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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 00-04-27

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

27 April 2000 Thursday

[02] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on April 27, 2000. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

RAW HERCULES
Naim Suleymanoglu, the record breaking ''Pocket Hercules'' was left with two bronze medals in the 62 kilogram category at the European Weightlifting Championship in Sofia, with his now-out-of-condition muscles after a break of 3,5 years. Naim criticised himself on his raw muscles and pledged to win a gold medal in the Oympic Games in Sydney.

MARKETS ENJOY POLITICAL STABILITY AND INCREASED RATING
The stock exchange continued yesterday to follow an increasing trend in the wake of the compromise reached among the political parties on a presidential candidate, and the rise brought by Standard and Poor's (S&P) on its rating on Turkey's long-term foreign currency sovereign credit and senior unsecured debt to single ''B+'' from ''B''. The index opened at 18 thousand 541 points, and following an increasing trend way through the first session, it closed at 19 thousand 110 at noon. In the second session it continued to go up to reach as high as 19 thousand 235.

MAJORITY OF DYP TO VOTE IN FAVOR OF DYP CANDIDATES
The True Path party (DYP) is not expected to give much support to the agreed candidate Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Party deputies said they would cast their votes in favor of candidates from the DYP, who are namely Dogan Gures, Rasim Zaimoglu, and Ahmet Iyimaya. DYP leader Tansu Ciller, who had although put signature with the five political party leaders in favor of Ahmet Necdet Sezer, said she decided not to try to convince her party deputies to cast their votes in line with her pledge.

MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

ANAP LEADER YILMAZ: I WILL VOTE FOR SEZER
Motherland Party (ANAP) leader Mesut Yilmaz, who said he considered the candidacy of Parliament Speaker Yildirim Akbulut as being inappropriate, announced that he would vote in favor of Ahmet Necdet Sezer in the presidential elections. He underlined that although he had his signature under the accord reached between the party leaders on the candidacy of Sezer, he would not try to influence or impose his choice on his party deputies.

ARMED ATTACK AGAINST POLICEMEN
One police officer was wounded in an armed assault in Istanbul. Three armed men, trying to break into a car, opened fire on Mustafa Isık, and one other policeman, both patrolling in the Esenler district, when they warned them that they stopped. Isık was shot in the arm, and was hospitalised. The armed men managed to flee the scene.

SABAH (LIBERAL)

LAST MINUTE SURPRISE
Democratic Left Party deputy for Amasya, Gonul Saray Alphan, who would often mention the necessity of having a female candidate for presidency, submitted her application in literally the last minute, just one minute before the deadline. The 47 year old DSP deputy, also a businesswoman, had lately been exerting efforts to form a public opinion to convince political circles on the necessity of having also a female candidate for presidency.

BOMBERS CAPTURED
Security forces seized eight PKK militants, who had involved in the March 10, 1999 bombing of Carousel shopping center. The bomb, planted under a taxi had killed the driver, injured many others and caused great material damage. Security officials said the captured terrorists had also involved in many other bombings and molotov cocktail attacks in Istanbul.

PRESIDENTIAL RACE TO BE RUN BY 11
The first round of voting in presidential elections will be ehld today, with eleven candidates vying for the post. The number of candidates dropped down to 11 from 13 with the withdrawal of Vecdi Gonul (Virtue Party) and Turan Imamoglu (Democratic Left Party) from the race. The voting, in which a majority of 367 will be required, will start at 15.00 hours local time.

CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

''NEW LIRA'' WILL BE IN 2002
It was reported that the operation, which Gazi Ercel, Governor of Central Bank, pointed out earlier that six zeros will be removed from the Turkish lira, can not be realized in the beginning of the year 2001. After six zeros are removed from Turkish Lira, the old and new money will be in circulation together for a few years.

LABORERS WARN GOVERNMENT
Branch administrators of 35 unions, linked with Turk-Is, staged a march demanding business guarantee, prevention of privatization, and solution of the problems of civil servants by negotiation. Thousands of workers attended the march and warned the government. Trade unionists who arrived in Ankara early on Wednesday morning gathered and chanted slogans.

ENERGY NETWORK TO ANATOLIA
As efforts are underway to bring Russian, Iranian and Turkmen natural gas to Turkey, project works continue for the natural gas pipelines which will equip Anatolia with natural gas network.

RADIKAL (LEFT)

TURKEY ADS APPEAR ON PARIS BUSSES
The Ministry of Tourism continues its promotion campaign in various countries. This time, posters advertising Turkey's natural beauties and historic riches will appear on the busses and billboards of Paris and various other French cities. Advertisements will also appear on 19 major French magazines, and broadcast by the leading four television channels. A total of 1,2 trillion Turkish Liras were reserved for the campaign.

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION FAIR STARTS TOMORROW
The 17th International Education and Schools Fair, organised by Penajans will be held between April 28th and 30 at Istanbul's Divan Hotel. The fair, to take palce with the participation of many foreign schools and universities, will serve the visiting students with comprehensive information on education opoprtunities abroad and the educational systems of the participating countries.

LIMITED SUPPORT TO ENERGY SECTOR
The Treasury,the State Planning Institution (DPT), and the Ministry of Energy prepared a report pertaining to the energy sector. The report foresees maximum limitations to ''build-operate-transfer'' projects for electricity production waiting on the line. According to the report, only three or four projects of the total 18, which are at the stage of financing, will receive a financing guarantee from the Treasury.

YENI BINYIL (LIBERAL)

THE WORLD STILL WATCHES HIM
Naim Suleymanoglu appeared for the first time in an international championship after four years. Suleymanoglu of Turkey took two bronze medals in the 62 kg category at the 79th European Men's Weight-Lifting Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

World and Olympic Champion Naim Suleymanoglu who gave up attanding championships and tournaments for four years lifted 140 kg for snatch and won the bronze medal.

In the clean and jerk stage, Suleymanoglu lifted 170 kg and ranked fourth.

ONAL: THE WAY TO EU IS IN INFRASTRUCTURE
Recep Onal, Minister of State, pointed out that infrastructure investments will form the basis of economic stability and level of welfare which Turkey should provide on the way to the European Union (EU).

DYP WILL NOT CAST VOTE FOR SEZER IN THE FIRST ROUND
Turan Guven, Acting Group Chairman of True Path Party (DYP), said they would not cast vote for Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Chairman of Constitutional Court, in the first round, although five leaders agreed on the candidacy of him. Guven said they were suspicious over the sincerity of the coalition partners in this respect, and noted that they will be cautious this time.

TURKIYE (RIGHT)

PARLIAMENT TO VOTE TO ELECT ITS 10TH PRESIDENT
Chairmanship Council approved 11 candidates. There will be condition for 367 votes in the second round of voting that will take place on May 1. In the third round, which will take place in May 5, 276 votes would be adequate. Later, the fourth round will start where two candidates, who got the highest number of votes, will compete. In the voting which will take place on May 9, 276 votes would be required.

YILMAZ: I WILL VOTE FOR NECDET SEZER
Mesut Yilmaz, leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP), stressed that he did not meet insistence or pressure in candidacy of Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Chairman of Constitutional Court. Yilmaz said, ''I will willingly cast my vote for Sezer.''

ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

FIRST ROUND INDICATION
Efforts will be underway to determine the tendencies for ''Ahmet Necdet Sezer compromise,'' whom the leaders agreed on as candidate for presidency. The result is expected to be obtained in the following rounds. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit is influential on Democratic Left Party (DSP), so no problem is expected from them. Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) decided to abide by the agreement. However, problems erupted when several parliamentarians tried to prevent Somuncuoglu's candidacy. In the Motherland Party (ANAP), those who thought of Mesut Yilmaz's candidacy, are reacting. However, they are not influential against Yilmaz's sincere support. Virtue Party (FP), faciliatated the government to reach a compromise. They suprised everybody with the support they extended to the Chairman of Constitutional Court who banned Welfare Party (RP). Tansu Ciller, leader of the True Path Party (DYP), is pleased as she formed her policy on preventing Yilmaz.

MHP ADMINISTRATION ACCUSES SOMUNCUOGLU
Sadi Somuncuoglu, who denounced for the attacts against him in the parliament, defined the attacks as ''tyrance.'' Somuncuoglu said the attack was toward him, to the Parliament, and to the democratic regime. Yahnici and Cetin, MHP administrators, defined the attack as the provocation of Somuncuoglu. Both of the administrators saw Somuncuoglu's candidacy as the ''candidacy of an independent parliamentarian,'' and wanted him to resign.

SAKIK TO BE TRIED
Semdin Sakik, the so-called leading member of the terrorist organization PKK, will appear in the Diyarbakir State Security Court (DGM) on April 28, 2000.

The dossier regarding Sakik, who was earlier sentenced to capital punishment by the Diyarbakir DGM, will appear in the DGM once more since he submitted a petition saying that he wants to benefit from the Repentance Law.

Since Sakik submitted a petition to the DGM Chief Prosecutor's Office, the dossier regarding his capital punishment which was upheld by the Supreme Court, was not sent to the Justice Ministry to be submitted to the parliament.

[03] THREAD EXPORTS FROM GAP REGION

GAZIANTEP - Threads worth 32 million 623 thousand dollars were exported from the South East Anatolia Project (GAP) Region in the first three months of the year 2000, with a decrease by 26,2 percent as compared to the same period of the previous year, a Union of South East Anatolian Exporters statement said.

According to the data given by the Union, the share of cotton trade exports in the total exports had been 31,7 in 1999 in the first three months of the year. This year, this rate was 24,3.

Among the major importers of cotton and sythetic threads of the GAP region are Syria, Saudi Arabia, Belgium, Italy, Jordan, Spain, the United States, Israel, Portugal, Germany, Britain, Romania, France, and Greece.

[04] RAWKINS, FITC-IBCA TURKEY ANALYST, SAYS THEY WILL UPGRADE TURKEY'S CREDIT NOTE SOON

LONDON/ANKARA - Paul Rawkins, Turkey analyst of Fitch-IBCA, a rating organization, said on Thursday that they would upgrade Turkey's credit note soon.

Responding to the questions of A.A correspondent, Rawkins said they took Turkey under ''Positive Outlook'' for a possible increase in Turkey's credit note, and noted that Turkey's credit rating, which is currently B(+), will be upgraded soon.

Rawkins said ''Positive Outlook'' reflects Turkey's improvement on the way to structural reforms and macro-economic stability and Turkey's economic strength against the tests like the quake and Russian financial crisis.

Paul Rawkins said inflation problem continued due to fiscal deficits, yet noted that Turkey implemented anti-inflationist program in a determined way. He said results pertaining to the first quarter of this year is encouraging due to the measures that were taken.

Neil Wigan, one of the Turkey experts of Fitch-IBCA, reiterated that Turkey's rating note will be upgraded soon, and noted that agreement of the government and other leaders on a joint candidate was an important test due to credibility of Turkey and implementation of economy program.

Wigan said consensus on president candidate was a positive indication that government will continue and that it will take required economic measures.

Fitch-IBCA is expected to upgrade Turkey's rating note to''BB(-)''

Fitch-IBCA united with Duff and Phelps (DCR) and became the third biggest rating organization.

[05] GONUL SARAY ALPHAN RESIGNS FROM CANDIDACY

ANKARA - Gonul Saray Alphan, Amasya deputy from the Democratic Left Party (DSP) resigned from candidacy on Thursday.

Alphan noted that the DSP culture does not obstruct candidacy of deputies as long as it is done in a democratic manner. She said she had announced her candidacy with her free will and now she is resigning from candidacy again with her free will.

[06] IMF'S EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS MEETING TO BE HELD ON FRIDAY

ANKARA - During the IMF's Executive Directors Meeting which will take place in Washington, D.C. on Friday, the attendees will discuss the developments in Turkish economy since December 1999 and the Addendum Letter of Intent of Turkey which is formed by 13 articles.

The meeting which was earlier scheduled for April 26 was postponed to April 28 since Turkey could not finish some of implementations in time.

Turkey fulfilled some of its commitments which were on the main letter of intent of 65 articles signed with the IMF in December 1999.

Among the commitments Turkey fulfilled, there are elections of Banking Regulations and Inspection Council's members, Petrol Ofisi A.S. (POAS) and GSM tenders, decision over Turk Telekom's privatization, elimination of some funds which are out of the budget and changing the payment period of temporary tax from 6 months to 3 months.

There are also activities which Turkey failed to perform due to the developments in domestic politics.

Following are Turkey's commitments which were not fulfilled: The law draft regarding restructuring of Agriculture Sales Cooperatives and Unions (it mainly concerns the World Bank), elimination of seven funds out of the budget in the first three months of the year, legal regulations regarding public banks and individual retirees funds.

It was also stated that it will be difficult for Turkey to convince the IMF since the premium increases of the Social Security Authority (SSK) and Directorate General of Social Security for Self-Employed Workers (Bag-Kur) was implemented as 25 percent instead of 60 percent.

During the meeting, the IMF will announce the activities which Turkey failed to fulfill.

It was said that this situation will not negatively affect the Stand-By Agreement between Turkey and IMF; however, it could cause negative impressions about Turkey in the international markets.

[07] TURKEY IS BELGIANS' FIRST PREFERENCE TO SPEND SUMMER VACATION

BRUSSELS - Belgian Tourism Ministry announced that Turkey is the first preference of Belgian people who will spend their summer holidays abroad this summer.

According to the Ministry's data, 1,1 million Belgians will spend their summer vacations abroad this summer. This is 10 percent more compared to last year.

Last year, the number of Belgian tourists who visited Turkey dropped by 30 percent compared to the year before. However, the Belgian Tourism Ministry stated that a 77 percent increase is expected this year, making Turkey the first preference of Belgian tourists this summer.

Egypt comes after Turkey for Belgian tourists. Belgians who are going to Egypt are expected to show a 59 percent increase this year.

Belgians are also showing interest for Far Eastern countries. On the other hand, Belgians are losing interest in Spain and Austria.

[08] CHADIAN PRESIDENT DEBY ARRIVES IN TURKEY

ANKARA - Chadian President Idriss Deby arrived in Turkey on Thursday as the official guest of President Suleyman Demirel.

State Minister Ramazan Mirzaoglu welcomed the Chadian President and the accompanying delegation at Esenboga Airport of Ankara.

Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Ahmad Lamine Ali, the Minister of Economic Development and Promotion and Elie Roumba, the Minister of Economic and Fiscal Adviser to the President and other officials accompany Chadian President Deby.

During Deby's contacts, political, economic, commercial and cultural relations between the two countries are expected to be taken up within the framework of Turkey's opening policy to Africa.

Regional and international issues which concern the two countries will also be discussed.

Chadian President Deby will proceed to Istanbul after wrapping up his contacts in Ankara and he will visit historical and touristic places and meet with private sector representatives.

The visit of Idriss Deby is the first one paid to Turkey from Chad at the presidenital level.

Idriss was elected to presidential office twice since 1991.

[09] SIX COUNTRIES ON BLACK SEA COAST COME TOGETHER AT BLACK SEA AND DANUBE RIVER COMMISSION MEETING

ISTANBUL - In the framework of the Bucharest Agreement, members of the Black Sea and Danube River Commission came together at Dolmabahce Palace to sign the ''Center Agreement'' on Thursday.

Black Sea and Danube Commission is the executive organ of the Agreement to Protect the Black Sea Against Pollution. Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania and Georgia are represented at the meeting.

Ambassador Fugen Ok, head of the related Commission of the Turkish Foreign Ministry noted that six countries around the Black Sea signed the Bucharest Agreement to Protect the Black Sea Against Pollution in 1992 to cooperate in the region.

Despite the eight years that passed after the signing of the agreement, the Bucharest Agreement is still not implemented, Ok noted and said this was because the six countries could not yet form a permanent secretariat.

Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania are very willing to form the secretariat, she said but added that this was not possible due to the domestic developments that took place in the Russian Federation.

''The delegates who came from the Russian Federation did not have the authority to sign an agreement. But still other countries and finance institutions agree over forming a secretariat. We will sign the Center Agreement, Privilege and Exemption Agreements today and tomorrow,'' she explained.

They are planning to open the secretariat in Istanbul, but if this is opposed, then the technical department of the secretariat could be set up in Russia, she noted.

Ok said because the Center Agreement was not signed earlier, finance institutions had been cautious, therefore there was a shortage of financial resource for the required projects.

She noted that they will also review the environmental project of 70 million U.S. dollars which will be presented to the Global Environment Fund in November.

After the commission meeting which will end on Friday, Turkey will hand over the term chairmanship to Ukraine.

[10] FIFTH-IBCA UPGRADES TURKEY'S LONG-TERM FOREIGN CURRENCY RATING FROM B+ TO BB-

LONDON/ANKARA - Fitch-IBCA, one of the credit rating institutions, upgraded on Thursday the long-term foreign currency rating of Turkey from ''B+'' to ''BB-''.
Fitch-IBCA stressed that ''the Turkish government has already achieved more in two years than its predecessors did in two decades.'' Fitch-IBCA also said ''the long term foreign currency rating is now taken off RatingAlert Positive.''

The short-term foreign currency rating of ''B'' is unchanged. The rating institution Fitch-IBCA gave BB to Turkey in local currency rating for the first time.

Fitch-IBCA also upgraded the credit marks of Yapı ve Kredi Bank, Osmanlı Bank, Is Bank, T.C. Ziraat Bank and Kentbank from ''B(+)'' to ''BB(-)''.

[11] FIRST ROUND OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION STARTS

ANKARA - The first round of the presidential election started in the parliament on Thursday.

The parliamentary general council convened at 15.00 local time under the leadership of Acting Parliament Speaker Nejat Arseven.

Recai Kutan, the Virtue Party (FP) leader was the first leader who came to the parliament.

The names of the 13 candidates have been announced firstly and later it was said that three candidates resigned from candidacy.

Aydın Menderes, an independent deputy said before the voting that Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the presidential candidate should resign from his post as the Chairman of the Constitutional Court. Arseven didn't accept the objection of Menderes.

Deputies started to cast their votes in the first round in alphabetic order.

Acting Parliament Speaker Arseven said that deputies should abide by the ''secrecy'' principle as foreseen under the Constitution.

[12] CHADIAN PRESIDENT DEBY IN ANKARA

ANKARA - President Suleyman Demirel said on Thursday that the visit of the Chadian President Idris Deby to Turkey was a reflection of the common will of Turkey and Chad to develop bilateral relations.

An official ceremony was held at the Presidential Palace to welcome Deby on Thursday.

Demirel, in a speech, said important developments are taking place in Africa and Turkey and Chad were searching for new opportunities in their bilateral relations.

''I am glad to see that Chad is following a stable and peace supportive path. Mr. Deby and I will have the opportunity to exchange opinion about bilateral relations, regional and international matters,'' Demirel said. He also noted that during their contacts they will search for ways to make the best use of the potential between Turkey and Chad. ''Mr. Deby's visit will be the beginning of a new coopearation between our countries,'' he added.

Idris Deby who also spoke after the ceremony said ''he was glad to be in the country of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk'' and added that he was proud to be Turkey's friend.

International relations are going through important transformations recently, Deby said and noted that Turkey and Chad have to strengthen friendly relations.

Both Turkey and Chad are members of the United Nations and Islamic Conference, he also said.

''We are following the peace road because only then we can provide comfort for our people,'' Deby said.

[13] FIFTH-IBCA UPGRADES TURKEY'S LONG-TERM FOREIGN CURRENCY RATING FROM B+ TO BB- (2)

LONDON/ANKARA - Fifth-IBCA one of the credit rating agencies which is based in London, said on Thursday that the upgrade in Turkey's rating reflected both the success of the reform and stabilization programme undertaken by the current government in Turkey.

Fifth-IBCA noted that ''Turkey's success in weathering the turmoil of 1997- 1999, which saw many of its peers downgraded'' was another factor which led to the increase in her credit mark.

The institution also warned that were the stabilization programme to fail, the costs could be punitive. ''Turkey would risk a repetition of 1994, which saw a balance of payment crisis, rapid devaluation, sharp recession and serious problems for private firms, domestic banks and public finances, as well as destroying the credibility of Turkish policy makers,'' Fitch IBCA said in a statement.

''The IMF programme includes detailed quarterly performance criteria for structural reform, supporting the momentum of reform,'' it noted.

Turkey reached the chance of overcoming its chronic macro-economic instability, particularly its persistently high inflation, the agency said. ''A combination of a crawling exchange rate and prices and incomes policy should break inflation expectations and overcome the backward indexation prevalent in Turkey,'' it was noted.

Fiscal transparency improved and privatization finally looks likely to deliver, with the auction of a third mobile licence, it was added.

''The key risks to the programme are political instability, slow growth, the fragile banking system and pressure on the exchange rate regime. All these risks can be overcome,'' the agency added.

[14] PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION - NO RESULT TAKEN IN FIRST ROUND

ANKARA - None of the presidential candidates won 367 votes which was two- third majority of the total number of seats in the parliament to be elected in the first round on Thursday.

Ahmet Necdet Sezer had the highest number of votes with 281 votes.

A total of 530 deputies participated in the first round.

Ten votes were invalid.

The distribution of votes among candidates is as follows:

Yıldırım Akbulut : 56

Oguz Aygun : 4

Mail Buyukerman : 3

Agah Oktay Guner : 5

Dogan Gures : 35

Ahmet Iyimaya : 10

Ahmet Necdet Sezer : 281

Sadi Somuncuoglu : 58

Nevzat Yalcıntas : 61

Rasim Zaimoglu : 7

[15] TURKEY-U.S. HIGH RANKING DEFENSE GROUP MEETINGS START

WASHINGTON D.C. - The high-ranking defense group meetings which are held regularly every year between Turkey and the U.S. started in Washington D.C. on Thursday.

General Edip Baser, the Deputy Chief of General Staff presides the Turkish delegation and Frank Kramer, the American Deputy Secretary of Defense presides the American delegation in the meetings.

Both regional problems, issues such as the European Security and Defense Initiative (ESDI) and also bilateral defense relations will be taken up in the meetings.

General Baser will also meet with the U.S. Deputy Chief of General Staff General Richard Myers.

[16] SEZER SAYS RESULT OF 1ST TOUR VOTING IS APPRECIATION OF PARLIAMENT

ANKARA - Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Constitutional Court Chairman, said that result of first tour voting for the presidential election is the appreciation of the parliament.

Sezer, who obtained the highest number of votes, watched the voting from television at his home.

Responding to the questions of journalists by telephone, Sezer evaluated the result as the appreciation of the parliament.

When his opinion was asked about the votes of other candidates, Sezer refrained to make any comment.

Sezer also said he had no estimation about the result before the first tour voting.

Responding to a question if he would withdraw, Sezer said ''no''.

[17] PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION - PREMIER ECEVIT:''WE'LL MAKE AN EVALUATION TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS''

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Thursday that he will evaluate the first round of the presidential election together with the acting group leaders of his party.

Upon questions of journalists, Ecevit said that ''I can make a statement if necessary after that meeting.''

Devlet Bahceli, the Deputy Prime Minister and the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) evaluated the first round with his party members.

Mesut Yılmaz, the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP) left the parliamentary general council before the result of the election was announced. Upon questions of journalists, Yılmaz only said that Ahmet Necdet Sezer received 281 votes.

Omer Izgi, the MHP acting group leader said in his part that ''Mr. Sezer can be elected in the second round.''

[18] NO CANDIDATES GET MINIMUM NUMBER OF VOTES REQUIRED TO BECOME PRESIDENT IN FIRST ROUND OF VOTING

ANKARA - None of the president candidates won the 367 votes which is the minimum number required to become a president, during the first round of presidential elections on Thursday.

Out of the 530 deputies who participated in the voting, 281 of them voted for Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Chairman of the Constitutional Court. There were eight invalid and two empty votes. Apart from Parliament Speaker Yildirim Akbulut, Acting Chairman Nejat Arseven and Virtue Party (FP) deputy Merve Kavakci whose legal status is not clear, 12 other deputies did not participate in the voting.

Ahmet Necdet Sezer who was a candidate outside the Parliament got the highest number of votes. He was followed by the FP deputy Nevzat Yalcintas who got 61 votes. State Minister Sadi Somuncuoglu whose candidacy was tried to be blocked by the Nationalist Movement Party got 58 votes, and 56 deputies voted for Yildirim Akbulut, and 35 deputies voted for Dogan Gures from True Path Party (DYP), and five deputies voted for Agah Oktay Guner from the Motherland Party (ANAP), and four deputies voted for Oguz Aygun from the Democratic Left Party (DSP). Mahir Buyukerman from the DSP got only three votes.

The second round of voting will take place on May 1, Monday. If no candidates receive the required number of votes in the second round; that is, two-third of votes as it is in the first round, there will be a third round on May 5, Friday. In the third round, simple majority which is 276 votes is required.

[19] PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS - PREMIER ECEVIT: ''IT'S OBVIOUS RIGHT NOW THAT THE RESULT WILL BE GOOD FOR SEZER''

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Thursday that he is very optimistic after the result of the first round of the presidential elections.

''It is obvious right now that the result will be good for Sezer,'' Ecevit told reporters.

Ecevit had an evaluation meeting with DSP group acting leaders Aydın Tumen and Emrehan Halıcı and State Minister Husamettin Ozkan after the secret ballot held in the parliament.

Ecevit told reporters after the meeting that they had a preliminary evaluation, adding he expected the distribution of votes among candidates in the first round and the result was actually the one he expected.

''It is clear that DSP has taken a good result in such a test,'' Ecevit noted.

''Were you expecting this number of votes?'' asked reporters to Ecevit who said that ''I am optimistic about the result.''

''Will you meet with the leaders again?'' asked journalists to Ecevit who said that ''I don't think that there is a need for that at this stage. But if it is necessary, we can hold a meeting.''

Ecevit added that he didn't meet with Sezer after the secret ballot in the first round.

[20] ANAP LEADER YILMAZ: ''PRESIDENT WILL BE ELECTED IN THE SECOND ROUND''

ANKARA - Mesut Yilmaz, the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP), said on Thursday that the president will be elected in the second round of voting.

Responding to the questions of the journalists, Yilmaz said, ''the parliament put forward its will. Now, the other candidates should withdraw from the presidential elections.''

[21] A.A


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