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

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

02 February 2000 Wednesday

[02] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on February 2, 2000. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their occuracy.

HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

THEY DON'T EVEN WANT TO LOOK
Even the officers who have been struggling against terrorism for long years, didn't want to watch the video tapes which showed the violence of the fundamentalist terrorist organization Hezbollah. Saadettin Tantan, the Minister of Interior asked the members of the National Security Council (MGK) meeting on Monday whether they wanted to watch the tapes. But nobody wanted to do that. The report submitted to MGK says that 150 members of the Hezbollah terrorist organization had infiltrated into the public institutions particularly in Southeastern Turkey.

JAPAN INCREASES OUR CREDIT MARK
Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR), one of Japan's leading rating institutions, increased credit mark of Turkey from BB to BB+. JCR has been the first foreign rating institution which took into consideration the improvement in the economic indicators of Turkey. Turkey is expected to borrow 1 billion dollars from Japan debenture bond market.

MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

NO TURN BACK FROM 25 PERCENT LIMIT
The draft law which limits the increases in the rents at 25 percent, was adopted by the Parliamentary Justice Commission yesterday. If the parliament passes the draft law as it is, the increase in the rents will be 25 percent at maximum. This number will decrease to 10 percent in 2001.

IPEKCI COMMEMORATED
Abdi Ipekci, the former director and chief editor of Milliyet newspaper, who was killed 21 years ago, was commemorated yesterday. Meanwhile International Press Institute (IPI) showed Ipekci among the press heros of the last 50 years. IPI carried out a survey in more than 100 countries and elected only Ipekcı from Turkey.

SABAH (LIBERAL)

AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT ALIYEV SOLVES PRESIDENTIAL CRISIS
Haydar Aliyev, the Azerbaijani President, had a tete-a-tete meeting with Devlet Bahceli, the Deputy Prime Minister and the State Minister. Aliyev told Bahceli that the Turkish world is very pleased with President Suleyman Demirel and that they want Demirel to be in office for an additional term. Aliyev emphasized that he talked not only on behalf of Azerbaijan but also on behalf of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzistan. Following this meeting, Bahceli accepted the 5+5 formula which will reduce the term in office of the president from seven to five years and and ensure the president to be elected for a second term.

TURKEY'S RATING INCREASES
Japan increased the rating of Turkey. The Japanese rating organization JCR increased Turkey's rating from BB to BB+. Thus, Turkey is no more included in the list of risky countries but is included among the countries where the foreign investments can be made.

ONE-MONTH DELAY TO NUCLEAR ENERGY
Officials of Turkish Electricity Incorp. (TEAS) asked the three consortiums which submitted bids for the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant Project, to extend the validity of their bids until March 1, 2000. Three consortiums will decide whether or not they will accept the proposal of TEAS until February 10, 2000 and will inform TEAS. This is the fifth extension in the tender which was announced in 1997.

CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

BANKS TO BE SOLD CHEAP
The government will pay the debts of the banks which went bankrupt by the one billion dollars the World Bank will give to Turkey. Later these banks will be sold to foreigners. Yasarbank will be given back to Selcuk Yasar. Banks will either get united or be taken over. The public banks will be privatized.

FM CEM:''TURKEY CATCHES UP''
Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, who is currently in Brussels to hold high ranking contacts within the structure of the European Union (EU), met with Gunther Verheugen, the EU Commissioner responsible for enlargement. Later the two held a joint press briefing and said that they look at the future with confidence. Cem stressed that Turkey catches up with other EU countries.

RADIKAL (LEFT)

PARTIES AGREE UPON 5+5 FORMULA
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit visited the leaders of the political parties yesterday to get their support for the formula of 5+5. This formula foresees election of the President for a term of five years twice. Ecevit said after his leaders tour that ''the five political parties agreed upon the formula.'' Ecevit said that ''firstly the proposal of the True Path Party (DYP) will be voted in the parliament. But it seems that this proposal won't get sufficient vote.''

SAY CONQUERS FRANCE
World-famous pianist Fazıl Say was awarded by R10, which means full mark from ''Repertoire'' the most prestigious music magazine of France by his ''Gershwin'' album. Say also won the rewards of ''Le Monde de la Musique'' and French RTL television channel last month.

TURKIYE (RIGHT)

FOUR MORE DEAD BODIES
Three dead bodies were unearthed in southeastern Diyarbakir province while the skeleton of a male was found in southeastern Batman province during the operations carried out against the terrorist Hezbollah organization. The three bodies were tied in a method called 'garrote', killed and buried. Thus, the number of the dead bodies uncovered in Turkey reached 54.

7.4 MILLION TOURISTS IN TURKEY
A total of 7.4 million tourists visited Turkey in 1999. Officials of the State Security Institute (DIE) said 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. 20.6 percent decrease is recorded in the number of tourists visiting Turkey in 1999 when compared with the figures of 1998, the officials stressed.

TOO MUCH MONEY FOR MOBILE PHONES
The monthly money given for mobile phones which started to increase due to the fixed prices, is increasing day by day due to the educational contribution tax and the private communication tax. The citizens started to protest these invoices. Some citizens closed their mobile phones for two days to protest the unjust increase in the invoices.

ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

SCHOOL BOOKS TO BE REVISED
The school books will be revised and renewed within the framework of the human rights initiatives which have been launched in the European Union (EU) membership process. The Human Rights Education 10th Year National Committee which is connected to the Human Rights Coordinator Supreme Board, will examine the school books and eliminate the statements which contradict with human rights and which lead to discrimination.

NATURAL GAS TO COME TO TURKEY FROM EGYPT
Sameh Fahmy, the Egyption Oil Minister, came to Turkey yesterday as the official guest of Energy and Natural Resources Minister Cumhur Ersumer. Fahmy said that a protocol on natural gas will be signed. Fahmy noted that Egypt was rich of natural gas resources, adding that they were ready to cooperate with Turkey.

TURKEY TRYING TO CLOSE YEARS THAT ELAPSED
Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister who is paying an official visit to Brussels, had a meeting with Guenter Verheugen, the European Union (EU) Commissioner for Enlargement. Following the meeting, Cem said that his contacts in Brussels were a very good beginning. Recalling Turkey's self- sacrifice for the European security and her struggle against the terrorism, Cem noted that Turkey is trying to close the years that elapsed.

[03] JAPANESE RATING ORGANIZATION JCR: ''TURKEY'S ECONOMY WILL GROW 5.5 PERCENT IN 2000''

TOKYO/ANKARA - The Japanese rating organization JCR predicted on Wednesday that Turkey's economy would grow 5.5 percent in 2000.

The JCR increased the rating mark of Turkey from BB to BB+.

A JCR statement said that the present government which has 64 percent majority in the parliament, put into force significant draft laws regarding structural reforms.

The government passed a new banking law which improves the present banking system in Turkey, changed the consitution to facilitate the privatization and the foreign investments, and implemented the social security reform to close the budget deficit; the JCR noted.

The JCR stated that the initiatives of the government including the suspension of the execution of the capital punishment upheld for Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the terrorist organization, and the efforts exerted to change the Constitution to elect a president for two terms, indicated that the government will give priority to the political stability and continue the structural reforms.

The increase of the taxes to reconstruct the quake zones can decrease the effect of the economic programme and cause inflation pressure, the JCR stressed.

The JCR emphasized that the high inflation which is the most important economic problem of Turkey, decelerated due to the slow down in the economic activity and the effect of the Staff Monitoring Agreement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the first half of 1999.

The inflation increased again in the second half of 1999 due to the increase in the prices of the international goods, especially due to the increase in the oil prices; the JCR pointed out.

The JCR said that the 20 percent target in the whole sale prices index (WPI) and the consumer prices index (CPI) is bound to the confidence of the people in the government. The people should believe that the government is implementing the structural reforms with determination to reach this target, the JCR added.

The JCR noted that the currency policies which the Central Bank started to implement as of January 1, 2000, are important initiatives to decrease the inflation.

The government can fulfil the targets which are foreseen in the budget of 2000, the JCR stated.

The JCR stressed that Turkey's foreign trade deficit is expected to decrease from 19.7 billion U.S. dollars to 11.5 billion U.S. dollars.

[04] PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT: - ''ILLEGAL TERRORIST HEZBOLLAH ORGANIZATION IS CAPTURED IN THE ACT. OPERATIONS WILL CONTINUE TILL HEZBOLLAH IS ERADICATED''

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, the leader of the Democratic Left Party (DSP), said on Wednesday, ''the illegal terrorist Hezbollah organization was captured in the act. Operations will continue till the Hezbollah organization is eradicated.''

Addressing the group meeting of the DSP, Ecevit stressed that the gruesome evidences of crimes against humanity committed by the illegal organization, came out one after the other during the operations.

Ecevit also emphasized, ''bitter results of using religion as a political element was seen once again. We have started to appraise the true significance of secularism. Separating religion and politics from each other, is the guarantee of democracy, religion, and social peace.''

He added, ''the organization calling itself as the 'Party of God', has overshadowed the holy name of the God. It targets destroying secular and democratic Republic of Turkey. It also aims at separating our country and people. The illegal terrorist Hezbollah organization was captured in the act. Operations will continue till the Hezbollah organization is eradicated.''

Recalling that all political parties at the parliament have reached a consensus of opinion on the issue of constitutional amendment regarding the presidential elections, Ecevit wished this consensus of opinion to be reached at the Parliamentary General Assembly.

[05] TURKEY-GREECE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY FRIENDSHIP GROUP SET UP

ANKARA - Turkey-Greece Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group was set up on Wednesday.

Turhan Tayan, the Bursa Deputy of the Motherland Party (ANAP), was elected as the chairman of the group.

Ali Ahmet Erturk, the Edirne Deputy of the Democratic Left Party (DSP), was elected as the acting chairman; Hakan Tartan, the Izmir Deputy of the DSP, as secretary general; and Murat Akin, the Aksaray Deputy of the True Path Party (DYP) as accountant while Sadan Simsek, the Edirne Deputy of the DSP, Nevzat Yalcintas, the Istanbul Deputy of the Virtue Party (FP), Mehmet Ay, the Gaziantep Deputy of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Yilmaz Karakoyunlu, the Istanbul Deputy of the ANAP, and Hasan Fehmi Konyali, the Ordu Deputy of the DSP, were elected as members of the group.

[06] PRESIDENT DENKTAS OF THE TRNC: - ''CLERIDES' ATTITUDE IS NOTHING BUT DEFEATISM''

LEFKOSA - President Rauf Denktas of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Wednesday that attitude of Glafcos Clerides, the leader of the Greek Cypriot administration, during the second round of proximity talks was nothing but defeatism.

Making a statement to the state-run Bayrak Television (BRT) on phone, Denktas stressed, ''despite everything, we are maintaining our initiatives to unite Cyprus which was divided due to Greek Cypriots' offensive policy, under a confederate roof and on the basis of two states.''

Denktas called on Greece, the U.S. and Britain to tell Clerides that the Turkish Cypriots would never accept the Greek Cypriots as the legal government of Cyprus.

Denktas noted that the proximity talks which started in New York, the U.S., last year, were continuing in Geneva, Switzerland.

He stressed, ''Clerides has begun to deny exchange of population and properties which form the ground for agreement, by claiming that Turkey prevented 180 thousand Greek Cypriot immigrants from returning to their homes. Clerides' attitude in Geneva is nothing but defeatism.''

Noting that the issue of European Union (EU) membership was also brought onto agenda of the proximity talks, Denktas said that path leading to the EU membership would be opened after confederation.

Denktas called on the Greek Cypriot side to give up its actions to rule whole island under the false title of 'legal Cypriot government', and to be more moderate and realistic if it wants a reconciliation on the island.

He also described news reports claiming that a proposal including a Belgian model was brought onto agenda, as speculations.

Denktas said that the Cyprus question was a specific question.

Denktas wanted Clerides assume a more realistic attitude.

-<B>TOURIMS MINISTER MUMCU:</B> - ''TOURISM IS IN RIGHT TRACK''

HANNOVER - Tourism Minister Erkan Mumcu met with Gunter Ihlan, Helmut Heim and Rolf Corsten from Germany's biggest tourims firm TUI in Hannover on Wednesday.

Following the meeting, Mumcu told A.A that all contacts he had with tour operators in Europe were very positive.

''TUI which organizes tours to different countries is very important to us. It is a firm which markets high quality and expensive producst. We discusssed our plans for this summer and joint promotion campaigns. They have a very positive approach towards our plans,'' Mumcu said.

Last year was not as bad as it was believed to be in tourism, and the tourism sector suffered only 23 percent loss despite everything, Mumcu noted. ''Let's forget about the past. Next tourism season will be a very good year for Turkey. Nobody should doubt that. The developments especially in Germany and Austria are very positive. There is a shrinkage in British market but we are expecting a growth in that country also,'' Mumcu noted.

Responding to a question regarding EXPO 2000 World Fair in Hannover, Mumcu said they would soon start the construction of the Turkish pavilion in a field set aside for Turkey.

''Under the sponsorship of Turkiye Is Bank, Hallische Mittelsatnd owned by TEK-FEN group in Germany will build the pavilion. I had a meeting with EXPO 2000 executives the night before. The construction will start and be completed in a short time,'' Mumcu told A.A.

[08] ORAL, MINISTER OF FINANCE: ''ECONOMIC PROGRAM TO BE CARRIED OUT WITH POLITICAL DETERMINATION''

BURSA - Sumer Oral, Minister of Finance, said on Wednesday that the economic program of the government will be carried out meticulously and with political determination.

Addressing a ceremony staged by Bursa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Oral said tax and exportation are the two important elements of economy.

Stressing that a country should make production for exportation, Oral said leaving uncertainity atmosphere aside will play an important role in accelaration of production and investment. Oral pointed out that countries which did not have healty financial balances could not be strengthened, adding the target of the program which they began to implement as of January 1, aimed at making Turkey have a strong structure.

Pointing out that Turkey was the 16th biggest country of the world with its 400 billion U.S. dollars Gross National Product (GNP), Oral said they targetted Turkey to enter among the first ten countries.

Oral said, ''the government prepared an economic program that will last for 36 months. This program will be implemented meticulously and with political determination.''

Stressing that 80 percent of the budget was spent for interest payments, Oral said everything will be better if this can be overcome. He said, ''we will spent budget sources for the future of the country instead of interests.''

Oral pointed out that economic program was an element of confidence within and outside the country, adding that they did not have difficulty in finding financial sources anymore and noted that international rating organizations upgrated credit note of Turkey.

Minister of Finance also stressed that the bottleneck in economy created inflation, pointing out that, ''we will see that inflation will reduce gradually. This inflation is because of the bottleneck in economy. When we began to decrease budget deficits, we will see that inflation decreases gradually.''

[09] COOPERATION BETWEEN TURKEY AND EGYPT IN THE FIELD OF ENERGY

ANKARA - A protocol, foreseeing cooperation between Turkey and Egypt in the field of natural gas and oil, was signed in Ankara on Wednesday.

The signatories of the agreement were Cumhur Ersumer, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, and Sameh Fahmi, Egypt's Oil Minister.

Under the protocol, the two countries accepted to form separate working groups to hold feasibility studies on purchase of four billion cubic meters natural gas from Egypt per year, and working groups regarding natural gas and oil.

The protocol also foresees participation of Turkish companies to works in natural gas and oil fields in Egypt, and launching joint investments on the issues of natural gas and oil.

A.A


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