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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 00-02-05

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

05 February 2000 Saturday

[02] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on February 5, 2000. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their occuracy.

HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

TERM OF REPENTANCE LAW TO BE EXTENDED FOR SIX MONTHS
The Council of Ministers adopted a proposal which foresaw the extension of the term of repentance law for six more months. Sukru Sina Gurel, the State Minister, said that those who have been captured due toö the operations carried out against the terrorist Hezbollah organization, can benefit from this law. The term of repentance law was to end this month.

RECORD OF INVESTIGATION CONCERNING THREE FP DEPUTIES
Nuh Mete Yuksel, the Ankara State Security Court (DGM) Prosecutor, prepared a record of investigation requesting capital punishment for Omer Vehbi Hatipoglu, Oguzhan Asilturk and Zeki Ergezen, three deputies of the Virtue Party (FP). Yuksel requested capital punishment on charges that these persons want to establish a state based on religion by ending the secular republic.

MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

IPEKCI CASE SHELVED
Istanbul Prosecutorship decided not to open the case which ended by the acquittal of Oral Celik. The testimony of Yalcın Ozbey sent to the court by the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) was not regarded as sufficient evidence regarding the murder of famous journalist Abdi Ipekci in 1979.

EITHER YOUR MOSQUE OR YOUR LIFE
The terrorist organization Hezbollah killed the imams of mosques who didn't give the keys of the mosques to the terrorist organization. A high ranking security official said that ''the socalled imams, who were in fact Hezbollah members, gave courses to persons. We placed many civilian policemen in the mosques and we captured many of them.''

SABAH (LIBERAL)

KUTAN:''WE CAN WITHDRAW''
Recai Kutan, the leader of the Virtue Party (FP) told President Demirel that the total resignation of FP deputies came to the agenda. Kutan asked Demirel whether or not the Constitutional Court can close the FP after the statement issued by the General Staff on January 26. President Demirel said that soldiers, political parties and the Constitutional Court are separate institutions. ''If a party is closed, it is not closed because the soldiers want so,'' Demirel stressed.

PRESIDENT DEMIREL TO TAKE ERKAN BABY TO U.S.
President Suleyman Demirel has a surprise for U.S. President Bill Clinton during his visit to the U.S. which is planned to take place at the end of this month. Demirel will take Erkan baby with him to the U.S. Clinton had taken Erkan baby on his lap during his visit to Turkey. Clinton asked Premier Bulent Ecevit about the baby during the Davos meetings.

CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

TRILLIONS IN NORTHERN IRAQ
Mehmet Fadil Isik, one of the members of the terrorist Hezbollah organization who surrendered to the security forces, said that the high amounts of money which is collected from the citizens by force, are shared by the so-called high-ranking administrators of the organization. The organization which thinks that the interest rates is forbidden by religion and which does not have confidence in the banks, collected a great deal of this money in Northern Iraq, Isik noted. Isik added that the Hezbollah which could no longer take shelter in the southeast, instructed its supporters who went to the west part of Turkey, to change their images.

INFLATION IN JANUARY RISES CONCERNS
The inflation rate in January 2000 which surpassed the expected rate, leads to concerns that the programme cannot be implemented and leads to proposals saying new measures should be taken. However, Selcuk Demiralp, the Treasury Undersecretary, accepted that their only concern was the high rate of inflation but added that they will not change their targets and won't take new measures.

RADIKAL (LEFT)

THREE HUTS SET FIRE: ONE PERSON DIES
Fire broke out in three huts in quake-hit Adapazari province. One person died in the fire. First fire broke out in Yagcilar district of Adapazari due to the spark of the stove. Then, another fire broke out in Tepekum district of Adapazari. This fire could not been put out, so it spreaded to another hut. Both huts were totally burned.

DISCOUNT IN 'MOBILE PHONES' IN APRIL
Enis Oksuz, the Transportation Minister, said that the communication prices of 'mobile phones' will be more cheaper after the new Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) network enterprises tenders are announced. Oksuz noted that the competition of the mobile phone companies will reduce the communication prices.

TURKIYE (RIGHT)

FIVE AGREEMENTS IN ANTHENS
Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister who is holding contacts in Greece, met with Greek President Stefanopoulos. Stefanopoulos said that he hopes the initiatives carried out between two countries, will be beneficial for the two. Cem said that he hopes a new era will start in the relations. Later, Cem met with George Papandreou, the Greek Prime Minister. Following the meeting, Cem and Papandreou signed agreements which foresaw cooperation in various fields.

PEACE AND AFFECTION NIGHT
Baris Manco, a Turkish singer who passed away last year, was commemorated with a concert titled ''Peace and Affection Night.'' The Baris Manco Projects (BMP) Working Group organized the concert which was staged in Lutfi Kirdar Congress and Exhibition Hall in Istanbul. Twelve songs of Manco were performed by Erdal Kizilcay and the BMP orchestra on chorus.

ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

HOPE IN ECONOMY
The government and the businessmen didn't lose their hope about the realization of the economic targets which were formed by hoping to decrease the inflation to 25 percent. The inflation in January worried public opinion, as everybody thought that maybe the targets in the economic program couldn't be reached. However the Undersecretary of Treasury officials said that people shouldn't expect sharp decreases in inflation in the coming months.

SECOND HONEYMOON IN ATHENS
Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, who is currently paying an official visit to Athens, signed five cooperation agreements between the two countries together with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou. Cem also received Komotini Mufti Ibrahim Serif, Xanthi Mufti Mehmet Emin Aga and Turkish deputies from Western Thrace. Cem told muftis that he hoped their problems will be overcome.

[03] FOREIGN MINISTER CEM MEETS WITH DEPUTIES OF WESTERN THRACE TURKISH MINORITY

ATHENS - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem who is currently in Athens received Birol Akifoglu, Galip Galip and Mustafa Mustafa, deputies of western Thrace Turkish minority on Friday.

During the visit, Cem told the deputies that they were a bridge between Turkey and Greece and also representatives of the Turkish and Muslim minority.

Birol Akifoglu from New Democracy Party said they were very pleased about the warming of relations between Greece and Turkey.

Mustafa Mustafa from the Left Alliance said for many years they targeted to a be bridge between Turkey and Greece.

Galip Galip from PASOK pointed out that ''they went through difficult time because of the tension between the two countries.'' ''Today, we are seeing that the relations are warming up. This makes us very happy. We have problems waiting for a solution. We want our citizenship and minority rights to be given back to us. We believe that your visit will help us in this field,'' Galip told Cem.

In the meantime, Cem, following his meeting with Komotini mufti Ibrahim Serif and Xanthi mufti Mehmet Emin Aga said ''Turkey will help its own people.'' ''I am hoping that their troubles will lessen from now on,'' Cem added. The two muftus asked Cem not to forget the Turks living in western Thrace when signing an agreement with Greece.

Ibrahim Serif said they were hoping that the ''rapprochment between the two countries would also reach them.''

[04] TOURISM MINISTER MUMCU SAYS GERMANY HAS GREAT ROLE IN TURKISH TOURISM

FRANKFURT - Tourism Minister Erkan Mumcu, after having contacts with German and Turkish tour operators in various German cities, staged a press briefing at Frankfurt Intercontinental Hotel on Friday.

''Germany has an important role in Turkey's tourism,'' Mumcu said and noted that Germany was a leader in the world tourism sector.

Turkey set aside 100 million U.S. dollars from its budget for promotion of its tourism and 25 million U.S. dollar portion of this amount would be used in Germany, he reminded.

Germany had great contributions for the development of Turkish tourism, Mumcu said and reminded that 1,5 million German citizens visited Turkey last year. This year, they are targeting to host 3 million German tourists, Mumcu added.

''I invite German people to their second home, Turkey. Our promotion campaign will start in March. During my meetings with tour operators, I have seen that they have different projects for different sections of the German society. They mentioned brand new tourism products,'' he said.

[05] STATE MINISTER YALOVA: ''THE FOUNDATIONS GENERAL DIRECTORATE WILL GAIN 400 MILLION U.S. DOLLARS AS IT SELLS ITS SHARES IN VAKIFBANK''

NEVSEHIR - Yuksel Yalova, the State Minister, said on Saturday that the Foundations General Directorate will gain 400 million U.S. dollars as it sells its shares in Vakifbank.

Yalova visited Mehmet Yilmaz, the Governor of central Nevsehir province, and received information about the problems of the province.

The Council of Ministers adopted a draft law which foresaw selling the shares of the Foundations General Directorate in the Vakifbank, Yalova recalled.

Yalova noted that if this draft law is approved by the parliament, all the historical places in Turkey can be restored in one or one and a half years.

With this new amount of revenue, they will revive the historical places which are fading away every day and which could not be saved until today, Yalova added.

[06] NATIONAL DEFENSE MINISTER CAKMAKOGLU: ''PEOPLE SHOULD NOT FORGET THAT NATO BECAME SUCCESSFUL IN KOSOVO CRISIS''

MUNICH - Sabahattin Cakmakoglu, the National Defense Minister, said on Saturday that people should not forget that the NATO became successful in the Kosovo crisis, and should not make harsh criticisms about the NATO operation against Yugoslavia.

Cakmakoglu spoke in the ''36th Munich Security Conference'' which is held in Munich city of Germany every year.

The lessons which can be taken from the Kosovo crisis, carry vital importance for overcoming the problems which will occur in the future, Cakmakoglu noted.

Cakmakoglu requested that people should refrain from making criticisms which can negatively affect the success and efficiency of the NATO's Kosovo operation.

After the regional problems are solved, the regional countries should be given more initiatives for the reconstruction and development of the region, Cakmakoglu stated.

Cakmakoglu stressed that it is clearly seen that the alliance and the other international organizations do not have the sufficient facilities at the first stage to overcome the humanitarian problems which can occur in the future.

Cakmakoglu said, ''as a result, the Kosovo air operation has indicated that the NATO is not only a collective defense organization but also a leading organization in the protection and encouragement of peace. Also, the operation has indicated the importance of the Atlantic connection of the alliance.''

George Robertson, the NATO Secretary General, said that the Kosovo crisis indicated the importance that the armed force carries in the defense of Europe.

The European allies of NATO should have cooperation with Northern America, and these allies should have a more efficient role in the relations, Robertson added.

The defense ministers of many countries, the military and civilian administrators and political scientists also participate in the conference.

[07] PREMIER ECEVIT SPEAKS TO REPORTERS...

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit evaluated on Saturday the developments regarding the new goverment of Austria, and said that a coalition government which includes a party that is known as 'racist' in Austria makes uneasy not only the European Union (EU) but also the U.S.

Ecevit told reporters that, ''it is so natural to have such uneasiness. Because Europe suffered from racism in the past. The mankind, especially the Jews, was damaged by this racism. Unfortunately, the racism continues in Europe. Also, a poll which the EU Commission carried out in the EU countries a few years ago, made the public opinion uneasy about the racism.''

''According to the results of the poll, one third of the participants of the poll said that they are very racist and one third of them said that they are racist. That is, the poll revealed that two third of the public opinion in the EU countries are inclined to racism and xenophobia. This rises concerns. The racism and xenophobia continue to be a serious threat not only in Austria but also in some other European countries,'' Ecevit added.

Ecevit noted that on the other hand, warnings and concerns started to be expressed against this racism and xenophobia.

One of the issues which were discussed in the Davos meetings, were the developments in Austria; Ecevit stated.

Ecevit stressed that the possibility of an Austrian coalition government which has a tendency to racism, led to serious concerns and this was explained by the participants.

Ecevit continued, ''I believe that the Austrian government will be very careful about racism and will try to remove the impressions regarding racism and xenophobia. This carries vital importance for us because many Turkish citizens are living in Austria. To this end, we attribute great importance to this issue.''

''We have close relations with Austria. I hope that our relations will not negatively affect by the attitude of the new Austrian government. Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to say that there is not a concept of racism in Turkish society,'' Ecevit said.

Ecevit added, ''to this end, it is very hard for us to understand that racism still continues to exist as a danger in the countries which are the members of the EU which is the pioneer of democracy. I hope that this illness will totally be removed in the following years.''

[08] YARDIM, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF BOTAS: ''THE MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT OF THE PURCHASE OF NATURAL GAS FROM IRAN HAS NOT BEEN SIGNED''

ANKARA - Gokhan Yardim, the Director General of the Pipeline Oil Transportation Incorp. (BOTAS), said that the management agreement of the purchase of natural gas from Iran, has not yet been signed.

Yardim told a press conference that the measurement station is not ready yet.

Although the contracts on the construction of the Erzurum-Imranli, Imranli- Kayseri, Kayseri-Ankara, Kayseri-Konya pipelines were signed, the global crisis in 1998 led to the increase in the credit interests; Yardim noted.

Yardim stated that the negotiations on the credit could not been concluded and that the credits became effective in the end of 1999.

The construction of Iran pipeline was postponed, and the construction of a second pipeline within the framework of the natural gas purchase project from Turkmenistan via Iran was prevented due to the enlargement of the scale of the pipeline; Yardim stressed.

Yardim emphasized that Turkey gained at least 600 million U.S. dollars from this.

Some aspects should be fulfilled to start the natural gas delivery within the framework of the agreement signed between Turkey and Iran, Yardim pointed out.

Yardim said that the two sides will undertake obligations for the delivery of the natural gas, purchase of the natural gas and the payment of the purchased natural gas as the agreement is started to be implemented.

Yardim said, ''the beginning date of the agreement depends on the agreement that the two sides reach by meeting each other three months before the pipeline systems are started to be operated. Later, Iran should inform BOTAS about the beginning date of the natural gas transfer 60 days earlier than the transfer. None of these procedures were fulfilled.''

The beginning date of the natural gas transfer was postponed to July 30, 2001; Yardim noted.

Yardim stated that the two sides will undertake obligations after this date.

The efforts for the construction of the pipeline continue, Yardim stressed. Yardim added that they plan completing and operating the Eastern Anatolia natural gas pipeline in 2001.

Yardım said that BOTAS has fulfilled many of its obligations regarding the construction of the pipelines in Turkish territory within the framework of the natural gas that will arrive in Turkey by pipelines via Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Reminding that Turkey will take the Turkmen natural gas on the border of Georgia, Yardım said nearly 200 kilometers of pipeline from the Georgian border to Erzurum province will be contructed. They will send the invitation letters of tender next week, he said.

Yardım noted that intergovernmental agreement and agreement among transit countires will be signed due to Turkmen natural gas project, adding contacts about it have started.

Yardım also gave information about the Russian natural gas that will come to Turkey by the pipelines that will be placed on the bed of Black Sea. Yardım said Saipem firm will start laying down the pipelines on the bed of the Black sea this year. The construction of the pipelines having a lenght of 376 kilometers through the sea, is foreseen to be completed within 4-7 months, he ended.

[09] PRESIDENT DEMIREL EXPRESSES UNEASINESS ABOUT RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA IN EUROPE

ANKARA - President Suleyman Demirel said on Saturday that ''we share the criticisms that legitimazing racism and xenophobia will damage the democratic, integrated European project which we wish to build up together.''

Presidential Press Centre quoted President Demirel saying that the common values of Europe are the product of a long history of which Turkey is a part.

''Loyalty to equality, freedom and fraternity of human beings, democracy, human rights and supremacy of law carries vital importance for the building of our continent's common future. It is not possible to understand the views saying that 'the reaction of the EU to racism, xenophobia and discrimination in respect of religion is interference in internal affairs' or not accepting one people's right to democratic election.''

''Freedom without law is not possible. Democracy is not a regime in which one does not have the right to defend himself. No permission can be given to usage of rights and freedoms granted by democracy to damage the latter. The European Convention on Human Rights and Article 6 of the European Union (EU) Treaty determine the rules which will be abided by the countries that will be parts of the European project. We, as being a candidate country to the EU, and being members of all European institutions particularly the Council of Europe (COE), are bound by the democratic legitimacy rules,'' he said.

President Demirel stressed that Turkey is very sensitive about the rising racism and xenophobia in Europe as there are many Turkish citizens living in various European countries. ''We will closely monitor the policies that will be pursued by the new Austrian government,'' Demirel added.

[10] DEPUTY PM BAHCELI: ''PKK AND HEZBOLLAH CAN COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER BY THEIR MURDERS AND VIOLENCE''

ANKARA - Devlet Bahceli, the Deputy Prime Minister, State Minister and the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) said on Saturday that terrorist organizations PKK and Hezbollah can compete with each other by their murders and violence.

The MHP Central Execution Board and Central Decision-Making Council convened under the chairmanship of Bahceli the same day.

Speaking in the meeting, Bahceli noted that terrorists have turned into creatures who declared war against the values of humanity and who are enemies of humankind.

''No reason can be given to excuse terrorism,'' said Bahceli and stressed that terrorism is used as a tool to make Turkey unstable and it is also used to prevent the democratization and developmment of Turkey.

Bahceli said that terrorist organizations based on ethnic discrimination have undertaken an active role in making the Turkey unstable during the last 20 years. Bahceli said one of these terrorist organizations is Hezbollah and the other one is PKK. The former manipulated the religious feelings of people by following an ideology in order to conceal its murders. PKK on the other hand tried to legitimize its massacres by an ideology based on ''ethnic discrimination,'' Bahceli said.

''Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and the massacres don't have any connection with Islam. Considering a connection between the two is both ignorance and it is nothing more than supporting the claims of Hezbollah murderers,'' he said.

''There are circles which want to prevent the development of Turkey and they use all means to this end,'' said Bahceli.

''Antidemocratic structures and terrorist organizations feed each other. The aim of terrorism is to prevent the democratization of Turkey and if Turkey can't be democratic, this feeds terrorism,'' he said.

Responding to questions of journalists about the video tapes which recorded the tortures of Hezbollah, Bahceli said that ''these tapes which we watched show violence, horror and murder, and I don't think it is beneficial for our people to watch them.''

A.A


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