit met with the leaders of all five nations present at the Summit and discussed regional issues with them, particularly that of the former Yugoslavia; The joint statement signed at the end of the Summit called on the former Yugoslavia to implement urgently democratism. Having met with Turkish businessmen in Romania, Ecevit pointed out that 6,074 Turkish companies, six Turkish banks and 15,000 Turkish businessmen were making a significant contribution to the development of Romania. Mentioning the fact that 100,000 Turks live in Romania, the Premier praised Fethullah Gulen's schools in the region, saying, "I was informed that the schools opened recently by the Turkish private sector were a source of great satisfaction." He also stated his pleasure in being able to say that Romania had taken great steps to curb PKK activities compared to the situation some three or four months ago. /Hurriyet/

    [04] HARMONIZATION WITH EUROPEAN UNION

    As part of the regulatory work to harmonize Turkey's systems with the European Union (EU), the legal regulations on the EU's 'A' or 'priority' list have been partially completed. It was revealed that the State Planning Organization (DPT) has examined Turkey's current position as far as its attainment of its EU integration objectives is concerned. The data obtained from the survey was compiled into a 784-page report by the DPT's EU Relations Department. Within the report, the process following Turkey's application for EU membership in 1987 was described. It was stated that a report prepared by the EU Commission entitled 'Turkey Preparing For EU Membership' had been updated by the DPT and the work to determine the point Turkey has reached has been started. In the report, it was stated that this work is being carried out with significant contributions from public institutions and establishments in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the DTP Commission. /Turkiye/

    [05] MASSIVE VENTURES TO BE IMPLEMENTED 2010

    After the declaration of Turkey's EU candidacy, and with its target of joining the EU with a stronger internal structure, Turkey has speeded up the investments that it plans to implement in the first decade of the 21st century. Turkey has become reckless and aims to carry out investment ventures in energy, transport, general infrastructure, agricultural integration and the defence industry by the year 2010. Turkey is planning to obtain 25% of its energy requirements from nuclear power by the year 2010, and will begin to receive gas in the year 2002 thanks to the speeding up of the Blue Stream Venture with Russia. In the meantime, Turkey will market Caspian petroleum to Europe across its own territory. Turkey also aims to extend its present network of 2,000 kilometres of highways to 5,000 kilometres, and to complete the laying of railway track between major cities before the year 2010. Turkey will also invest in 145 tactical fighter helicopters, 1,000 main battle tanks, joint ventures to manufacture planes and helicopters, the modernization of its present fighters, and a series of smaller planes concerning defence by the year 2010. /Turkiye/

    [06] FOREIGN MINISTER CEM IN BERLIN

    Turkey's Foreign Minister, Ismail Cem, has arrived in Berlin on a two-day official visit. Cem will visit his German colleague, Joschka Fischer, and is expected to thank him once more for Germany's positive support at the Helsinki Summit. During the meeting, developments which have occurred since the Summit, the warmth in relations between Turkey and Germany, the Cyprus issue, and the tank question which was one of Germany's concerns, will be discussed. In addition, Cem will inaugurate his painting exhibition entitled 'Seasons' during the visit. Turkey's Ambassador to Berlin, Tugay Ulucevik, stated that Cem would meet the Consul-General of the Western Europe Union in Berlin and talk of the problems and difficulties facing Turkish people living in European countries. /Turkiye/

    [07] DENKTAS: "EUROPEAN UNION WOULD WANT AN UNDIVIDED CYPRUS"

    The President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Rauf Denktas, has stated that the European Union (EU) does not intend to accept a Cyprus which is divided in two for membership to the Union. Denktas completed his round of talks in Germany and returned to Istanbul yesterday. He said, "Turkey sacrificed its people so that a consensus could be reached on Cyprus. The confederation proposal that we suggest is a welding-together for Cyprus. The approach of the Greek-Cypriots, to the effect that 'There is only one government here, that of the Greek-Cypriots, and the sovereignity of Cyprus cannot be mentioned', demonstrates that they desire the continuation of the present situation." After this, Denktas arrived in Ankara and was welcomed by Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit at Esenboga Airport. Denktas also met the Deputy-General of the General Staff, General Atilla Ates at a dinner later that day. /Sabah/

    [08] SOCIAL INSURANCE INSTITUTION TO ISSUE ELECTRONIC CARDS

    People who depend on the Social Insurance Institution (SSK) will be issued with an electronic card containing their personal information. In this way, their previous illnesses, any information concerning their diagnosis and treatment, the medicines they had previously been prescribed, and even whether or not they had paid their insurance premiums, will be able to be checked using computer systems. In addition, patients will be able to make an appointment either by phone, or in person at the hospital thanks to the new cards. This card will be made use of by the Employment Authority as well; any insured person who losses his or her job, or any person looking for work, will be able to find jobs online. /Sabah/

    [09] EDUCATION WITHIN MOSQUES

    The ferocity of the illegal Hizbullah organization in using the Islamic religion will create changes within mosques in Turkey. Under a Religious Affairs Directorate plan mosques will become not only centres for prayer, but also will be used to educate people. Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz stated, "Everyday at specified hours, religious concepts, explanation of the Koran and the life of the Prophet Muhommed will be lectured on. Those who wish to may come to the mosques just like going to school. This is the largest religious venture carried out by the Turkish Republic, in which 900 muftis (religious leaders) and thousands of imams (preachers) will participate. Yilmaz, the Chairman of the Religious Affairs Directorate set out their target as follows: "Islam doesn't relate to terrorism. Islam is here to abolish terrorism and the instigation of hatred. This will be explained to our citizens." /Aksam/

    [10] TRANSPORT WORKERS CONTINUE SUPPORT FOR EARTHQUAKE SURVIVORS

    The International Transport Workers' Association, which has used all of its resources to meet the transport, communication and housing needs of the earthquake-hit region, has added one more item to its efforts to ensure its support for the survivors. The International Transport Workers' Association intends to hand over 40 prefabricated houses to their new owners. /Turkiye/

    [11] TURK-IS GATHERS IN ADAPAZARI

    Turk-Is' Council of Ministers will convene in Adapazari today. During the meeting to support the earthquake victims and re-investigate the problems of the area in situ, the problems of the workers in the earthquake-hit region and the collective labour agreement will be discussed. /Turkiye/

    [12] PARLIAMENTARY MEMBERS PRESENT AT POLITICAL SYMPOSIUM

    A two-day symposium entitled 'Political Structure and Basic Political Issues`, which was organized by the Turkish Union of Politicians in Parliament and the Socio-Economic Political Research Foundation, held in Ankara, attended by various representatives of Turkish and foreign Assemblies. During the Symposium, a number of issues, from the Constitution to capital punishment, were discussed in detail. /Hurriyet/

    [13] KIVRIKOGLU DUE IN MALAYSIA

    Chief of General Staff General Huseyin Kivrikoglu has gone to Malaysia. On the invitation of the Malayan and Singaporean Chief of General Staffs, General Kivrikoglu will pay visits to both places between Feb. 13 and 18. /Hurriyet/

    [14] IMF WILL BEGIN ITS INSPECTION WITH BANKING SECTOR

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation led by the IMF Chairman for Turkey, Carlo Cottarelli, will start its inspection of the stability programme as from the middle of this week. Prior to the two-week-long observation, economic administrators spent the whole weekend working on preparations for the review. With this work, it was realized that most goals had been reached, except for that of inflation, and that the first results of the financial programme were on target. It was further determined that tax revenues, together with the additional taxes collected amounted to 90 trillion TL over and above the target set for the first month. It was also stated that the main agenda of discussions with the IMF delegation will be work on banking and financial sector reforms, the implementation of the Banking Law and the situation of the five banks whose administration was taken over by the government not long ago. /Milliyet/

    [15] FIELDSTONE'S: 'LET'S ESTABLISH MORTGAGE SYSTEM IN TURKEY`

    The American mortgage company, Fieldstone's, which for years has enabled Americans to buy houses with long-term, low-interest-rate loans, has submitted a written request to Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit for permission to operate in Turkey. Accordingly, the General Director of Fieldstone's Dr. Katsuhiko Takahashi, stated that the firm wanted to invest in Turkey with a Turkish partner, Huseyin Atkin. Atkin is still the financial advisor to the Company in the US, and declared his view that the housing problem in Turkey depends entirely on financial issues. Noting that mortgages have been a part of American life for 150 years, Atkin stressed that they want to provide loans, at an 8% interest rate, to be repaid over a period of 15-30 years, to 500,000 people in the first instance. /Hurriyet/

    [16] TURKISH WORKFORCE ACROSS MANY CONTINENTS

    The Turkish workforce's adventure in foreign countries has been extended to cover many continents. The Employment Authority has enabled Turkish workers to be sent to 36 countries including Ethiopia, Guernsey, Barbados, Pakistan and Japan. Of the 435,193 people who submitted applications to the Employment Authority last year, 201,942 were provided with work. /Sabah/

    [17] SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT IN ENGLISH NEWSPAPER ON TURKEY

    English weekly newspaper 'The Sunday Telegraph' has published a 24-page supplement entitled 'Turkey on the road to Europe'. In the introduction it is stated that Turkey is getting closer to EU membership; it was also written: "Turkey should ensure political and economic conditions are brought to the level of membership criteria". In the introductory article, it was revealed that Turkey would try to gurantee legal synthesis in commerce, industry and finance within a few years. It added that Turkey's full membership is dependent upon reaching European standards in terms of democracy and human rights. In this special supplement, a wide variety of photographs showing Turkey's natural beauties, its factories, its banks, historical artefacts, the Bosphorus bridges and its agriculture were published. /Sabah/

    [18] ERCEL WARNS INDUSTRIALISTS

    Central Bank Chairman, Gazi Ercel has stated that the public should reduce its expectations so that inflation can be decreased. Ercel answered questions posed by the 'Employer' magazine, published by the Confederation of Turkish Employers (TISK), and stated that the economic programme should be adopted by all parts of society. Ercel said, "The decrease in uncertainty with regard to foreign exchange rates within the system will have positive effects both on the financial and consumer sectors. The foreign exchange rate and foreign inflation package that was announced will determine the price of those goods which are subject to international trade. Therefore, a period during which healthy competition will increase will begin for those firms engaged in the private sector manufacturing industry. As a result, these firms should take the inflation rates we aim at into consideration when determining price increases." /Milliyet/

    [19] INVESTMENT ENCOURAGED BY THE TREASURY

    The Treasury issued incentives for the investment of 381 trillion 753 billion 204 million TL in December. During the same period, the amount of foreign capital investment was 498.3 million dollars. According to the announcement printed in the Official Gazette, the manufacturing sector was the one that received the most encouragement, for the investment of 163.5 trillion TL. /Star/

    [20] TURCO-GREEK BRIDGE OF ART

    Artists in Greece and Turkey are determined to keep the friendly atmosphere between the two countries alive. Five Greek artists arrived in Turkey yesterday for the 'Turco-Greek artists' painting exhibition', the income of which will be donated to the Greek and Turkish earthquake victims. The Greek artists were welcomed by the Minister of Culture, Istemihan Talay, and will visit Ataturk's Mauseoleum today. Talay will open the exhibition today, which was organized in cooperation with Mimar Sinan University's Society of Graduates from the State Fine Arts Academy in Ankara and the Athens Aenaon Art Gallery. The work of 40 artists, 50% of whom are Greek and the remainder of whom are Turkish, will be displayed at the exhibition which will be open until 27th February. /Milliyet/

    [21] SCHOOLS RE-OPEN TODAY

    The two-week mid-year break for primary and secondary schools has ended. Students begin their second semester of lessons today, which will continue for about another four intensive months. Those students who wish to attend Fen and Anadolu High Schools will take the entrance exam on June 11th, and pupils in their final year at high school will also take an exam on June 18th so as to be able to enter university. /Cumhuriyet/

    [22] SEBA: HONORARY CHAIRMAN

    Suleyman Seba, who has been Chairman of Besiktas Club for 16 years, bid fairwell to the Club's management during the meeting of General Assembly at the Lutfi Kirdar Congress Centre. With a proposal of the opposition group, Saba was unanimously given the title of Honorary Chairmanship. /Hurriyet/

    [23] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...

    [24] FRANCE AND ARMENIANS BY SUKRU ELEKDAG (MILLIYET)

    Former Ambassador Sukru Elekdag comments on relations between Turkey and France and the influence of the Armenians. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Seemingly Turco-French relations are based on traditional friendship ties and alliances. In fact, on an official visit paid to France in February 1998, French Head of State Jacques Chirac welcomed President Demirel, saying that he was accepted as if he were a member of the family with feelings of deep respect, admiration and friendship. During this visit, an "Action Plan" foreseeing an increase in political, economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries was signed.

    However, even while the memory of this visit was still fresh in their minds, the French National Assembly accepted on May 1998, a Bill which distorted the historical facts unfairly with regard to Turkey. This draft had only one article which said "France openly recognizes the 1915 Armenian massacre."; the interesting part is that this Bill was accepted unanimously with 30 votes. This showed that the French Government had turned a blind eye did not prevent the acceptance of the Bill with its right of veto under the Constitution.

    In order to be enacted law, the draft has to be accepted by the Senate as well. The process which was stopped due to intensive efforts by Ankara, but seems to have been revived nowadays. The Armenian lobby wants to commemorate the anniversary of the so-called Armenian massacre on 24 April and have started intense lobbying in France for the enactment of this draft. In fact, Article 412 of the French Constitution recognizes the Government's power to prevent the enactment of a draft if it is against State interests; if the Senate Chairman accepts the objection outlined by the Government, the draft is withdrawn. However, in this case, the French Government does not want to use its veto prerogative. Although French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine stated that he did not see the enactment of the draft as being beneficial for France, he also added that he would not object to a discussion of the issue in the Senate; Chirac is in support of this view.

    The influence of the Armenians in France stems from the fact that the General Election is near and certain senators who are also serving as provincial mayors do not want to lose the votes of the Armenians.

    In 1993, famous historian Bernard Lewis published an article in "Le Monde" about the Armenian genocide where he said:" There is no valid document to prove that the Ottoman Government planned a massacre against the Armenian nation. There are legal reasons why the Ottoman Turks resorted to deportations of Armenians, in other words, their removal from the battle zones. The Armenians were fighting Turkey at the time in alliance with the Russians who had occupied Ottoman territory. " In fact, those who were actually responsible for the tragedy in Eastern Anatolia were Tsarist Russia, France and Britain who incited the Armenians, of whose loyalty the Ottoman State was sure and, for this reason had previously called them "the loyal nation", to rebel.

    This being the case, it is futile, wrong and improper for the French Naitonal Assembly to pass a judgement on such a controversial subject under the influence of manipulative persons or to consider itself an expert on historical issues. The judgement of events in history should be left to the historians.

    Another important point is that the enactment of a French law recognizing this as a massacre will fan the emotions of hatred and lead grudge-bearing and racist hostilities among the nations. The enactment of this draft will not only confer legality on the murder of 34 Turkish diplomats in the recent past but moreover will bring about a misunderstanding whereby others will be encouraged to commit new crimes. The French Government and its National Assembly should be aware of this responsibility.

    Finally, France should rid itself of its sub-contractor status in furthering the policy of Armenia, which is using the claim of this "massacre" as a weapon against Turkey and a means of international blackmail and pressure.The accusation directed against Turkey by France so as to satisfy the historical obsessions of Armenian lobbyists, will be regarded not only as being hostile but also will sully Turkey's national pride. It is inevitable that Turco-French relations will be damaged by this."

    [25] AFTER THE BALKAN SUMMIT BY SEMIH IDIZ (STAR)

    Columnist Semih Idiz comments on the Balkan Summit. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "The leaders of the Balkan countries who came together in Bucharest, Romania last week, together signed the "Charter for Good-Neighbourly Relations, Security and Stability". In a press conference after the Summit, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit pointed out that a new era had begun with this Charter and the countries in the region were now able to determine their futures with greater clarity. Although we would like to agree with Prime Minister Ecevit's words, which sounded more like a desire rather than an actual statement, the events of the past do not lead us to be optimistic on the issue.

    Such a document was also signed in 1934 among the countries in the region. Just as the Charter signed in Bucharest has done, this also led to the raising of great expectations. However, just a few years after its signing, the region witnessed the bloodiest scenes of the Second World War. In no time at all, the "1934 spirit" was in ruins and the Balkan peninsula experienced some of the most terrifying years in its history.

    Communist rule which settled in the region following World War II was not able to overcome the deep feelings of hostility which had surfaced among the various ethnic groups; these were merely put on hold for a while. The death of Marshal Tito who had ruled Yugoslavia with an iron fist resulted in the collapse of communism, and historic hatreds were revived; in Bosnia-Herzegovina alone, 300,000 people died.

    These facts require that the leaders which met in Bucharest act to determine their common futures in addition to the good-will statements. Unless this can be realized and ethnic and national calculations are brought to the fore a repetiton of past events will inevitably follow.

    For the Balkans to achieve stability, the politicians and those who regard such security as a threat should be removed from the scene. Today, the fate of former-Yugoslavia is still in the hands of Slobodan Milosevic and his gang who are ready to do everything they can to hang on to power. In other words, so long as these people, who have been declared to be war criminals, are in power and are trying to stir things up, how stability in the Balkans can be achieved is anyone's guess; a question mark hangs over the situation.

    We have seen two important factors coming to the fore during the Balkan Summit. One of them is that the developments experienced following the conflict in Bosnia has shown that Turkey is one of the main elements in the Balkans' balance who cannot be excluded in any way. Turkey's leadership in ensuring the Charter signed in Bucharest is another proof of the fact. Secondly, it has been understood that Turco-Greek relations have a lot to do with stability in the Balkans. It can be recalled that during both the Bosnian and Kosovar crises the most-voiced concern in the West was that it might lead to a war between Turkey and Greece. In fact, we did not believe in such a possibility, but frequent mentioning of it revealed the importance of Turco-Greek relations with regard to the Balkans.

    It must be said that what made the statement of peace and stability in the Balkans convincing stemmed from the warm and friendly atmosphere between the Turkish and Greek Prime Ministers. We believe that the carrying of this climate of friendship to the Bucharest meeting was one of the most important aspects of the Balkan Summit."


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