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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 00-02-01

Anadolu Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Anadolu Agency Home Page at <http://www.anadoluajansi.gov.tr/>


[01] AA News

01 February 2000 Tuesday

[02] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on February 1, 2000. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their occuracy.

HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

FASTEST OPERATION IN HISTORY OF REPUBLIC
Since Hezbollah leader Huseyin Velioglu was killed on January 17, a total of 938 Hezbollah members were captured in 44 provinces within two weeks. 221 of these have been arrested. Security forces found 49 bodies, including those that were exhumed on Monday. Many ammunition and explosives were seized during the nation wide operations. Prime Ministry Examination Council is examining all the files of civil servants through cooperation with Security General Directorate. They will open a case against those whom they find suspicious. In the meantime, police are looking for three high level terrorists including the son of Velioglu, Zahit Velioglu.

TURKEY'S RECORD GOOD ON IN FIRST MONTH OF STAND-BY
AGREEMENT WITH IMF
Turkey completed the first month of its stand-by agreement with the IMF. By the end of January, Turkey took successful steps in its monetary programme. The most obvious progress in January was the dramatical drop in interest rates. Daily interest rates plummetted from 180 percent to 10 percent. Bond interests which were earlier 70 percent were pulled down to 35 percent. Yearly deposit interests dropped from 80 percent to 30 percent. The interests also dropped in consumer credits. Foreign exchange rate increased by 2.1 percent as foreseen by the Central Bank.

MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

FOUR SIGNATURES FOR DEMIREL
Tansu Ciller, the leader of the True Path Party (DYP), supported the 5+5 formula which will reduce the term in office of the president from seven to five years and ensure the president to be elected for a second term, but with a precondition. Ciller said, ''let's firstly open a vote for the proposal which said that the public should elect the president. If this proposal is not adopted at the parliament, then let's sign the proposal regarding the constitutional change. The Virtue Party (FP) also said that it will support the 5+5 formula. The support of the opposition is necessary to pass the constitutional change which will ensure the election of the president for a second term. 367 votes in favour are necessary to put into force the proposal.

TURKISH VICTORY IN MINUS 60 DEGREE CELCIUS
The Turkish team including, Nasuh Mahruki, Yilmaz Sevgul and Tunc Findik, had a big success in the Demavent Winter Climbing which was held by the Iranian Mountaineering Federation. Nearly 200 mountaineers from six countries participated in this climbing. There was the Turkish team among the ten mountaineers who achieved to reach the summit despite the cold weather which was about minus 60 degrees Celcius and despite the wind which blew with a speed of 90 kilometre per hours. The only foreign team which could reach the summit became Turkey. The other seven persons who could climb the summit were the Iranians. The Iranian Mountaineering Federation granted honorary membership to Mahruki, Sevgul, and Findik.

MIT: ''HEZBOLLAH WAS NOT PROTECTED''
Senkal Atasagun, the Undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), said that the claims saying that the state helped and aided the terrorist Hezbollah organization are all efforts to change the subject to protect the criminals. Atasagun said, ''the terrorist Hezbollah organization accused the persons they killed during the interrogation, as the MIT spy. If the state is protecting this organization, why the terrorist organization interrogate their own members as MIT spies? This conflict puts forward that there is not such relation between the state and the terrorist Hezbollah organization. The state did not protect this organization.''

SABAH (LIBERAL)

NSC: ''HEZBOLLAH TERROR WILL END''
The National Security Council (NSC) convened yesterday. The meeting lasted for six hours and 40 minutes. The NSC decided to continue the operations carried out against the terrorist Hezbollah organization until the terrorism is ended. The NSC statement emphasized that the Hezbollah which is defined as a ''cruel'' organization, is not only a separatist but also a fundamentalist, terrorist organization.

INCREASE IN WPI EXPECTED AS 3.5-4.5 PERCENT
The wholesale prices index (WPI) is expected to increase 3.5 to 4.5 percent while the consumer prices index (CPI) is expected to increase 4 to 4.5 percent in January. Although positive developments are recorded in the markets in January as new currency and monetary policies started to be implemented within the framework of the targets of 2000, it will take some time to decrease the inflation. The analysts said that they should wait for March to see the decrease trend of the inflation which sets up the core of the program.

CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

TRNC PRESIDENT DENKTAS TAKES STEPS FOR PROPOSAL
Rauf Denktas, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), said that if the Greek Cypriot side and the United Nations (U.N.) think that there can be a solution on the island under the ruling of the Greek Cypriots, the Greek Cypriot side and the U.N. are dreaming. The second round Cyprus proximity talks started in Geneva city of Switzerland yesterday. The proximity talks are expected to last for ten days. The first- day talks started with tension when Denktas did not go to the Intercontinental Hotel in order not to meet with Glafcos Clerides, the leader of the Greek Cypriot side. Clerides; who was the first person that Kofi Annan, the U.N. Secretary General, met; said that there are four items to be discussed in the talks while Denktas said there are more than seven issues that should be taken up.

FM CEM'S VISIT TO BRUSSELS
Foreign Minister Ismail Cem went to Brussels yesterday following the Davos meetings. Within the framework of his contacts in Brussels, Cem will meet with European Union (EU) Commissioner for enlargement Guenter Verheugen, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Pascal Lamy, the EU Trade Commissioner.

RADIKAL (LEFT)

REPROACH FROM MILITARY
The commanders, during Monday's National Security Council's (MGK) meeting, reproached Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit for including Fethullah Guven's schools in the brochures that were distributed at Davos summit. They asked Ecevit not to ''officialize'' those schools. In a declaration released after the meeting, all institutions which abuse religion for religious purposes were warned.

SOLUTION EXPECTED WITHIN THIS YEAR
While the second round of proximity talks started in Geneva, UN Secretary General Annan said he hoped a solution would be found before the end of this year. Annan asked both the Greek Cypriot leader Glafkos Clerides and President of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Rauf Denktas not to speak to the press for the confidentiality of the talks. Diplomatic sources said Clerides prefers to focus on security, authority distribution, properties, lands, and immigrants issues while Denktas brings up sovereignty, recognition of TRNC, and equality issues during the proximity talks.

TURKIYE (RIGHT)

DEMIREL RESPONDS HARSHLY TO THOSE WHO BLAME STATE FOR
SUPPORTING HEZBOLLAH
''Give me an evidence,'' Demirel said to those who claimed that the terrorist organization was supported by the state. Many politicians alongwith Demirel also reacted to such rumours which was also voiced by the Virtue Party (FP) leader Recai Kutan. ''The military never sheltered any institution which commits murders. If there is anyone who can disprove me, he can go and discuss the issue at the Parliament. But they should do it openly, not by just implying it,'' Demirel said.

NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WARNS
National Security Council said ''efforts to form a link between the state and the terrorist Hezbollah organization were an attempt to protect and hide the real criminals'' and stressed that the operations would continue till the very end.

ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

THIS IS TRAFFIC TERROR!
The terrorist organization PKK, the mafia, the Hezbollah terror, rabies and traffic. These are all the fatal dangers in this country. It was traffic terror's turn yesterday. The first traffic accident happened in southern Antalya province. A passenger bus travelling from southeastern Gaziantep province to Antalya, collided with two minibuses which were travelling on the other side of the highway. 19 people died and 38 people injured in this accident. Then, another traffic accident happened in central Konya province. A passenger bus was carrying the soldiers who completed their military service and was returning home. This bus collided with a lorry which was travelling on the opposite side. Seven soldiers died while 26 people injured in this accident.

DYP PLEASED ABOUT 5+5 FORMULA
Salim Ensarioglu, the deputy leader of the True Path Party (DYP), said that it was very pleasing that the leaders of the coalition parties supported the 5+5 formula which will reduce the term in office of the president from seven to five years and ensure the president to be elected for a second term. The DYP welcomed that the coalition parties supported the 5+5 formula which was proposed by the party, Ensarioglu added.

-<B>PRESIDENT DEMIREL: ''DOUBTS ABOUT GOVERNMENT'S PROVIDING</B> ASSISTANCE TO HEZBOLLAH TO FIGHT AGAINST PKK ARE DESTRUCTIVE''
ANKARA - Commenting on the operations carried out against the terrorist organization Hezbollah, President Suleyman Demirel said the operations first started in 1991.

''Doubts and claims that government provided assistance to Hezbollah to fight against PKK, are destructive. Such doubts hurt the concept of state. The state has nothing to do with illegal organizations. If state provides shelter to illegality, it collapses. This is a big betrayal. There could be individuals who were involved, but the state was not. Terrorism is a trouble for all the world today. Whoever violates the law, they will not get away with it. People's faith in the state is very important. That shouldn't be shaken,'' Demirel said.

Responding to another question, Demirel said Turkey progressed from being a ''sick man'' to ''EU membership''. Still, Turkey needs reforms in all fields, he stressed.

Speaking about secularism, Demirel said ''there are people who attempt to abuse religion. Hezbollah is one of them.''

About presidential elections, Demirel said his term in office would end on May 16 after serving for 6 years and 8 months. Demirel said he did not ask to be reelected. ''However, if they ask me to continue my post, I wouldn't reject. If I am needed, I wouldn't reject their proposal,'' he said.

''During yesterday's meeting, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli and Motherland Party (ANAP) leader Mesut Yilmaz reached an agreement. They are asking me to continue to serve. The road for elections should open to me so that I can serve,'' Demirel said.

He also noted that the person who would become the president should not be criticized in order to work efficiently. He also said the president's term in office which is currently 7 years should be reduced.

[04] A TOTAL OF 7.4 MILLION TOURISTS VISITED TURKEY LAST YEAR

ANKARA - A total of 7.4 million tourists visited Turkey in 1999.

Officials of the State Security Institute (DIE) said on Tuesday that 318, 751 tourists visited Turkey in December 1999.

62.2 percent of the tourist arrived in Turkey by planes, 25.6 percent arrived by highway, 11.2 percent arrived by sea and 0.6 percent preferred railway, the officials noted.

The officials stated that 9.4 million tourists had visited Turkey in 1998.

20.6 percent decrease is recorded in the number of tourists visiting Turkey in 1996 when compared with the figures of 1998, the officials stressed.

The officials added that despite the decrease in the number of tourists visiting Turkey in 1999, the number of tourists visiting Turkey increased 4.2 percent in December 1999 when compared with that of 1998.

-<B>CYPRUS PROXIMITY TALKS</B> - TRNC PRESIDENT DENKTAS: ''I BELIEVE WE CAN SOLVE THE PROBLEM IN ACCORDANCE WITH EQUALITY AND SOVEREIGNTY PRINCIPLE''
GENEVA - Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas said on Tuesday that he believe they can resolve the problem with the ''equality and sovereignty'' principle.

Speaking to reporters before his meeting with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's Special Representative to Cyprus Alvero De Soto, Denktas said there were more than four topics in the talks, stressing that they won't discuss the territory and map issue without recognition of the TRNC's sovereignty.

Denktas said Greek-Cypriot administration leader Glafcos Clerides's bringing issues of return of refugees and property exchange was not a good- will attempt.

''Despite these, I believe we can solve the problem with the equality and sovereignty principle,'' he emphasized.

Following the meeting, Clerides said they discussed the details of four topics.

In the proximity talks, the Greek-Cypriot side prefers to take up the security, authority distribution, refugees, property, territory and refugee issues while the TRNC side brings onto the agenda confederation, sovereignty, equality, embargo issues and developments about the European Union (EU) process.

Meanwhile, Denktas's Advisor Prof. Dr. Mumtaz Soysal said U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, in his statement on Monday, clearly mentioned that Denktas's confederation proposal was not refused.

When asked whether the Turkish side had a chance to be recognized as a state within the framework of the U.N. Security Council decisions, Kofi Annan said they were in the beginning of the talks so they couldn't predict about the results of the talks.

The second round proximity talks will end on February 10.

[06] TERRORISTS OF HEZBOLLAH ORGANIZATION ARE REPORTED TO BE IN PREPARATION OF KILLING MANY PEOPLE

BURSA - Terrorists of illegal Hezbollah organization, who were arrested and sent to prison in western Bursa province, were reported to be in preparation of murdering 12 people.

Aydin Genc, Director of Bursa security department, staged a news conference to evaluate the incidents which occurred in 1999, and briefed about the operations launched against terrorist Hezbollah organization.

Genc said 21 people were taken into custody in operations carried out through the city, and noted that 12 of them were detained.

''We have launched a wide scale investigation. We have revealed the structure of the organization. If we had not launched this operation, at least 12 people could have been kidnapped or murdered according to the decisions of the so-called council of the terrorist organization. Lives of 12 people were saved as we have caught the organization in preparation stage.''

Genc said the 12 people, who were planned to be murdered, were composed of those who ''betrayed the organization, or the ones who did not extend economic contribution to the organization.''

[07] PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT: ''WE HAVE REACHED A CONSENSUS TO PROVIDE A PRESIDENT TO BE ELECTED TWO TIMES WITH 5+5 FORMULA''

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who also acts as the leader of Democratic Left Party (DSP), said on Tuesday that five political parties represented in the Parliament reached a consensus on presidential elections.

Ecevit, who spoke after meeting with Tansu Ciller, leader of True Path Party (DYP), and Recai Kutan, leader of Virtue Party (FP), said a consensus was reached to provide a president to be elected for two times with the 5+5 formula.

[08] PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT: ''PROPOSAL REGARDING ELECTION OF PRESIDENT DIRECTLY BY PEOPLE WILL BE SUBMITTED TO PARLIAMENT''

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Tuesday that leaders of five political parties, which are represented in the Parliament, reached a consensus on presidential elections.

Premier Ecevit staged a news conference in the parliament following his meeting with Recai Kutan, leader of Virtue Party (FP), and Tansu Ciller, leader of True Path Party (DYP).

Addressing the news conference Ecevit pointed out that the consensus of opinion that was reached concerning presidential elections was an important stage due to the compromise tradition that had developed recently.

Recalling that leaders of the parties, which are coalition partners, reached a full consensus on the ''election of president for two times and two times for 5-year period'', Ecevit said DYP did not oppose to this consensus and that FP found election for two times as appropriate in principle.

Ecevit pointed out that thus it was clarified that the parties, represented in the Parliament, reached a consensus on presidential elections.

Prime Minister said DYP submitted a Constitutional amendment proposal to the Parliament regarding election of president directly by people, adding that FP's actual preference was to this end.

''Yet, it is not clear that these two parties will provide adequate number of votes. It is a very weak possibility. However, the two parties want their views submitted to the parliament. We show respect to their views. If the Parliament does not want election of the President directly by people, then a voting will take place for election of the president directly by the Parliament. Thus, everything will be clarified.''

Responding to the questions of reporters, Ecevit said they did not discuss an agenda for the constitutional change, yet noted that these changes may take place in a short period.

Ecevit said five political parties represented in the Parliament reached a consensus on presidential elections. He said a consensus was reached to enable the President to be elected for two times with the 5+5 formula.

When asked if Suleyman Demirel would be the candidate of DSP in case a constitutional change took place, Ecevit said nobody can utter a word at the moment binding his own party.

''I clearly pointed out in my parliamentary group meeting that it will be beneficial for the country if Demirel's presidency continues for some more time. I hope our group members will take this into consideration while making their personal evaluations. Thus I don't think there will be a problem,'' he added.

[09] FOREIGN MINISTER CEM STAGES A PRESS CONFERENCE

BRUSSELS - Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister who is paying an official visit to Brussels, said that Turkey would make quick progress towards European Union (EU) membership.

Cem staged a press conference, and evaluated the first steps taken for the EU membership after the Helsinki Summit in December, 1999.

''The EU has started a process for Turkey's full membership, and it stated that it would help Turkey to make necessary political and institutional reforms,'' Cem said.

He noted that he was briefed on Participation Partnership Strategy Document which will be stated by the EU Comission in fall.

Cem told reporters, ''we have been carrying out a quick improvement program. Turkey expects the EU to fulfil its commitments and to assist Turkey. The EU is likely to give Turkey a financial package of 177 million Euros in aid. Agreement regarding quake aid worth of 600 million Euros, will be signed on February 8.''

He stressed, ''the EU has a serious and positive attitude towards Turkey. Turkey has already started to feel contribution of relations with the EU in political and strategical fields.''

Describing the issue of visa applied to Turkish citizens, as a 'sensitive' issue, Cem noted, ''we submitted a document regarding our opinions about the issue, to Gunter Verheugen, the member of the European Union (EU) Commission responsible for the enlargement.''

He added, ''Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has given instructions to finalize the EU full membership process as soon as possible with a realistic and reasonable approach. The date of the beginning of full membership negotiations has not been set yet.''

-<B>PRIME MINISTRY CRISIS MANAGEMENT CENTER</B> ANNOUNCES DEATH TOLL AS 845

ANKARA - The Prime Ministry Crisis Management Center stated as of 18:00 local time on Tuesday that 845 people were killed while 4,948 others were injured in the wake of the 7.2-magnitude quake which devastated Duzce province on November 12.

A total of 12,939 dwellings and 2,450 business places collapsed or suffered heavy damage in the quake.

A total of 51,694 tents have been distributed to quake survivors while erection of 1,779 prefabricated huts has been finalized. In Duzce province, 3,157 prefabricated huts have been handed over to the quake survivors.

The Red Crescent and the Turkish Armed Forces have dispatched 198 mobile kitchens, 173 mobile baths, 2 mobile bakeries, a number of beds, sleeping bags, blankets, duvets, stoves, and foodstuff to the quake-stricken area.

In the disaster area, 273 doctors, 194 nurses, and 918 health staff are working.

[11] FOREIGN MINISTER CEM DUE TO ATHENS

ANKARA - Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister, will pay an official visit to Greece between February 4-6.

Diplomatic sources told the A.A correspondent on Tuesday that contacts of Cem in Athens were expected to focus on issues such as the European Union (EU) working group, joint military committee, and confidence-building measures in the Aegean.

They added that they did not expect Greece's demands regarding opening a Greek Consolate in Trabzon province in Black Sea Region, and the Clergy School on Heybeliada to be brought to a conclusion during Cem's visit to Athens.

The same sources said, ''the issue of opening a Greek Consulate in Trabzon does not concern only the Foreign Ministry, but it also concern several other relevant ministries. Therefore, consultations should be held among these units.''

Meanwhile, Greece's efforts to bring the agreement signed between Mesut Yilmaz and Carolos Papulyos, former foreign ministers of Turkey and Greece, in 1988, onto agenda were not welcomed by Ankara.

Diplomatic sources said, ''Turkey submitted a nine-article package of confidence-building measures in the Aegean. It is not appropriate to discuss old agreements instead of new proposals.''

The nine-article package of confidence-building measures include proposals such as port visits, flight without arms, joint military maneouvres, and communication among Turkish and Greek war planes.

Meanwhile, Athens is expected to ask Turkey to allow construction of a new embassy building in Ankara.

[12] BARIS MANCO COMMEMORATED BY TURKISH-JAPANESE CULTURE CENTER

ANKARA - A commemoration night was organized on Tuesday by the Turkish- Japanese Culture Center to mark the first anniversary of demise of Baris Manco, a leading pop singer who passed away from heart attack on February 1, 1999.

Baris Manco's wife Lale Manco, his sons Dogukan and Batikan, Istemihan Talay, the Culture Minister, Shigeo Takenaka, the Japanese Ambassador to Turkey, and a number of guests were in attendance at the commemoration night.

Addressing the commemoration, Talay said that Baris Manco had made a considerable contribution to relations between Turkey and Japan.

A.A


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