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Turkish Press Review, 00-02-23

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

23.02.00

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] ANKARA CHAMBER OF TRADE SUPPORTS GOVERNMENT'S NEW ECONOMIC PROGRAMME
  • [02] DEMIREL IN SAMSUN
  • [03] PRESIDENT DEMIREL TO OBSERVE MANOEUVRES
  • [04] PEOPLE'S DEMOCRACY PARTY ON EUROPEAN UNION AGENDA
  • [05] ECEVIT'S REACTION TO EUROPEAN UNION INTERFERENCE
  • [06] COMMONSENSE OVERCOMES IN FRANCE
  • [07] BUSH PROMISES TO RECOGNIZE 'GENOCIDE`
  • [08] IRANIAN PRESS REACTION TO ECEVIT AND CEM
  • [09] SWISS FOREIGN MINISTER PLEDGES INVESTMENT
  • [10] OKUYAN ISSUES STATEMENT
  • [11] TURKEY REQUESTS EXTRADITION OF KARAYILAN FROM HOLLAND
  • [12] RAID ON VIRTUE PARTY
  • [13] HELICOPTER TENDER ON 6 MARCH
  • [14] MONTREUX TREATY AND THE STRAITS
  • [15] DRAFT LAW ON WOMEN'S STATUS APPROVED
  • [16] COTTARELLI VISITS STATE STATISTICS INSTITUTION
  • [17] BONUS FOR GOVERNMENT WORKERS
  • [18] ANKARA CHAMBER OF TRADE SUPPORTS GOVERNMENT'S NEW ECONOMIC PROGRAMME
  • [19] ERCEL: "STRUGGLE TO GO ON FOR TEN YEARS"
  • [20] MORTGAGE SYSTEM DISCUSSED
  • [21] HALKBANK TO EXPORT BONDS
  • [22] PTT TO ESTABLISH BANK
  • [23] BEKO'S NEW PRODUCTS
  • [24] GALATA BRIDGE UNDER MAINTENANCE
  • [25] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
  • [26] WORLD HISTORY AND POLITICS BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)
  • [27] RIVAL TO TURKISH STRUCTURE? BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

  • [01] ANKARA CHAMBER OF TRADE SUPPORTS GOVERNMENT'S NEW ECONOMIC PROGRAMME

    [02] DEMIREL IN SAMSUN

    President Suleyman Demirel and a delegation accompanying him, comprising Minister of National Education Metin Bostancioglu and Chairman of the Institution of Higher Education (YOK) Prof. Dr. Kemal Guruz, arrived in Samsun yesterday and were welcomed by the Governor of Samsun, Metin Ilyas Aksoy, Samsun's parliamentary representatives, military and civilian staff. President Demirel postponed a foundation-laying ceremony for the Chamber of Trade and Industry's Anatolian Technical School due to the heavy rain and visited the Governor's office instead. The President, Education Minister and YOK Chairman also attended the opening ceremony of the primary school whose construction was funded by singer Orhan Gencebay in Samsun. During his visit to Samsun, President Demirel was presented with an 'Honorary Doctorate' by the 19 May University. /Turkiye/

    [03] PRESIDENT DEMIREL TO OBSERVE MANOEUVRES

    One of the Turkish Armed Forces' planned manoeuvres for the year 2000, 'Winter-2000` is going to be carried out today in Sarikamis, in the district of Baliklidag. In addition to President Suleyman Demirel, the Chief of General Staff, Huseyin Kivrikoglu, Ministers, Forces' Commanders and high ranking officers will observe the exercise. Eleven countries will observe it with eight of their generals and 14 of their officiers as guests, while another eleven are sending their Military Attaches. /Cumhuriyet/

    [04] PEOPLE'S DEMOCRACY PARTY ON EUROPEAN UNION AGENDA

    The European Union (EU) is insisting that Turkey, which promised to implement human rights and democratization reforms and tackle the Kurdish problem, take more concrete steps concerning these issues. It was revealed that Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joschka Fischer, called the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ismail Cem, so as to be briefed on the situation concerning the recent detention of those Mayors from the Southeast of Turkey who are members of the People's Democracy Party (HADEP). So now Turkey is faced with pressure from the EU concerning human rights and democracy. /Cumhuriyet/

    [05] ECEVIT'S REACTION TO EUROPEAN UNION INTERFERENCE

    Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit stated that the European Union member-countries' manner concerning the People's Democracy Party (HADEP) was very irritating: "We will rebuke Europe if necessary. We are sensitive about our territorial integrity and we will be insistent upon our approach to this issue." Ecevit also called on HADEP Mayors to act with foresight during the following process. Ecevit also evaluated the Turkish presidential elections' Constitutional amendment and stated that this process was continuing in a positive manner. /Cumhuriyet/

    [06] COMMONSENSE OVERCOMES IN FRANCE

    The Presidency Council of the French Senate refused to put the bill relating to the so-called Armenian genocide on the agenda due to the fact that 'It may damage peace in the Caucasus and it is contrary to the French Constitution. The Constitution doesn't permit the Parliament to judge history`. The bill was defeated by 14 votes to six. /Hurriyet/

    [07] BUSH PROMISES TO RECOGNIZE 'GENOCIDE`

    George W. Bush, the strongest candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and for the presidential elections in the US in November, wrote to the leaders of the Armenian community saying that the United States had to recognize the Armenian genocide and that he would do so if he were elected President. The promise is being interpreted as part of Bush's effort to gain the full support of Armenian voters in the upcoming presidential elections and to channel Armenian funding for his political campaign. /Cumhuriyet/

    [08] IRANIAN PRESS REACTION TO ECEVIT AND CEM

    Iranian newspapers criticized the declarations of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and Foreign Minister Ismail Cem relating to their comments on the results of the elections in Iran. Articles published in certain newspapers stated that Ecevit and Cem's statements constituted interference in Iran's internal affairs. /Cumhuriyet/

    [09] SWISS FOREIGN MINISTER PLEDGES INVESTMENT

    Swiss Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss, while paying an official visit to Turkey, said that 'a new period` will begin in relations between Turkey and Switzerland. After his meeting with businessmen in Istanbul, Deiss recalled that the mutual political ties had been frozen for a long time and only economic relations had continued. The Swiss Minister said that frequent meetings and learning more about Turkey would help to develop relations during this new era. Stressing that Foreign Minister Ismail Cem's visit to Switzerland in Autumn will be a milestone in this period of rapprochement, Deniss also emphasized that he was making every effort to encourage Swiss businessmen to invest in Turkey. /Hurriyet/

    [10] OKUYAN ISSUES STATEMENT

    The Minister for Labour and Social Security, Yasar Okuyan, and six non-governmental organizations met at a panel discussion entitled 'Social Dialogue on the Road to the European Union". During the meeting Okuyan delivered a speech in which he said, "Turkey is not aware of its power and position as a country. This young Republic is a very deeply-rooted nation. The Turkish nation and the Turkish State have never been ashamed. Turkey's underground resources and her riches above-ground should be recognized. In addition, two million Turkish people are living in Germany now and the German Government has ensured employment for 170,000 Turkish people. Turkish enterprises in Germany enjoy an important place in the German economy due to their investment of 11 billion Deutsche Marks in Germany. /Turkiye/

    [11] TURKEY REQUESTS EXTRADITION OF KARAYILAN FROM HOLLAND

    The extradition of one of the members of the PKK terrorist organization, Murat Karayilan, who had asked for shelter in Holland, has been requested. The Turkish government declared its concern over this issue and outlined its request to the Dutch government. According to information supplied by officials from the Dutch Ministry of Justice, the extradition application process has begun to be carried out. However, this will see no result for at least another six months. /Sabah/

    [12] RAID ON VIRTUE PARTY

    Security forces have carried out an investigation of the Virtue Party (VP) in the town of Sincan under the orders of Nuh Mete Yuksel, the Prosecutor of Ankara State Security Court (DGM). When the links of certain Hizbullah militants to the VP was unveiled after their arrest, the DGM Prosecutor issued a warrant for the raid the VP branch in Sincan. A team from the Anti-Terrorism Department has confiscated members' records and some other documents during the raid. /Hurriyet/

    [13] HELICOPTER TENDER ON 6 MARCH

    The future of the helicopter tender, which is of extreme importance for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), will be made clear on 6 March. The Defence Industry Executive Commission, consisting of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, the Chief of General Staff, General Huseyin Kivrikoglu, and the Minister for National Defence, Sabahattin Cakmakoglu, will have difficulty reaching an agreement in regard to this issue. The U.S., which supports Turkey in every respect, is expecting the contract to be given to an American firm whereas the European Union (EU) is expecting it to be awarded to an EU member-country under the framework of recent developments. Meanwhile, the Russo-Israeli Consortium has increased its chances in winning the bidding by promising, 'We will give all our knowledge of helicopter manufacturing technology to Turkey.' /Sabah/

    [14] MONTREUX TREATY AND THE STRAITS

    It was stated that the Montreux Treaty, which recognizes Turkey's sovereignty over the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles Straits,also known as the Turkish Straits, should be revised in line with the current conditions in order to ensure the safe passage of ships. Maritime officials pointed out that Turkey's sovereign rights over the Straits had been recognized by the international Montreux Treaty accepted on 20 July 1936 and that the system based on Turkey's upholding this responsibility under the UN control was lacking under today's conditions. The officials stated, "During the 64 years since the acceptance of the Treaty, Turkey has used its rights in the best way possible. The freighters of the time had a capacity of only two tons, but now oil-tankers capable of holding 300 tons are passing hourly through the same Straits today", Anatolia Agency reports.

    [15] DRAFT LAW ON WOMEN'S STATUS APPROVED

    A draft law concerning the organization of and the duties to be carried out by the Directorate General of Women was agreed to by the Turkish Grand National Assembly's (TGNA) Planning and Budgetary Commission. The draft law envisages the protection and improvement of women's rights, the strengthening of women's place in social, economic, cultural and political life, and provides them with the right to make use of opportunities and possibilities equally with men. Turkey has kept the promises that it made under international agreements with draft. /Turkiye/

    [16] COTTARELLI VISITS STATE STATISTICS INSTITUTION

    IMF's Turkey Desk Chief Carlo Cottarelli visited the office of the Chairman of the State Statistics Institution (SSI), Sefik Yildizeli, yesterday. After his visit, while answering journalists' questions, Cottarelli said, "The Inflation Index announced by the SSI reflects the reality of the situation. The people who prepared the Index are real professionals. My meeting with SSI officials was on a technical level. "In answer to another question, Cottarelli stated that, within the scope of their meetings, they were not thinking of visiting Istanbul this time. /Aksam/

    [17] BONUS FOR GOVERNMENT WORKERS

    Minister of Finance Sumer Oral received the IMF's Turkish Desk Chief, Carlo Cottarelli, after which he answered the questions of press members, stating that an initial bonus will be given to government workers before the Feast of Sacrifice in mid-March. He said that the date of the other three bonus payments will be determined by the Council of Ministers. Oral answered another question concerning his meeting with Cottarelli and said, "The IMF is pleased with Turkey's economic performance and they found all indicators at the end of 1999 very positive. The IMF was also happy that tax revenues were higher than expected." /Aksam/

    [18] ANKARA CHAMBER OF TRADE SUPPORTS GOVERNMENT'S NEW ECONOMIC PROGRAMME

    IMF's Turkey Desk Chief Carlo Cottarelli paid a visit to the office of the Chairman of Ankara Chamber of Trade (ATO), Sinan Aygun, who underlined the importance of ATO as the second biggest such organization in Turkey. He further said that the government's economic agenda was the most reasonable of those so far drawn up. Aygun added, "The high inflation rate in January upset some people; however, it did not influence us in a negative way. Our members have promised us that they would not add more than 25% to their retail prices and we are going to announce this to the public during our meeting on Thursday. We also think that privatization has been delayed. There is also the collective bargaining process which concerns 300,000 people. For this reason, retail prices should be frozen and we are waiting for the government to carry this out. ATO believes in this economic programme and we will be follow it to the end." /Turkiye/

    [19] ERCEL: "STRUGGLE TO GO ON FOR TEN YEARS"

    Central Bank Chairman Gazi Ercel supplied information to the women present concerning the government's new economic programme during a meeting arranged by the Association to Support and Educate Female Political Candidates (Ka-Der) yesterday. Ercel said, "The struggle against inflation will go on for another ten years. Inflation is an enemy because it destroys the distribution of wealth, and this is the worst thing that can be done by a State. However, we said that that we would crush the inflation rate to 25% by the end of the year 2000, 12% by the end of 2001 and 7% by the end of 2002. We are determined to implement this plan successfully." Ercel summarized the other highlights of the programme as the structural reforms, inflation targets and a harmonized expenses policy, as well as monetary and foreign exchange rate policies. He also gave some suggestions to the members on how to combat inflation, saying, "You can note down any excessive increase in prices and inform Ka-Der of them." /Turkiye/

    [20] MORTGAGE SYSTEM DISCUSSED

    American investor Victor Politis and the financial editor of "CNN Business News", Myron Kandel, were asked many questions about the mortgage system during the second 'Mortgage Meeting' arranged for yesterday. Kandel explained the contribution of mortgages to the economy at the macro-level. Meanwhile, Politis pointed out that income earned in this way should be used well and that creation of cash will fuel consumption. Politis said, "This system might be a solution for Turkey's inflation worries." One of the world's biggest mortgage companies has requested Politis to prepare a report on the possibilities to be had in the Turkish market. Politis has examined population movements, the demands for housing and current practices and will present his finding to this company at the end of the month. /Sabah/

    [21] HALKBANK TO EXPORT BONDS

    Halkbank will export bonds amounting to 200 million Euros. In a statement from Halkbank, their effort to ensure the medium-and-long-term funding from abroad in order to support investments by the Small-and-Medium-Scale Enterprises (KOBI) and industrialists, presented its results. It was further stated that the demands for bonds amounting to 200 million Euros, which were presented by the world's leading banks, Chase Manhattan and Commerzbank AG, were evaluated and, as a result, a decision was reached to export bonds abroad. /Aksam/

    [22] PTT TO ESTABLISH BANK

    The main status of the Directorate General of Postal Services, which took on the name 'Post and Telegraph Organization' (PTT), has been renewed and its role expanded. According to its new status, the institution's capital funding has been increased from 200 billion TL to 40 trillion TL. Also under its new status, its Economic Affairs Supreme Coordination Council has been removed and, instead, a Supreme Planning Council has been established. Post Offices will now be able to sell foreign currency and trade in shares. /Milliyet/

    [23] BEKO'S NEW PRODUCTS

    BEKO has been busy promoting its new television, DVD player, digital satellite dishes and computers. The General Director of BEKO Electronics, Aydin Cubukcu, said that only in-house technical expertise has been used in the manufacture of the new televisions, and they were designed according to the standards of those countries to which it was envisaged they would be exported. He also pointed out that their target for this year was to export 1,200 million televisions. /Hurriyet/

    [24] GALATA BRIDGE UNDER MAINTENANCE

    Galata Bridge and Ataturk (Unkapani) Bridge will be closed between Feb. 24 and May 31 and March 20 to 22 respectively to undergo maintenance work. Istanbul Security Directorate's Office called on citizens to travel by public transport, including ferries, in order to minimize the possiblity of traffic jams. /Cumhuriyet/

    [25] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...

    [26] WORLD HISTORY AND POLITICS BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Taha Akyol comments on the Bill introduced for the French Senate's consideration concerning the massacre of Armenians. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "The first sign that the Armenian Bill will be rejected by the French Senate has come to President Suleyman Demirel. In a letter he sent to French President Jacques Chirac, President Demirel called on him to exercise his influence. On receiving the letter, President Chirac expressed his views on the subject to the Turkish Ambassador to Paris Sonmez Koksal.

    Ambassador Koksal summarized the opinion of President Chirac thus: "The legislative body does not have the authority to take a decision on this subject as it is against the Constitution. History has to be left to the historians. Such a Bill would only harm international relations in the Caucasus."

    The French Senate's Presidency Council rejected the Armenian Massacre Bill for similar reasons, 14 votes to six. That is to say, if the Armenian lobby had been able to change the mind of five Senators it would have endorsed the view that Armenians were massacred in the past. Parliaments and Governments are political institutions which make decisions according to the balance of power and political obligations. Therefore, their deciding on what constitutes historical truth is against both the Constitutional Law and a rational scientific mentality.

    On ther side of the Atlantic, at a time when the election campaign is at its peak, George W. Bush, who is running for the Republican candidacy in the Presidential race, wrote a letter to the leaders of the Armenian lobby. In this letter he stated that he recognized the "Armenian genocide" and would make it official if he is elected President.

    The Jewish lobby in the US supports Turkey. The Greek lobby is more in favour of Al Gore, a Democrat candidate who played an active role in the improvement of Turco-Greek relations. Only the Armenian lobby has been left to Bush and he sent them a campaign message. This is history in accordance with politics.

    Back in Turkey, when Istanbul was occupied by the Allied Powers in 1918, Ziya Gokalp was tried by the "Nemrut Mustafa War Crimes Tribunal" because he said that no order had been given for a massacre but that murders had been committed by both sides. The Ottoman Government had decided to deport those Armenians who had rebelled and attacked Turkish villages and towns in cooperation with the Russians during the war; during the deportations there had been killings by yboth sides. In fact, in Eastern Anatolia there can be seen mass graves where Turks massacred by Armenians are buried.

    Historians such as Bernard Lewis and Stanford Shaw are of this opinion. Armenians and some other historians defend the opposite view. However, the place to discuss the issue is not in political decision-making organs but academics' studies and archives.

    At present, relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan are improving in the Caucasus. When three countries make peace and come together using economic ties, discussing history reasonably just as "history" will be to the benefit of these countries.

    The intervention of Western lobbies in the question is not only disrespectful to the science of history but it also prevents the establishment of Turco-Armenian friendship and economic partnership in the Caucasus. History should be left to historians."

    [27] RIVAL TO TURKISH STRUCTURE? BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Sami Kohen writes on the impact of the outcome of the Iranian General Election. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "How will the results of the Iranian Election affect relations between Ankara and Tehran? At first sight, the victory of the reformists can be viewed as positive. During the period following the Revolution, the stance of the mullahs in Iran against Turkey had created coldness and a lack of trust. Recently, through the efforts of President Hatemi, relations were slowly beginning to improve.

    At present, the improvement of Turco-Iranian relations depends on the policies Iran will follow both at home and abroad. Will the reformists be able to agree amongst themselves to make radical changes? Will the conservatives, who are in key offices, agree to those? Or will Iran quit its policy of exporting revolution? Will Tehran change its negative opinion of secular Turkey looking towards the West?

    Prime Minister Ecevit's stance on the issue is certain. He is openly in favour of the reformists and has stressed two important points in his statement: the first is that Iran will not export revolution to other countries any more, and the second is that certain circles opposed to secularism in Turkey can no longer view the Iranian revolution as a source of inspiration.

    Certainly, at this stage, this is only a hope. It largely depends on the actions of the conservatives holding key posts in important State organizations. In order to place Turco-Iranian relations on a sound footing Iran's policies have to be more consistent.

    A new era can be begun in Iran where it can create a different structure. In this new period, Iran may get sympathy from and attract the attention of the Islamic and Arab world. People living under totalitarian regimes in Middle Eastern countries may be affected by Iran's transition to a pluralist and, thus, a freer system. Can it be regarded as a rival to the Turkish model?

    The superiority of democratic, secular, reformist Turkey in trying to integrate with the world is certain. The importance of Iran, stemming from its political and economic potential is clear. As long as Iran allows it or, rather, to the degree Iran permits it, the West will try to establish closer relations with the country. However,a shadow will not be cast on relations with its ally, Turkey, which has geo-strategic importance in addition to being a secular and democratic country. However, Iran could become a more active rival in Central Asia and the surrounding region with its new face."


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