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Voice of America, 01-07-28

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>

Dsitrib: no SLUG: 2-278741 Turkey / Economy (L only) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:

CONTENTS

  • [01] TURKEY / ECONOMY (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)
  • [02] MACEDONIA TALKS (L ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)

  • [01] TURKEY / ECONOMY (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=07/28/01
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-278741
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A top official from the International Monetary Fund (I-M-F) has expressed confidence with the implentation of Turkey's economic recovery program. Amberin Zaman in Ankara reports the I-M-F's first deputy managing director said he believes Turkey's three-way coalition is fully behind and full committed to the program.

    TEXT: I-M-F official Stanley Fischer -- speaking to reporters in Istanbul after two days of talks with Turkish political and business leaders -- said the country's economic recovery program is being implemented successfully. Mr. Fischer said positive effects of the program could be felt within a few weeks. But he also said Turkey's inflation rate -- now about 60 percent -- and interest rates are still too high and need to be pulled down quickly. The International Monetary Fund has committed nearly 16-billion dollars in loans to the recovery program which was launched in May to pull Turkey out of its worst-ever economic crisis. The crisis was triggered by a public dispute in February between the country's prime minister, Bulent Ecevit, and President Ahmet Necdet Sezer over the slow pace of the government's anti-corruption drive. The underlying cause of the crisis -- which has seen the Turkish lira lose about one-half its value -- is largely rooted in the weakness of the corruption-saddled banking industry. Reform of the banking sector is among the chief conditions set by the I-M-F for releasing loans for the recovery program. Another condition is the privatization of Turkey's heavily indebted state owned companies, including the landline telecommunications monopoly, Turk Telekom. The I-M-F recently threatened to withhold the second instalment of its loan ackage because of continuing resistance from the nationalist wing of Mr Ecevit's coalition to the privatization of Turk Telekom. The nationalists have since eased their anti-I-M-F statements. And nationalist telecom minister Enis Oksuz stepped down earlier this month, buoying market confidence. The I-M-F is now expected to release the third instalment of the rescue package ahead of schedule. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/JWH SLUG: 2-278740 Macedonia Talks (L only) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:


    [02] MACEDONIA TALKS (L ONLY) BY STEFAN BOS (BUDAPEST)

    DATE=07/28/01
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-278740
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Macedonia's government and political parties representing the country's ethnic Albanian minority have began peace talks, in what is seen as a last effort to avoid all out civil war in the troubled Balkan nation. Stefan Bos reports the negotiators and Western diplomats are meeting in a presidential retreat near Lake Ohrid in southwestern Macedonia.

    TEXT: Political leaders representing Macedonia's ethnic Albanians and the country's Macedonian majority seem to hope that the spectacular surroundings near Lake Ohrid, far away from the violence, is the right peaceful atmosphere to reach a deal to end the fighting. Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski earlier suggested the talks be held in Tetovo because of its significance as the unofficial capital of Macedonia's Albanian minority. That plan was aborted however because of security concerns following days of clashes around the town between Macedonian forces and ethnic Albanian rebels. European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who visited Macedonia Thursday, told reporters earlier that he is hopeful that the recent withdrawal of Albanian gunmen from the region to their previous position will speed a political settlement. But there are stumbling blocks. The U-S envoy and mediator, James Pardew, says one of the issues is the ethnic Albanian demand to make Albanian the second language of Macedonia.

    /// PARDEW ACT ///

    We discussed the language issue with the parties. Now we are going to have a little bit socializing with them and we are going on to Ohrid where the talks will continue.

    /// END ACT ///

    Analysts say the language issue cuts to the heart of the deep cultural differences between the Macedonian majority of Slavic origin and ethnic Albanians, who make up about one-third of the country's population of two-million. Under a proposed compromise, Albanian would become official only in area's where ethnic Albanians account for more than 20 percent of the population. Another sticking point is the Albanian community's wish to have more influence over such matters as education, police, and local government. Several Slav politicians oppose the move, saying that this would lead to the break-up of Macedonia. But Western envoys have made it clear they believe finding a political settlement is the only way to avoid all out civil war. Western diplomats fear that fighting will resume if the talks break down. As a precaution, the United States already ordered non emergency U-S embassy personnel and their dependents to leave Macedonia and has advised other Americans to do the same. The order was issued after an attack by angry Macedonians against the U-S embassy and other diplomatic missions earlier this week in the capital, Skopje. The demonstrators accused Western countries of supporting the Albanian side in the five-month ethnic conflict, a charge strongly denied by NATO and European Union officials. (Signed)
    NEB/SB/JWH
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