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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 00-02-03

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

03 February 2000 Thursday

[02] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on February 3, 2000. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their occuracy.

HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

EU TO OPEN THE TAP OF MONEY FOR TURKEY
Foreign Minister Ismail Cem who met with foreign ministers of European Union (EU) countries in Brussels and Luxembourg for the first time after the Helsinki summit, said, ''EU candidacy will bring great contributions to Turkey's economy.'' EU will contribute to Blacksea Highway project, tunnel project in Istanbul Strait, Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline and Turkmen natural gas projects. Other aids that will be provided for Turkey are as follows:

-European Investment Bank will give Turkey 750 million Euros which was earlier mentioned.

-Turkey will get the biggest share from European Investment Bank's financil aid of 8.5 billion Euros given to EU candidate countries.

-Private sector will also benefit from these aids which the Bank is planning to run for 3.5 years.

ECEVIT: ''THE WHOLE WORLD ADMIRES US''
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, during a speech he made at Democratic Left Party's (DSP) group meeting, said ''the whole world is watching Turkey with admiration.'' ''There is a growing interest for Turkey. They are now consulting us about the developments and possibilities in our region,'' he said. Turkey could become one of the leading countries of the 21st century and some countries make their calculations on this possibility, he noted.

MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

ANKARA DGM INVESTIGATES POSSIBLE LINKS BETWEEN HEZBOLLAH AND FP
The Chief Prosecutor's Office of Ankara State Security Court (DGM) has begun to investigate possible links between businessmen supporting the illegal terrorist Hezbollah organization financially, and the Virtue Party (FP).

JCR INCREASES TURKEY'S RATING
The Japanese rating organization JCR increased Turkey's rating mark from ''BB'' to ''BB+''. Officials of the JCR said that Turkey was taken out from the ''rating monitoring'' position. Turkey's rating mark was increased because the confidence in Turkey improved at the international level as the coalition government accepted that the structural reforms were necessary, as the Stand-By agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was signed, and as Turkey was announced as a candidate member to the European Union (EU); the officials added.

YILMAZ: ''JOURNALISTS WILL BE SHOWN VIDEO TAPES OF HEZBOLLAH''
Mesut Yilmaz, the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP) said on Wednesday that such gruesome murders of the illegal terrorist Hezbollah organization had astonished the State. He stressed, ''as you know, Hezbollah filmed their victims as they interrogated and tortured them to death. We watched these video tapes. We agreed in principle that it would be not correct the broadcast these tapes. The Interior Ministry is working on the tapes. Some convenient parts of the video tapes can be broadcasted to brief the public opinion on the Hezbollah organization. These people can be neither Moslem nor human being. Actually, Hezbollah means 'Party of God' in Arabic. But people committing such massacre homicides, cannot be connected with the God. These homicides can only be committed by inhuman beings. These video tapes will be shown to journalist during tomorrow's briefing. But we will ask them not to write about the video tapes.''

SABAH (LIBERAL)

EXPORTS INCREASE 8.37 PERCENT IN JANUARY
The total exports in January 2000 increased 8.37 percent over to 1.9 billion U.S. dollars compared with January 1999. According to the Exporters' Unions data, the total exports, which was 1 billion 759 million 191 thousand U.S. dollars in January 1999, reached 1 billion 906 million 587 thousand U.S. dollars last month.

NUMBER OF BODIES EXHUMED IN DIYARBAKIR, INCREASES TO 12
Security forces exhumed three more bodies in basement of a house belonged to the illegal terrorist Hezbollah organization in southeastern Diyarbakir province. Number of bodies exhumed in the same house, increased to 12. Victims had their hands and feet bound. It was also determined that the victims were strangled. Only two of the bodies were identified so far.

CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

ANKARA SECURITY WARNS AGAINST POSSIBLE HEZBOLLAH ATTACKS
The Ankara Security Department warned that the illegal terrorist Hezbollah organization could stage revenge attacks. Releasing a written statement, Kemal Iskender, the Director of Ankara Security Department, said that the Hezbollah organization came to the point of collapse as a result of operations throughout Turkey. Iskender stressed that all necessary security measures should be taken especially in official institutions.

10,000 CAPTAGON PILLS SEIZED IN ISTANBUL
Narcotics officials confiscated 10 thousand Captagon pills having a market value of nearly 30 billion Turkish liras in an operation launched in Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul. A total of 11 people taken into custody in the operation.

SIMITIS TO RECEIVE TURKISH JOURNALISTS
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis will receive Turkish journalists on Friday who will attend the Turkish-Greek Journalists Conference in Athens. Over 50 Turkish journalists will be received by Simitis at the Greek Prime Ministry prior to the conference which will start on Saturday and last for 2 days. Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou will both speak at the opening of the conference.

RADIKAL (LEFT)

FINAL DOCUMENT ON ENVIRONMENT RIGHT AND STRAITS PROBLEM
The final document of the ''Environment Right and Straits Problem Under Light of International Treaties'' meeting which was organized by the Istanbul Bar Human Rights Center, was issued. The final document said, ''the Straits are under the continuous threat of environmental pollution and environmental disaster due to intense sea traffic and accidents. The Montreux Concention is not an obstacle preventing Turkey from using its authority to take measure to control the passings from the Straits. Against the developments in the Marine laws, the 'safe passing regime' can be implemented through interpretation. To this end, Turkey can use its administrative and judicial authority.''

FOREIGN MINISTER CEM DUE TO ATHENS
Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister, will pay an official visit to Greece between February 4-6. A Turkish Foreign Minister will visit Greece for the first time in 40 years. Selim Sarper was the last Turkish foreign minister visiting Greece in 1960. Contacts of Cem in Athens are expected to focus on issues such as the European Union (EU) working group, joint military committee, and confidence-building measures in the Aegean. The issue of nine-article package of confidence-building measures is expected to be discussed during Cem's contacts in Athens. The package includes proposals such as port visits, flight without arms, joint military maneouvres, and communication among Turkish and Greek war planes.

TURKIYE (RIGHT)

''CYRPRUS REALITY ADMITTED BY THE WHOLE WORLD''
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said the whole world admitted that the Turkish Cypriots have their own independent state although they don't openly express it. ''It is understood that Glafcos Clerides, the leader of the Greek Cypriot administration, does not admit this fact. But we shouldn't only criticize Clerides. The Turkish Cypriots have been keeping their state alive for years under extremely difficult conditions. Although the world is a mere spectator, the reality will continue to exist. I don't find it strange that Clerides denies this reality because he is taking strength from the world,'' he said.

ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

ECEVIT: ''OPERATIONS WILL CONTINUE TILL HEZBOLLAH IS ERADICATED''
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said, ''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. He 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.''

[03] TREASURY'S STAND-BY ARRANGEMENT MONTHLY REPORT

ANKARA - The Undersecretariat of Treasury General Directorate of Foreign Economic Relations Department of IMF Affairs issued on Thursday Stand-by Arrangement Monthly Report.

The report is as follows:

''Legal amendments regarding the Telecommunication sector has been made by the end of January. These changes allow Turk Telecom to act as a private entity subject to the Turkish Commercial Code and establish a regulatory body. New regulatory regime governing the operations of the telecommunications sector will promote competition and encourage privatization.

Legal amendments regarding the petroluem consumption tax (PCT) has been made by end-January introducing unit excise tax instead of ad valorem tax and authorizing the Council of Ministers to increase or to reduce the amount of the levy.

To facilitate privatization, the Constitution has been amended to allow for international arbitration between the Turkish State and foreign investors. Supplementary legal changes has been made allowing to apply international arbitrage clause retroactively.

-Developments in Major Aggregates -

-Balance of Payments

The Current Accountsurplus of 1.220 million US Dollars in the January- October period of 1999 has resulted with a deficit of 615 million US Dollars in the same period of 1999. Foreign Trade, export revenues have decreased to 23.703 million US Dollars, in the January-November period of 1999. Similarly, import expenditures, have decreased to35.893 million US Dollars in the same period.

-Inflation

(YoY) 1997 1998 Dec.99 1999

WPI (percent) 91.0 54.3 6.8 62.9

CPI (percent) 99.1 69.7 5.9 68.8

- Public Finance -

-Domestic Borrowing

Interest rates for domestic borrowing have shown sharp decline after the announcement of a sound disinflation program of the government with the optimistic expectations of the market. Compounded yearly rate of interest has declined to 37.03 percent for the 13 month auction and 35.3 percent for the 16 month auction. Comparing the last auction before the program, there has been around 60 percentage points decline. Similarly, declining trend has continued with the FRN auction with 2 year maturity and 45.44 percent compounded yearly interest rate.

Domestic borrowing auction program and redemption schedule for February 2000 are as follows : (trillions TL)

Maturity Auction Date Amount Redemption

3 Months 08.02.2000 623 10.05.2000

12 Months 08.02.2000 1.550-1.880 21.02.2001

24 Months 15.02.2000 600-800 23.01.2002

(TL billions)

Date Principal Interest Total

Feb.2000 1.737.016 2.417.793 4.155.838

-External Borrowing

Turkey has accomplished two Global bond issue during the first month of the year. First issue of the year has been made in US market in an amount of 1.500 million US Dollars with 30 year maturity. Second, an euro-denominated issue has been made in an amount of 750 million Euro with 10 year maturity. This performance has shown that foreign confidence to the program has been also established and Turkey is on track to reach the external financing targets needed for the success of the program.

-Maturity Amount Coupon Spread

USD 30 1.500 11.875 +525
Euro 10 750 9.250 +385

The Japanese Credit Rating Agency has upgraded Turkey's rating to BB+ from BB. JCR cited the Government's efforts to strengthen the economy and boost international confidence, including important legal changes and the IMF- supported disinflation program.

-External Debt Stock

The total external outstanding debt of Turkey has reached to 104.389 million US Dollars as of third quarter of 1999.

-Public Balance

The budget figures (adjusted) as of end-1999 are as follows:

Consolidated Budget - 1999 (TL trillions) end-1999

Total Expenditures 27.755

Total Revenues 18.683

Non-interest Expenditures 17.034

Primary Balance 1.649

The above mentioned primary surplus figure is above the end-1999 performance criteria of the Letter of Intent.

The cash balance for January 2000 is as follows:

Treasury Cash Balance (TL trillions) Jan.2000

Non-interest Expenditures 1.727,5

Interest payments 1.844,5

Revenues 1.864,5

Primary Balance 137,0

Overall Cash Balance -1.707,5

-Privatization

Tender procedure for D.B. Deniz Nakliyat(Maritime Cargo) has been concluded and approval of the High Privatization Council is expected soon.

The tender procedure for POAS (Petroleum Company) has been started and received bids of four concortium, all four concortium has been evaluated technically capable and tender procedure is expected to be concluded soon after the price evaluation.

[04] PARRIS, THE U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ANKARA: ''THE YEAR 2000 WILL BE THE FIRST YEAR OF MANY POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS FOR TURKISH ECONOMY''

MUGLA - Mark Parris, the U.S. Ambassador to Ankara, Thursday expressed his belief that the year 2000 will be good for Turkish economy, and pointed out that, ''2000 will be the first year of many positive developments for the Turkish economy.''

Parris and a delegation, composed of trade education and agriculture attaches, held contacts in Mugla.

Members of the delegation got information about the investment facilities of the province. Parris said they visited the region to determine the fields of investment facilities, adding that, ''we envisage cooperation in trade, agriculture, culture, and academic field that will be for the benefit of the two countries.''

Parris said Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's visit to Washington D.C., the U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to Turkey, and Turkey's formal candidacy to the European Union (EU), increased Turkey's importance abroad.

Pointing out that they welcomed the statements of Prime Minister Ecevit in Davos that privatization will continue, Parris said, ''we have visited the region to determine the fields of opportunities.''

John Bridensite, the U.S. Embassy Trade Consultant, said he will obtain information about the investments and convey them to the U.S. companies.

Pointing out that there were nearly 200 U.S. companies in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir, Breidensite said, ''we are collecting information regarding partnership facilities and investments in Turkey, and we broadcast them in our web site. We have a series of broadcastings related with the U.S. companies.''

[05] PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT DENIES NEWS REPORTS SAYING HE GOT DONATION FROM A GERMANY PARTY

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit on Thursday denied the new reports claiming that he got donation from a German party. Ecevit said such news reports are ''entirely fictitious and ugly slanders.''

Ecevit said a news report, which appeared today referring to the Austrian and German broadcasting organs, claimed that some part of the illegal donations made to German Christian Democrat Party was transferred to himself or his party.

Ecevit said, ''this news report is entirely fictitious and a very ugly slander. Neither me nor Democratic Left Party (DSP), got donation or a proposal for donation from a foreign source.''

''For a long time, I oppose the parties to get any donation from abroad. In the year 1970's, I had not accepted the proposal of a German fund to donate to my then-party Republican People's Party (CHP)'', Ecevit said.

Ecevit pointed out that, ''I request Turkish and foreign press organs, which published this slander, to correct this fictitious news report immediately.

-<B>PROXIMITY TALKS ON CYPRUS</B> - DENKTAS: ''TURKEY'S EU CANDIDACY BROUGHT NEW OPENINGS ALSO FOR THE TRNC''
GENEVA - Rauf Denktas, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), said on Thursday that the declaration of Turkey's formal candidacy to the European Union (EU) membership brought new openings also for the TRNC.

Addressing the Turkish journalists in Geneva, Denktas recalled that the Greek-Cypriot side applied for EU full-membership.

Denktas stated it was mentioned in several meetings that separate contacts should be set up also with the TRNC in Geneva concerning the EU candidacy.

Noting that Glafcos Clerides made a brazen statement on Wednesday, Denktas said, ''those who earlier said that the Constitution died are now saying that the Constitution has to be modified. This is an attempt to let us withdraw from the negotiation table.''

Stressing that the Cyprus issue can't be solved with constitutional change, Denktas said, ''first of all, recognition of our sovereignty has to be discussed for the discussion of the territory issue.''

Denktas said the second round talks will continue till next Tuesday, and that they will take up the schedule and manner of the third round talks.

Responding to a question about his visit to Germany, the TRNC President said he was pleased with the visit of German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.

[07] FOREIGN MINISTER CEM ARRIVES IN ATHENS: ''MORE PROGRESS WAS RECORDED IN LAST SIX MONHTS COMPARED TO LAST 40 YEARS''

ATHENS - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Thursday that more progress was recorded in Turkish-Greek relations in last six months compared to the last 40 years.

Cem arrived in Athens, Greece as the first Turkish Foreign Minister who officially visited Greece after 40 years.

Speaking at Athens airport, Cem expressed his pleasure of coming to Greece and said that he brought the best wishes of Turkish people to Greek people.

Cem stressed that one of the major purposes of his visit to Greece is to create the proper environment so that in the future ministers of two countries visit each other as any two neighboring ministers should.

Cem also noted that he does not want to exaggerate the things done to improve the bilateral relations in the last six months and pointed out that the agreements signed between Turkey and Greece constitute a concrete basis.

Addressing Cem with his first name, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said there had also been periods of friendship between Turkey and Greece.

''We still live under the shadow of Cyprus tragedy. The Cyprus landing is a great tragedy for Greece. Dangerous confrontations took place between the two countries like incident of Hora ship and aircrafts and periods of crisis such as Kardak and Ocalan. Yet a friendship had been established between the two countries in the past by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Eleutherios Venizelos just after the Anatolian war,'' Papandreou said.

Warm relations were seen between Turkey and Greece in the periods of Demirel-Karamanlis and Yżlmaz-Mitsotakis, said Papandreou and added that the first step was taken now in the correct direction.

Greek Foreign Minister said that peoples' expectations are also in the same way and added that citizens ask ''when will the money spent for arms be spent for education?''

Papandreou noted that some persons expected when would this connection be broken off when the contacts started between the two countries, yet he added that they look at the future in a more confident way now by knowing the fact that they are in the beginning of a difficult path.

''The citizens of both countries formed natural diplomacy channels between them following killer earthquakes and we see that this has been effective in our decisions. I think that the parliament is the important place to include the two countries in the great European family. This European family is a family of principles which does not pay regard to political and religious differences. I believe that the Cyprus question must be solved in this new framework,'' Papandreou added.

Papandreou added that they set up a very special relation with Cem's family although they met each other a short time ago. He said that Greek people knows Cem and they expect many things from him.

Papandreou ended his words saying that he regards Cem as a resolved statesman who wishes Turkey to be a European country and improvement of Turkish-Greek relations.

[08] DEMIREL-ECEVIT MEETING ENDS - PREMIER ECEVIT:''INFLATION FIGURES OF JANUARY ARE NOT SURPRISING FOR US''

ANKARA - Premier Bulent Ecevit said on Thursday that the inflation figures of January, which were announced the same day were not surprising for them.

Ecevit stressed that the inflation will start to reduce sharply towards the second half of this year.

After meeting with President Suleyman Demirel for nearly 45 minutes, Ecevit told reporters that they evaluated together the internal and external developments in their weekly regular meeting.

Ecevit stressed that a totally incorrect news was published about the World Bank and energy sector the same day, adding ''I informed Mr. President about this issue. This news claim that we stopped many energy tenders. These are not true. Our Treasury Undersecretary also issued a statement. Such kind of incorrect news can cause some speculations in stock exchange market.''

Responding to questions of journalists, Ecevit said that they discussed the issue of election of president with Demirel and he informed Demirel briefly about the issue.

When asked about the reason of postponing the tender of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant for one month, Ecevit said that ''we'll wait for a few days. Not all the concerned institutions sent us their views.''

''We will try to speed up adopting the laws,'' on struggle with fundamentalism, added Ecevit upon another question.

A.A


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