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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 00-02-19

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

From: The Anadolu Agency Home Page at <>

[01] AA News

19 February 2000 Saturday

These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on February 19, 2000. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their occuracy.


Political circles and media reacted to the decision of state broadcasting board (RTUK) which ordered a one-day blackout for CNN-Turk, a joint venture with CNN. Prime Minister Ecevit said, ''there are some deficiencies in the structure of RTUK. I can't understand the criterion of RTUK. Meanwhile, politicians said there is need for a new law.

Thomas Klestil, Austrian President, gave assurances to Turkish citizens living in his country through President Suleyman Demirel. He said, ''never feel concerned because of the new government.'' Klestil also send the message that, ''I am the guarantor of your rights.''


The ''secret report'', prepared by Emergency Rule Region units, revealed that terrorist Hezbollah organization collected information and documents within the army since 1994. The terrorist organization ordered its members ''to go to the army, and send the sketch of the units, and the documents they can collect, to them.'' Operations launched in the region showed that the organization planned attacks especially on military units, commanders and intelligence officers. It was also revealed that Hezbollah collected information about the prices of the houses and lands that are around military units, and purchased some of them.


Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit spoke to CNN Turk and said he had no doubt that Mesut Yilmaz, leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP), wanted Demirel to be elected as President. Ecevit said, ''with a great possibility Constitutional change will pass from the Parliament and Mr. Demirel will be elected as President. There is no other candidate for Presidency. The developments show that there will not be another candidate.''

A Boeing 737 plane belonging to Lufthansa Airlines of Germany, which was on its way from Larnaka to Frankfurt, made an emergency landing at Ataturk Airport due to a failure in its landing gear on Friday morning.

A failure occurred at the landing gear of the plane having 90 passangers aboard, while it prepared to land. Its right back wheel broke into pieces and the plane asked for an emergency landing. Later the plane started to have tours in the air to unload its fuel.

''Hezbollah Army'' newspaper headline proved the ignorance of politicians. Statements of the officials about Hezbollah revealed the ignorance of the state about the organization. President Demirel confused ''courier'' flank of the organization with ''courier sect''. Mesut Yilmaz, leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP), said, ''as far as I know, the state did not know Hezbollah got armed so much.''

Prof Aykut Barka, Istanbul Techical University (ITU) Geology Institute lecturer, said none of the scientific researches carried out in the Marmara Sea will change quake risk in the region. Barka stressed that six months after August 17 quake passed in vain efforts, adding that bureucrats should be intensified on the defects of structure quality.


The statements of Anna Lindh, Swedish Foreign Minister, created uneasiness in Ankara. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit reacted harshly over the proposal of Lindh for Kurdish education. Premier Ecevit said, ''it is certainly out of question.'' Also, minority issue, discussed during a meeting in Foreign Ministry, created problem. Turkish side defended that there is no minority in Turkey, apart from the ones mentioned in Lausanne Treaty. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem pointed out the problems which Turkish citizens living in Sweden have to face.

Italian delegation, headed by Italian Trade Minister Pierro Fassino, and Ugo Mazza, Responsible for International Relations of Italian Industrialists Confederation (Confindustria), said Turkey came the fourth for Italy which it made foreign investments.


They are tyring to bring so-called draft resolution on Armenian genocide to French parliament. The Armenian allegations, which are brought in front of Turkey again and again in every period, this time are used to create problems between Ankara and Paris. Michel Mercier and Denis Badre prepared the so-called Armenian genocide draft resoution. This evil plan was started before the visit of French President Jacques Chirac, planned to take place next month.

President Suleyman Demirel attended oath ceremony of Stipe Mesic, Croatian President, who came to power in elections on February 7. Demirel met with the leaders of the regional countries. Demirel also met Thomas Klestil, Austrian President, Petar Soyanov, Bulgarian President, Rudolf Schuster, Slovakia's President, Aliya Izzetbegovic, Bosnia-Herzegovina Tripartite Chairmanship Council member, and Boris Trojkovski, Macedonian President.


Members of the terrorist Hezbollah organization are trying to make use of Repentance Law to save themselves. Application of Abudulaziz Tunc, a confessor, was accepted. Application of Edip Gumus is in investigation stage. Confessions of Tunc speeded up the collapse of the organization. The other terrorists also applied to benefit from the law.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Turkey Desk Chief Carlo Cottarelli arrived in Istanbul on Friday evening. IMF Turkey Desk experts, who came to Turkey on Thursday, carry out contacts with officals of Treasury, Central Bank, Finance Ministry, State Planning Institute, and Banking Union. Cottarelli will start contacts on Monday. During his contacts, 1999 end of year realizations, and results of January 2000 will be evaluated. The IMF delegation, led by Cottarelli, will submit a report to IMF Executive Board Directors regarding developments in Turkey during their return to Washington D.C.

VAN - Domestic Security meeting, led by Sadettin Tantan, Interior Minister, started in eastern Van province on Saturday.

Turan Genc, Chief of Police, Gen. Mehmet Cavdaroglu, Genderma General Commander Representative, Gen. Kemal Yilmaz, Public Security Army Corps Commander, Governors, Police Chiefs, and Gendarme Commanders of 11 provinces attend the meeting.

Border and domestic issues, and operations carried out against terrorist Hezbollah organization will be discussed during the meeting.

TRABZON - Hikmet Sami Turk, Minister of Justice, said on Saturday that their attitude in not allowing Turkish-European Union (EU) Joint Parliamentary Commission (JPC) European flank to visit Leyla Zana, former deputy of the banned Democracy Party (DEP), was right, and noted that this request was not innocent, but has political dimensions.

Turk briefed representatives of press institutions in Black Sea Trabzon province about the works of the ministry and the draft resolutions that have prepared.

Responding to the questions, Turk said Justice Ministry was currently working on 36 draft resolutions, adding that some of them have been concluded and can be submitted to the Parliament.

''With the new draft resolutions, we are trying to bring a new order to the prisons, which is the bleeding wound of Turkey. We are exerting efforts to get rid of the ward system despite all difficulties'' Turk said.

When asked about the request to visit Zana, who is currently jailed in Ankara Prison, Turk said, ''this is an issue which create problem each time. We don't want this to be used politically by the foreigners. We have got the views of foreign ministry. Because, this is an issue concerning foreign policy. We have told them that we have doubt that this may be exploited within the politicization process of the terrorist PKK. To this end, we have refused their request. It is impossible to accept that they connected postponement of the visit to this condition. Apart from this, there is no limitation to visit Zana within the framework of laws.''

ANKARA - A total of 669 people, who were arrested during operations carried out in the last month against terrorist Hezbollah organization, were detained.

Officials said nationwide operations, which started with the operation in Beykoz district in Istanbul on January 17, in which Huseyin Velioglu, the head of the terrorist Hezbollah organization was killed, continue.

A total of 1,366 terrorists were arrested and sent to court. 669 of them were detained after their trial.

A total of 997 actions occurred between 1991 and 1999 related with terrorist Hezbollah organization. Security forces launched 780 operations against the terrorist organization. A total of 4,505 people were arrested during the operations.

ISTANBUL - A minor earthquake took place in the Aegean Sea at 7.18 on Saturday morning.

According to the information obtained from Bogazici University's Kandilli Observatory, the quake measured 3.6 by Richter scale.

The Observatory also recorded an aftershock in Kocaeli-Gebze measuring 3.1 at 7.50 p.m. on Friday night.

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said he hoped the constitutional change about the presidential elections would pass and President Demirel would be reelected, when he answered Taha Akyol's questions on CNN Turk on Friday night.

About the missing weapons in Batman, Ecevit said ''it was a very complicated issue'' and he stressed that the weapons were imported without an official permission of the authorities and most of the expenses were not registered on the documents. At that time Batman governorship had 50 separate accounts in 3 different banks so the investigation will take time, he added. ''When you don't know how the money was spent and to whom it was given, it brings to mind many possibilities,'' Ecevit noted.

About the joint forces formed in Batman, Ecevit said, he had doubts that this was done with the permission of the National Security Council as the interior minister of the time was not informed about the matter.

Commenting about the terrorist organization Hezbollah, Ecevit said the organization members were confessing everything and Hezbollah would soon be terminated.

Responding to a question about the terrorist organization PKK, Ecevit said ''They are trying to keep terrorist activities like the sword of Damocles on Turkey. They are not willing to lay down arms. They are continuing their military training in Iran, Northern Iraq and in some other countries. They are keeping that as a threat. They are also trying to abuse the EU through their separatist policies as Turkey's membership situation becomes more and more clear. Now they see political activities as the only way out to reach their separatist targets. Therefore, we must be very careful. We shouldn't make even a smallest concession on this matter,'' he explained.

Although the terrorist activities came to an end in Turkey, separatism is still supported by outside forces which constitutes a serious threat against Turkey, he went on to say.

About the constitutional change about democratization, Ecevit said

''Punishments for certain crimes are too heavy and some are too light. You see people who formed gangs and killed people released from the prison in a few months. There are authors on the other hand who are sentenced to many years in prison only for using a certain word. We must remove these conflicts,'' he said.

When reminded that the Supreme Radio and Television Board (RTUK) ordered a one day blackout to CNN Turk, Ecevit said it was ''incomprehensible.'' ''Obviously, there are some flaws in RTUK's structure,'' he said. He added that he read the text of the programme which caused the blackout order and found it very positive. ''I sometimes have difficulty in understanding RTUK's criteria. RTUK will be reviewed with all its aspects,'' he said and added that the parties were already working on a project over RTUK.

About the amnesty law on which an agreement could not be reached before, Ecevit said ''we will not keep it waiting too long. We can reach a solution before too long.''

About the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Ecevit said there is only a disagreement over the price demanded by Georgia and he added that negotiations will speed up once Azerbaijani State Minister Haydar Aliyev returns from the U.S.

Ecevit also spoke about the economic policies of the government and said in the second half of the year, there will be a drop in the inflation parallel to the decrease in the interest rates.

The government, Central Bank, Treasury and Finance department work in harmony and foreign investors are now more willing to invest in Turkey. Ecevit stressed that the biggest complaint of foreign investors is the formality in Turkey. An person who wants to make an investment in Turkey has to apply to 40 units in 25 government departments, he noted and said they were working to recover the situation.

About the EU aid to Turkey which was vetoed by Greece, Ecevit said ''he believed that obstruction will be overcome.'' ''There are promises that have been given to us,'' he said and added that Foreign Minister Cem was also making some contacts about the issue.

About the recent developments in Cyprus, he said ''even if it is not pronounced openly, everybody who is not in a self-deception, admits that there are two separate states in Cyprus. This has become undeniable.''

Despite the very heavy sanctions, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) keeps developing and protects its sovereignty, Ecevit said. ''This is an undeniable fact. Once, this is accepted, it will be easy to reach an agreement. It is not easy for Greek Cypriots to admit this. But I believe that we will reach a result if there isn't too much interference from outside,'' he commented.

About the presidential elections, Ecevit noted that he believed that Mesut Yilmaz, the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP) was sincere about his comments about 5 plus 5 solution. ''When he says a word, I believe it,'' Ecevit showed his confidence in Yilmaz.

Ecevit concluded his words by saying he hoped Demirel would be reelected as a president. He also noted that there were no other candidates.

ANKARA - The ending of the Cold War removed the risk of a global war, however ethnical conflicts, spread of mass destruction weapons, organized crimes and terrorism brought new threats, President Suleyman Demirel said in the message he released on the 48th anniversary of Turkey's joining to NATO.

NATO proved its efficiency and reliability also in the years following the Cold War, Demirel noted. ''NATO's importance grows increasingly parallel to its increasing responsibility in a period in which efforts continue to form a stable, safe Europe-Atlantic region where peace prevails,'' he said.

''The ending of the Cold War removed the risk of a global war, however ethnical conflicts, spread of mass destruction weapons, organized crimes and terrorism brought new threats. The changes that occurred after the ending of the Cold War made NATO to change and adjust to some new international conditions. NATO entered a new expansion process and increased its number of members to 19 on its 50th foundation anniversary when Czech Republic, Hungary and Polond joined the alliance. It formed special relations with Russia and Ukrania and has become a drawing force for a chance in Europe-Atlantic Partnership Council and Partnership for Reinforced Peace Programme. It also started a dialogue with the countries in the region to strengthen security and stability in the Mediterranean.

On the other hand, it made some changes in its structure. It took important steps in the development of European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI) and reshaped its regulations. NATO did all these without deviating from the understanding of collective defense which is the basic element of its existence,'' Demirel said.

Demirel concluded his message by saying that Turkey will continue to be a leading actor of NATO in the 21st century.

ARDAHAN - Ardahan Governor Ayhan Nasuhbeyoglu said about 100 Chechen refugees were waiting one kilometer away from Turkgozu border gate on Turkey-Georgia border to enter Turkey.

The refugees who escaped to Georgia because of Russian attacks against Chechnya have women and children among them. The refugees are spending the night in buses. Nasuhbeyoglu said the refugees cannot enter Turkey at the moment because of passport and visa problems.

Nasuhbeyoglu said they contacted Ankara about the matter.

In the meantime, the refugees who suffer from food shortage and cold weather said they would not go anywhere and wait at the border until they are admitted to Turkey.

SOFIA - Bulgaria's first Turkish television programme will begin to be broadcast on Sunday on ''7 Dni'' channel.

The 20 minute ''Beyaz Guvercin'' (White Pigeon) programme produced by journalist Svetoslava Tadarikova will be shown on Sundays.

The programme will cover news, music and features. International Center for Cultural Cooperation and Problems of Minorities will sponsor the programme which will have subtitles in Bulgarian.

Tadarikova told A.A that the programme can be only watched in Sofia region but they were expecting a wide interest to Beyaz Guvercin.

The programme will start broadcast at 3.10 p.m. on Sunday.

DIYARBAKIR - Feridun Celik, Mayor of Southeastern Diyarbakir province, has been taken to the State Security Court (DGM) on Saturday.

The reason why Celik was taken to DGM has not been disclosed yet.

[02] A.A

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