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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 00-02-13

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

From: The Anadolu Agency Home Page at <>

[01] AA News

13 February 2000 Sunday


These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on February 13, 2000. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their occuracy.


Police intervened in the ''Respect for Human Rights in 2000s'' march which was arranged illegally by the Association of Human Rights (IHD) Istanbul Branch, and detained 221 demonstrators including IHD Chairman Eren Keskin. Rapid Deployment Force units backed by armoured vehicles took intense measures on the Istiklal Street due to the march, which was announced to start from the Tunel Square and end with a statement to press in front of the IHD building in Taksim, Istanbul. The security forces, which erected barricades on the street, warned the demonstrators to disperse peacefully, saying that their march attempt was illegal. Security forces intervened in the group which insisted on not dispersing, and detained 221 of them.

Mehmet Arica, so-called military responsible of illegal terrorist Hezbollah organization in Diyarbakir, explained how they interrogated and tortured their victims. Arica confessed that they interrogated and tortured their victims to death in houses where families continue their daily life. He said that they did not allow their victims even to moan.


Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit met with his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis during the Southeast European Countries Summit in Romanian capital of Bucharest. Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister, and George Papandreou, the Greek Foreign Minister, were also in attendance at the meeting. Addressing journalists following the meeting, Ecevit said that the meeting focused on steps taken to improve close cooperation between the two neighbouring countries. He noted that the general issues regarding the European Union (EU) were also discussed at the meeting.

Illegal terrorist Hezbollah organization has been involved in 1,027 crimes including 484 homicides, 386 batteries, 18 bomb attacks and 14 abductions since 1991 when it started its gory actions. The Directorate General of Security said that security forces captured 80 Hezbollah members in 1992; 156 in 1993; 475 in 1994; 483 in 1995; 356 in 1996; 524 in 1997; 900 in 1998 and 1,527 in 1999 during operations against the illegal terrorist organization. Hezbollah members were involved in 5 incidents in 1991; 149 in 1992; 345 in 1993; 366 in 1994; 59 in 1995; 10 in 1996; 22 in 1997; 18 in 1998 and 28 in 1999.


The 3rd Congress of Turkish Businessmen will be held in Istanbul between April 10-11. President Suleyman Demirel and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit will also attend the congress. Nearly two thousand Turkish businessmen from 50 countries are expected to participate in the congress.


The Batman Governor's Office's weapon import, which was revealed to have been made contrary to the laws, gained a dimension including the doubts about smuggling. The customs document showing that the Kalashnikow weapons were sent to Batman from the U.S., was included in the scope of the investigation. The bill of entry, which was registered at the Derince Customs on January 18, 1995, mentions that the 500 varnished Kalashnikow weapons, which were loaded in the U.S., were brought to Turkey. Salih Sarman, the then Governor of Batman, said, ''we did not import even garbage from the U.S. The U.S. is not the producer of those weapons.''

Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit met with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis. The two Prime Ministers expressed their pleasure over the level reached in bilateral relations at the meeting which was held upon Greece's request. During his meeting with Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou proposed to take up problems in Aegean within structure of the NATO. Turkey earlier proposed to solve the problems through a joint committee.


President Suleyman Demirel said, ''allegations saying that the illegal terrorist Hezbollah organization got the weapons exported by Batman Governor's Office, were not correct.'' He added, ''I was told that the gendarmerie units got most of the weapons. Gendarmerie officials gave some of these weapons to village guards. They could have given the weapons to someone else. But allegations claiming that the illegal terrorist Hezbollah organization got the weapons exported by Batman Governor's Office, were not correct.''


Peter Kelly, the Chairman of the Executive Board of the Meridian Worldwide, a leading advisory company, said, ''both Turkey and the Ihlas Holding have a very powerful economic structure.'' Praising Dr. Enver Oren, the Chairman of the Ihlas Holding Executive Board, Kelly said, ''Ihlas Holding is a reflection of Mr. Oren's personality. Ihlas Holding has the potential to invest in every country.''


President Suleyman Demirel said that terrorist Hezbollah organization did not get the weapons which were imported by the Batman Governor's Office but later got lost. Demirel said the Gendarmerie had almost all of those weapons. Noting that he was aware of the special armed unit that was established by the Batman Governor's Office, Demirel said, ''the then government was seeking new arrangements against terrorism. Also I made some suggestions but now I can't announce them. The issue has never been discussed by the National Security Council.''

The Charter on Good-Neighborly Relations, Stability, Security and Cooperation in Southeastern Europe, which was prepared upon Turkey's proposal, was approved in Bucharest yesterday. Thus the Balkan countries, for the first time in last 66 years, signed a joint document. During the Summit, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit met with his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis.

A serious scandal erupted in the Uludag University Veterinary Medicine Faculty of which duty is to carry out scientific researches and produce remedy for animal diseases. It was revealed that one of the cows raised in the Faculty's farm came down with Anthrax. The cow was killed and its meat was sold to public. The Veterinary Faculty sold 20 kg of this meat in the campus. It is not known who ate those meat.


BUCHRAREST - Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister, George Papandreou, the Greek Foreign Minister, and Nadejda Mihailova, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister, will come together in Bulgarian capital of Sofia on February 19.

The meeting is expected to focus on the latest regional developments and relations among the three countries.

Officials at Foreign Ministry told the A.A correspondent on Saturday that the preparations were continuing for the meeting.

Meanwhile, Cem who is currently in Romanian capital of Bucharest, held a brief talk with his Greek counterpart Papandreou.

Cem and Papandreou discussed the confidence-building measures in the Aegean and Turkey's package of proposals regarding the issue.

Responding to Cem's suggestion for discussion of Turkey's package of proposals, Papandreou said, ''let's bring it to the NATO''.


BUCHAREST - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit who is currently in Romanian capital of Bucharest, met on Sunday with Turkish businessmen in Romania.

Addressing the meeting, Ecevit recalled that there were six thousand Turkish businessmen in Romania.

Noting that Romanian officials and people were grateful to Turkish businessmen for their contributions, Ecevit congratulated them, saying, ''we are proud of you. I want to show Romania as an exemplary country to the other regional countries.''

Dursun Altinisik, the Chairman of Turkish Businessmen's Association in Romania, Tamer Atalay, the Chairman of Turkish-Romanian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and Bekir Inan, the Chairman of Turkish Investors' Union, briefed Ecevit on their activities.

Atalay said, ''Turkish businessmen have begun to encounter difficulties after annulment of 70th Law envisaging five-year tax exemption for foreign investors'' and asked Ecevit to help them.

Rahsan Ecevit, the wife of Prime Minister Ecevit, Aydin Sahinbas, the Deputy Undersecretary of Foreign Ministry, and Umit Pamir, the Foreign Affairs Advisor of Prime Ministry, were also in attendance at the meeting.


ANKARA - Turkey, a European Union (EU) candidate country, partly completed the legal arrangements in the ''List A'' within framework of the works for harmonization with the regulations.

Sources said the State Planning Organization (DPT) researched the level Turkey reached in ''Harmonization With EU Regulations''.

The results of the research were issued in a 784-page report which explains the process since Turkey's application to the EU in 1987.

The report said the EU Commission's report on ''Turkey Preparing For EU Membership'' was updated by the DPT, and within this framework, the works to specify the level Turkey reached in harmonization were started.

The report said those works had been carried out in coordination of the DPT and in cooperation with the Foreign Affairs Ministry with the contributions of public organizations and institutions since July 1998.

The report stressed that those works would constitute the basis for the ''Turkey National Programme''.

Recalling that the EU Regulations was divided into two parts as ''List A'' and ''List B'', the report said List A was composed of 31 headlines including 4,000 legal arrangements as of July 1998.

Recalling that the EU Regulations were collected under 31 headlines, the report said the Foreign Ministry sent the draft descriptions about the first evaluation results for 13 headlines to the EU Commission.


BUCHAREST - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Sunday that concrete steps for a multi-dimensional cooperation among Southeast European countries were taken at the Summit held in Romanian capital of Bucharest.

Staging a press conference, Prime Minister Ecevit evaluated the summit and his contacts with Heads of State and Government of Southeast European countries.

Describing the Summit as very productive and positive meeting, Ecevit stressed that concrete steps for a multi-dimensional cooperation among Southeast European countries were taken at the Summit.

He said, ''proposal to make the Souteast European Cooperation Process (SEECP) more concrete and influential with such a charter, was brought onto agenda by Turkey two years ago. Also, Turkey prepared the first draft of the charter. With participation of other member countries, a text which is acceptable by everyone, came out. Southeast European countries have begun to assure their own destinies after signing the charter. This will lead international finance organizations to increase their financial contribution to the region. Peaceful development of the region will be taken under guarantee significantly. Of course, there is a serious deficiency in this cooperation process: The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia cannot take place in the process since its regime does not suit the West's political and cultural standards and understanding of democracy. Also, Kosovo cannot be represented in the process. Unfortunately Bosnia- Herzegovina failed to carry out the necessary activities. We hope that these deficiencies will be removed in the course of time. Removal of these deficiencies depends on settlement of a regime in Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which will be able to harmonize itself with the West and the European Union (EU). He hope that such a regime would be established in near future. Because non-existence of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia creates negativeness for the process. Except this, relations are very good.''

Recalling that he had an opportunity to meet with Turkish businessmen and kinsmen in Romania, Ecevit said, ''there are 15 thousand Turkish businessmen in Romania. Also, 6,074 Turkish firms and six Turkish banks are giving service to the Romanian people. Turkish businessmen have made a considerable contribution to improvement of Romanian economy. I appreciate their efforts.''

''Nearly 100 thousand Turkish and Tatar origin kinsmen are living in Romania. They are faithful to their languages, culture and religious beliefs. We held a very nice meeting with representatives of kinsmen this morning. They expressed their gratitude over Turkish schools which have been recently opened,'' Ecevit said.

He reiterated that a very positive and successful Summit was held in Bucharest, adding, ''cooperation opportunities among Southeast European countries have become more concrete after the 'Charter on Good-Neighborly Relations, Stability, Security and Cooperation in South-Eastern Europe' was signed. A new era has begun with the Charter. The Balkan countries have taken a concrete step to assure their own destiny for the first time since the Balkan Pact signed in 1934.''


BUCHAREST - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Sunday that the territorial integrity of the countries, which signed the ''Charter on Good- Neighbourly Relations, Friendship, Stability and Security Cooperation in Southeastern Europe'' was under guarantee and responsibility of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

''Except the incidents caused by today's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, actually there is not a border dispute among other Balkan countries,'' he said.

Prime Minister Ecevit answered the questions of journalists in a press conference he staged in Bucharest.

Responting to a question about the struggle against the terrorist PKK organization and international terrorism, Ecevit said, ''actually, the Southern Europe Cooperative Initiative (SECI) Center we visited yesterday is a concrete proof of Romania's sensitivities against cross-border terrorist actions. During my meeting with Mr. President Emil Constantinescu today, he stressed the importance he attached to this issue, and he expressed his wish for approval of the agreement on cooperation in combatting international terrorism by the Turkish Parliament. Romania has taken considerable amount of positive steps to restrict PKK activities. I am pleased to observe this.''

Responding to a question about the relations between Turkey and Greece, Ecevit said the earthquakes unified the Turkish and Greek peoples and prepared the pschlogical infrastructure of more closer relations between to allies.

Noting that the relations gained a new momentum with the nine agreements signed between Turkey and Greece, Ecevit said, ''I held a brief but very beneficial meeting with Mr. Costas Simitis yesterday. We invited him to Turkey. I think this visit will take place probably after the elections in Greece, and I believe that this visit will bring a more closer atmosphere between Turkey and Greece.''

Stressing that the technical dimension in Turkey's relations with the European Union (EU) is very important, Ecevit recalled that Greece is experienced in this field.

Stating that Greece wants Turkey benefit from its experiences, Ecevit said, ''we consider this as a friendly approach.''

Responding to a question about the developments in Batman, Ecevit said, ''I earlier expressed my opinions and concerns about this issue. We started a process of investigation. We have to wait for the results.''

Ecevit added that he did not receive any information about the issue yet.


ANKARA - The State Planning Organization (DPT) said on Sunday that a better performance was displayed in budget deficit and non-interest balance in 1999 according to both budget figures, which were legalized in June 1998 and estimations put forward in October 1999.

According to the DPT's monthly report, the optimistic expectations that started through the end of last year continued increasingly in the early 2000 when the economic programme was put into practice.

Besides, the change in foreign currency basket that is composed of ''1 U.S. dollar + 0.77 Euro'' became 2.1 percent as it was targeted. The real increase in Turkish Lira (TL) became 2 percent in January.

The industrial production index increased 2.9 percent in December 1999 compared to same month in 1998, and the 3.3 percent increase in manufacturing industry production index was effective in the increase.

The recovery in domestic demand in November 1999 also continued in December while the production of durable consumer goods rose 23.3 percent and sales of these goods increased 4.3 percent in December.

The sales of automobiles increased 40 percent in November and 29 percent in December, and the cemen production rose 12.1 percent.

The production in manufacturing and mining sectors reduced in whole 1999 while energy sector production increased.

Although domestic borrowing interest rates decreased a little in 1999 compared to second half of 1998, they fluctuated over 100 percent. The domestic borrowing interest rate decreased to 38.3 percent in auctions in January.

[09] A.A

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