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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 01-02-14

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From: The Anadolu Agency Home Page at <>

Anadolu Agency




2001 Wednesday




    These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on February 14, 2000. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.


    A meeting on information technologies was held by the Swedish Embassy, Swedish Consulate and Turkey Information Technologies Foundation in Istanbul's Lutfi Kurdar Congress Hall yesterday. Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz who also attended the meeting said the number of internet users in Turkey increased by 74 percent in one year. Parliament Information and Information Technologies group Chairman Prof. Ziya Aktas indicated that economies were not only based on capital and work power and added that information and adjustment were also as important for the societies. Aktas said he has been working for three years in Parliament to raise awareness on information technologies.

    Armenian President Robert Kocaryan visited Paris after the French Parliament passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide. French President Jacques Chirac hosted an invitation to Kocaryan's honour at Elysee Palace. Chirac tried to use the word ''massacre'' instead of ''genocide'' during Kocaryan's visit but he expressed support to the genocide law. Kocaryan is expected to leave France on Friday.


    After Turkcell and Telsim, Aria has become Turkey's third GSM operator. Aria will serve its customers through ''0-555'' and offer them the latest technological novelties. Aria is owned by Is-Tim, Telekom Italia MObile and Is Bankasi. Is-Tim General Director Guiseppe Farina said they would offer lower rates to their customers compared to the other two GSM operators in Turkey. He said they would start giving service immediately after obtaining a permission from the Transportation Ministry.

    IMF asked the government to keep the wage increase in collective bargaining agreements low and asked if Turkey has the resource to meet the demands of the real sector. The IMF delegation yesterday had a meeting with Turkey Employers Unions Confederation General Secretary Bulent Pirler. Cottarelli said the wage increase in collective bargaining agreements was too high in 2000 and said that the increase should be kept lower in 2001.


    Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit is expected make important statements in his party group meeting today. Ecevit is also expected to show ways of solution to the real sector which has been experıencıng dıffıculty recently.

    The government's support policies to the real sector and action plan will take place in Ecevit's statements.

    Treasury plans to raise between 2.9-3.2 quadrillion Turkish lira (TL) through bond auctions on February 13.

    Treasury Undersecretariat said that the limits for the 12-month (365-day) bond and 7-month (210-day) bond auctions on February 20 would be 2.9-3.2 quadrillion TL.


    Turkey said it would improve political, economic and security relations with Iran led by reformist Mohammad Khatami.

    Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said positive political relations between the two countries should be reflected to the field of economy.

    The name of the new GSM operator in Turkey was announced as ''Aria'' on Tuesday. The Is-TIM Telekomunikasyon Hizmetleri A.S., the joint venture of the Is Bankasi and Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), will operate at ''0555'' regional code.

    Aria will first give service in Ankara and Izmir. No time was given regarding the time when the network would take action.


    The threat of drought grows up. Even the forests began to dry. The dams in the southeastern Anatolia region, which are as if the hearts of the enrgy production, came to the stage of halt because of lack of water. There is no water in dams in the Aegean.

    Meanwhile, Recep Yilmaz, the deputy Director General of the Meteorology, pointed out that they expected precipitation in the next few days, adding that, ''we estimate that there will be precipitation till May. I am hopeful.''

    Turkey's Armenians Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan held high level contacts in Ankara on Tuesday and met with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Parliament Speaker Omer Izgi, and Gen. Huseyin Kivrikoglu, the Chief of General Staff.

    Referring to the claims of genocide, Mutafyan said that ''the interests of Turkey's Armenians are similiar with the interests of the Turkish Republic.''

    Ankara and the parliament is the place where the problems of Turkey's Armenians will be discussed, Mutafyan said, adding that they are uneasy about decisions of foreign countries' parliaments about them.


    A Turkish foreign trade delegation, led by the State Minister Tunca Toskay, started contacts in the Republic of South Africa.

    State Minister Tunca Toskay said that Turkey focused chiefly on its neighbours last year in its export strategy and added that this year, it would target Gulf countries and the Republic of South Africa.

    Toskay said 1,000 Turkish businessmen participated in the trade delegation program run by the Foreign Trade Undersecretariat to 27 countries. Following the programme, Turkey's export increased significantly, he pointed out. Export's regional and sectoral dependency are the two strategic problems of the Turkish export, Toskay explained and added that Turkey should focus on other countries in order not to be dependent on countries only in its region.

    A delegation from the International rating organization Moody's arrived in Ankara on Tuesday to examine Turkish banking sector. The delegation is expected to meet with the officials of Banking Regulatory and Supervisory Board (BRSB), Central Bank, Turkish Banking Union, and Treasury Undersecretariat.

    The Moody's team, currently in Turkey to make examinations, has nothing to do with Turkey's rating note.


    The government which has been looking for a solution is now facing a much more difficult situation because of drought. Neither the World Bank nor IMF will be able to save the economy if it doesn't rain in the next two months. The drought might also have a negative effect on the industry. Due to the low level of water in the dams, there might be low voltage or power shortages in factories.

    LONDON - Prof. Nevzat Yalcintas from the Virtue Party (FP), and retired ambassador Sukru Elekdag, in a meeting held in House of Lords in Britain, responded to the claims of so-called genocide on Armenians.

    Korkmaz Haktanir, Turkey's Ambassador to Britain, and many British parliamentarians, businessmen, journalists and academicians attended the meeting which was jointly staged by Lord Ahmed, the Moslem member of the House of Lords, and Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association (MUSIAD) branch in Britain.

    Keith Vaz, British Deputy Foreign Secretary responsible for European Affairs, was the honorary guest at the meeting. Vaz is the only member of the British cabinet of Asian origin.

    Lord Ahmed, who addressed the opening of the meeting, said claims of so- called genocide on Armenians were ''saddening and curious,'' and evaluated the allegations as ''efforts to distort history.''

    Prof Numan Kurtulus, the Virtue Party (FP) Istanbul Provincal Chairman, said the allegations were not the problems of the politics and politicians, adding that the final decision on the issue should be left to the history and impartial researches of the historians.

    Yalcintas, the FP parliamentarian, who addressed the meeting, recalled that Turks did not commit genocide throughout their history, adding that the tragic incident that had occurred in 1915 stemmed from the attacks of the Armenian gangs, which had appeared in Eastern Anatolia at those times, to the Turkish soldiers and civilians. Yalcintas said those gangs cooperated with the Russian units which wanted to enter to Anatolia, noting that the Ottoman government of the time made the Armenians deport to Syria and Lebanon to prevent chaos and initiatives of revenge.

    Yalcintas said it would be clearly seen that no genocide was committed when population of Armenians living in the Ottoman territories before and after the war were taken into consideration. Yalcintas said Armenians were priviliged citizens living comfortably in the Ottoman territories.

    Pointing out that Armenians worked in high ranking posts of the state, and stressed that decision of the French parliament to recognize so-called genocide on the Armenians was ''groundless.''

    Yalcintas recalled that Armenian terrorists, who tried to get concessions from Turkey with the claims of so-called genocide, martyred 32 Turkish diplomats till 1984. ''The slanders, which are made unjustly, give damages to Turkey. Armenia is the country which is mostly affected by this. Relations with this country can not be improved.''

    Sukru Elekdag, the retired Ambassador, who also addressed the meeting, recalled that the Ottoman government, which was defeated following the Sevres Treaty, handed its 144 high level officials to be tried on charges that they committed genocide on the Armenians.

    Pointing out that those people were sent to Malta island to be tried and imprisoned there, Elekdag said the arrests in question were made by basing on the accusations of the Armenians living in the region. Elekdag said the Ottoman archieves were examined claiming that it would provide evidence, and noted that no evidence could be found during the researches. He said those who were sent to Malta were released after 2 years 4 months imprisonment.

    Elekdag said following these developments, a government official booklet was published in 1916 in Britain including baseless claims that genocide was committed on the Armenians, and asked, ''if those claims were true, why did those who had ben sent to Malta, were not found guilty?''

    Elekdag said the context of the book was formed by false documents and sources that can not be trusted.

    Elekdag recalled that the publishing of the British government was fully based on false documents and expressions, and that the U.S. historian Justin McCarty proved that this was written by the British as a propaganda of war.

    Elekdag said the century old blue covered state publication, which the British called the ''Blue Book,'' formed the reason of many difficulties experienced today, adding that, ''this book still continues to cause hatred again the Turkish people and Turkey. I think the British government and the British parliament owes an apology to Turkish people because of the false publications and false documents which was not accepted as evidence at court.''

    Keith Vaz, the deputy foreign secretary of Britain responsible for European affairs, who also addressed the meeting, stressed the importance of Turkey for Britain. Vaz said the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Robin Cook extended support to Turkey's full membership to the European Union (EU), adding that they wanted to see Turkey as the member of the EU soon.

    ANKARA - The sixth term meeting of the Turkish-Dutch Joint Economy and Technology Commission will be held in Ankara on Thursday.

    Releasing a written statement on Wednesday, Foreign Trade Undersecretariat said that Abdullah Koten, the deputy foreign trade undersecretary, will chair the Turkish delegation, and D.J. Bruinsma, the general director of the foreign economic relations department of the Dutch Economic Affairs Ministry, will chair the Dutch delegation in the meetings.

    The delegations will exchange views on the current developments in the economies of both coutries, and assess the current commercial relations between the two countries, and discuss the measures that will be taken to increase the trade between the two countries in a balanced way.

    In the meeting, the relations of Turkey and the European Union (EU) will be discussed and the Turkish delegation would request the support of the Netherlands about the problems that arose in the relations with the EU.

    The Turkish and Dutch delegations will also exchange views on privatization process in Turkey, Southeast Anatolia Project (GAP), energy, financial cooperation, construction and counselling services, agriculture, customs, standardization, medium and small scale enterprises, health, maritime transportation, and scientific cooperation.

    The chairmen of the delegations are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding which will include the outcomes of the meeting.

    The exports of Turkey to the Netherlands increased 4.9 percent to 932 million U.S. dollars in 1999 when compared to previous year, and the imports from the Netherlands decreased 9 percent to 1.3 billion U.S. dollars in the same period.

    Turkey exported products worth of 790 million U.S. dollars to the Netherlands and imported products worth of 1.5 billion U.S. dollars from the Netherlands between January and November of 2000.

    ANKARA - Eight of the foreign investment funds, that are offered to public since the end of 1999, pleased their investors. Five of the funds caused their investors to suffer loss.

    According to Capital Market Board (SPK) data, Alliance International Health Care Fund A provided the most income with 27.3 percent among the foreign investment funds in the year 2000.

    The B type of the same fund followed the fund in question with 26.2 percent income. American Income Portfolio (A) provided 8.2 percent income.

    Citicelect Asia Tilt 500 Enhanced Growth Fund made its investors to suffer a great loss last year with 23.1 percent.

    American Growth Portfolio (B) was the second with 17.7 percent loss, and Citiselect Asia Tilt 400 Growth Fund caused loss with 17.5 percent.

    Meanwhile, Global Bonds Fund, among the other funds in question, brought the highest income in December with 4.46 percent.

    The incomes which the foreign funds brought in December and throughout the year 2000 are as follows:

    December 2000

    Name of Fund (Percent) Annual

    ---------------------------------------- -------- ----------
    1-American Growth Portfolio (A) 0.3 -16.9

    2-American Growth Portfolio (B) 0.2 -17.7

    3-Alliance International Healt Care Fund (A) 2.7 27.3

    4-Alliance International Healt Care Fund (B) 2.7 26.2

    5-American Income Portfolio (A) 3.1 8.2

    6-American Income Portfolio (B) 3.1 7.5

    7-Short Matturity Dollar Portfolio (A) 0.5 4.5

    8-Short Matturity Dollar Portfolio (B) 0.4 4.1

    9-Money Manager 1 0.53 5.6

    10-Money Manager 2 0.53 5.58

    11-Citicelect Asia Tilt 300 Balanced 0.38 -9.71

    12-Citicelect Asia Tilt 400 Growth 0.08 -17.51

    13-Citiselect Asia Tilt 500 Growth -0.36 -23.15

    14-USD Long Term Bonds 1.91

    15-Global Bonds Euro -1.93

    16-Global Bonds USD 4.46

    17-Global Balanced 1.11

    18-World Equities -0.36

    19-European Equities Euro -0.61

    20-US Large Company Equities -3.83

    Note: The funds after the 14th row are not included in annual evaluation as their sale in Turkey was realized after February 28.

    ISTANBUL - The Ottoman Archieves, which is reported to have nearly 150 million documents that will shed light to many historical and regional events, will be microfilmed and transferred to digital environment in order to be taken under protection and facilitate the usage of the archieves.

    The Prime Ministry State Archieves General Directorate Ottoman Archieves Department Chairmanship last year put out to tender the ''Project for Microfilming Archieve Materials and its Tranfer to the Digital Environment Project.''

    ''Bordo Dokuman Sistemleri Trade and Industry Corp.,'' won the tender.

    Mehmet Tekin Haseki, the director general of the company, told A.A correspondent that legal proceedings of the tender were completed, noting that installment of the equipments started.

    Haseki said the documents would be classified and microfilmed before being transferred to digital environment.

    Pointing out that the archieves were compared with the British and French state archieves, Haseki said, ''we will be able to archieve the documents in a similar way with such archieves, which can be considered as unique in the world, without giving any damage to the documents and by using the latest facilities of the technology.''

    Stressing that only 10 percent of the documents in the Ottoman Archieves was classfied, Haseki said, ''we will complete the works and put them to the service of the researchers by considering the sensitivity of the documents which have not seen daylight for centuries.''

    Haseki said the archieving process would be carried out by experts, adding that, ''our works will be speeded up as we classify the documents. Our main target is not to give damage to the original works. Microfilming is the best method in the word to prevent any damage.''

    ''We hope to start activities fully by the end of March. This work needs years, however we made a good start,'' he noted.

    ANKARA - Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian President, will visit Ankara on Wednesday afternoon.

    Foreign Ministry officials said Arafat will visit Ankara to discuss the latest situation in the peace process after Ariel Sharon won the elections in Israel.

    Arafat will meet with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and receive Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

    Arafat is expected to depart from Ankara on Thursday morning after completing his contacts.

    ANKARA - Foreign Minister Paskal Milo of Albania who is currently in Turkey on an official visit, met on Wednesday with Foreign Minister Ismail Cem.

    Following tete-a-tete meeting between the two foreign ministers, the interdelegationary meetings started.

    Addressing journalists prior to the interdelegationary meetings, Cem stressed that Turkey and Albania were close friends.

    ''Sound relation between Turkey and Albania is a guarantee of security and economic stability in the Balkans,'' he noted.

    Stressing that two main topics would be discussed at the meetings, Cem told reporters, ''one of these topics is Albania's taking over term presidency of Southeast European Security Process. And the other topic is common problems in the Balkans.''

    Meanwhile, Albanian Foreign Minister Milo described relations between Turkey and Albania as ''perfect'', and noted that further improvement of these relations would be taken up at the meetings.

    Milo added that his visit would make an important contribution to President Ahmet Necdet Sezer's visit to Albania and Albanian Prime Minister's visit to Turkey in coming days.

    ANKARA - President Ahmet Necdet Sezer received on Wednesday

    Ivars Pundurs, the Latvian Ambassador to Turkey.

    At the meeting, Pundurs submitted his letter of credentials to President Sezer.

    Sencar Ozsoy, the Deputy Undersecretary of Foreign Ministry, was also in attendance at the meeting.

    MOSCOW - Draft resolution on so-called genocide on Armenians which was submitted to the State Duma, the lower house of Russian parliament, by Aleksy Mitrofanov, a deputy from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), was withdrawn on Wednesday.

    Sources told the A.A correspondent that Turkish Embassy in Moscow launched a series of initiatives after the draft resolution had been taken to the agenda of the General Assembly.

    Mitrofanov withdrew his draft resolution on Wednesday morning to carry out more detalied works on it.

    He said that the draft resolution would be brought onto agenda in future.

    The State Duma approved a resolution in 1995 recognizing so-called genocide on Armenians.

    The State Duma's structure has completely changed following the elections in 1999. Opposition communist and extreme nationalists circles were dominant over the State Duma ideologically. Following the elections, the State Duma became more productive.

    Mitrofanov is the key person in preparation of a number of resolutions approved by the State Duma in favor of terrorist organization PKK.

    ANKARA - Dog Fish-2001 Manoeuvres, one of the concerted military exercises of the NATO, will start in Ionian sea which is in eastern part of the Sicily island, on Thursday. The manoeuvres will end on February 28.

    Naval Forces Commandership General Secretariat issued a statement and said NATO Southern Europe Submarine Forces Commander (COMSUBSOUTH), responsible for the Mediterranean, will conduct the military exercise on behalf of NATO South Europe Allied Naval Forces Commander (COMNAVSOUTH).

    Turkey, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Britain, the U.S. and a total of seven submarines, nine ships and seventeen naval outpost planes will participate in Dog Fish-2001.

    TCG 18 Mart (S-355) submarine from the Turkish Fleet Commandership will participate in the submarine phase of the manoeuvres.

    TCG Gemlik (F-492) frigate from the Turkish Fleet Commandership and NATO Mediterranean Permanent Naval Force will pariticipate in the second phase of the Dog Fish-2001.

    TEHRAN - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Tuesday, ''Turkey and Iran have entered a new era in their political, economic and cultural relations.''

    In a statement to the state-run news agency of Iran IRNA and the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), said that the goal of this visit was to expand bilateral ties.

    Noting that future cooperation between the two countries would be based on solid grounds, Cem stressed, ''Turkey and Iran have entered a new era in their political, economic and cultural relations. Turkey and Iran should assess the sensitivities and issues concerning their relations in this new era and benefit from the new situation.''

    He said that Turkey and Iran were representatives of ancient and great civilizations, adding that it was quite rare in the world that borders between two neighboring countries remain untouched for over 400 years.

    Referring to the ebbs and flows in relations between the two countries, Cem stressed that both Turkish and Iranian officials had always expended efforts to find ways to lift obstacles to expansion of bilateral relations.

    ''We have entered a new era in relations and should think of the future,'' he said.

    Cem said that he had put forward new and important proposals to Iranian officials regarding investments by Turkey in Iran.

    He said, ''Turkey is Iran's gate to Europe and Iran provides the link between Turkey and Central Asian countries and so the two countries can, in fact play a complimentary role.''

    Cem stressed, ''although there are obstacles to Turkey's membership of the EU, many of hindrances have already been lifted. If Turkey joins the European Union (EU), Iran can also take advantage of the fruits of such a membership in EU. Iran as a country with an old civilization occupies an important place in Turkey's strategic goals. Turkey is a European country which enjoys special advantages.''

    Referring to the issue of Palistine, Cem said, ''Turkish government has, on a request by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, intensified its efforts to find a suitable solution to the problem. Al-Aqsa Mosque's Islamic identity should be protected. Turkey has been trying hard to clarify the issue.''

    Cem added that Turkey intended to provide new facilities for those Iranians who intend to visit Turkey or plan to travel to Syria via Turkey.

    ANKARA - Palestinian President Yasser Arafat wants Turkey to maintain its contributions to the Middle East peace process.

    President Arafat called the Foreign Ministry yesterday, and notified that he would come to Turkey on Wednesday.

    The Foreign Ministry immediately arranged the meetings.

    President Arafat will come together with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer following his meeting with Foreign Minister Cem.

    Later, President Arafat will receive Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

    Diplomatic sources said that tension escalated in the Middle East after election of Liquid Party leader Ariel Sharon as the new Israeli Prime Minister and this morning's attack in Tel Aviv, Israel.

    Earlier on Wednesday, a Palestinian rammed a bus into a crowded bus stop south of Tel Aviv, killing eight people and injuring 20 others.

    Sources noted that the latest situation in the Middle East would be assessed during President Arafat's visit to Turkey.

    They said that Palestinian President Arafat wanted Turkey to maintain its contributions to the Middle East peace process.

    Noting that Arafat was willing to resume peace talks, the same sources said that Arafat could not receive a signal from Sharon so far.

    Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Cem said in a statement to Iranian journalists, ''Turkish government has, on a request by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, intensified its efforts to find a suitable solution to the problem.''

    ANKARA - President Ahmet Necdet Sezer will leave for Bulgaria on Thursday to attend the fourth summit meeting of the presidents of Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania.

    The summit meeting in which President Sezer, Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov and Romanian President Ion Iliescu will participate will be held in Plovdiv between February 15-15, 2001.

    President Sezer will also hold bilateral meetings with his Bulgarian counterpart Stoyanov and Romanian counterpart Iliescu.

    Issues related with Southeastern Europe and Black Sea region, struggle against organized crimes and terrorism, energy, transportation proposals, and issues which are important for regional peace and stability are expected to be discussed at this unofficial tripartite summit meeting.

    The first of these tripartite summit meetings was held in Varna, Bulgaria in 1997, the second one was held in Antalya in 1998 and the previous tripartite summit meeting among presidents of these three countries was held in Sinaia, Romania in 1999.

    The tripartite summit meeting which was foreseen to be held in 2000 was postponed due to the presidential elections in Romania.

    ANKARA - President Yasser Arafat of Palestine arrived in Ankara on Wednesday on a one-day working visit.

    Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, Ankara Governor Yahya Gur and Ugur Ziyal, the Deputy Undersecretary of Foreign Ministry, welcomed President Arafat at Ankara's Esenboga Airport.

    Diplomatic sources recalled that President Arafat had paid visits to Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan before he came to Turkey.

    They noted that Arafat was expected to come to Turkey within framework of these visits.

    President Arafat will come together with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer after his meeting with Foreign Minister Cem.

    Later, he will receive Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

    President Arafat is expected to depart from Turkey on Thursday morning.

    STRASBOURG - The European Parliament approved on Wednesday the Frame Regulations Document for Turkey.

    In one respect, the Frame Regulations Document forms the legal ground for the Accession Partnership Accord which was decribed as a ''road map'' in Turkey's full membership to the European Union (EU).

    The document enables all financial assistances to be collected under the same roof.

    The annual financial assistances of 177 million euros which the EU plans to give Turkey in the next five years, became official after approval of the Frame Regulations Document.

    The annual assistance of 177 million euros includes 127 million euros from the Mediterranean Cooperation and Aid Fund (MEDA), 45 million euros from aid to support political and economic development, and 5 million euros from aid to support customs union.

    According to the Frame Regulations Document, majority of votes will be sought to halt financial assistances.

    Meanwhile, the motions for change which were determined within framework of works carried out by Austrian parliamentarian Hannes Swoboda, the Turkey Rapporteur of the European Parliament, were also approved by the European Parliament.

    The motions for change stressed that Turkey should be equally treated with other candidate states, and that Turkey should fully benefit from the EU programs to this end.

    The motions also noted that rooted measures should be taken to lift political obstacles in front of financial cooperation with Turkey and to solve personnel problem of the EU Commission's Turkey Desk.

    The motions approved by the European Parliament's Foreign Relations Commission, emphasized that Turkey should benefit from the EU's funds for environment and infrastructure like other candidate countries.

    The motions said that continuation of financial assistances to Turkey depended on Turkey's fulfilling Copenhagen criteria and its commitments in agreements with the EU, and urged the European Parliament to express its opinion on continuation of those financial assistances to Turkey.

    Kursat Eser, the Co-President of Joint Parliamentary Commission, said that they considered Swoboda's report positive.

    Eser who has been holding contacts in Strasbourg, told A.A corespondent, ''it is an important factor that the European Parliament has confirmed that the same criteria will be implemented to Turkey in financial assistances with other candidate countries.''

    Ismail Bozdag, a deputy of the Democratic Left Party (DSP); Ilhan Akuzum, a deputy of the Motherland Party (ANAP); Ali Tekin, a deputy of the DSP; Sait Deger, a deputy of the True Path Party (DYP); Mehmet Arslan, a deputy of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP); and Remzi Cetin, a deputy of the Virtue Party (FP); are taking part in the parliamentary delegation holding contacts in Strasbourg.

    ANKARA - The Foreign Ministry stated on Wednesday, ''this morning's attack in Tel Aviv, Israel, aroused indignation.''

    Releasing a statement, the Foreign Ministry said that terrorist actions served only targets of enemies of peace.

    The statement noted that all sides were expected to condemn the attack.

    ''Turkey invites Israelis and Palestinians to take measures to prevent escalation of acts of violence and terrorism, to show necessary responsibility for settlement of peace and stability, to assume an attitude against provocations of enemies of peace, and to resume peace talks,'' it stressed.

    Earlier on Wednesday, a Palestinian rammed a bus into a crowded bus stop south of Tel Aviv, killing eight people and injuring 21 others.

    ANKARA - The Secretariat General for the European Union (EU) will organize a series of meetings to give information and exchange opinions on the National Program for the Adoption of Acquis (NPAA).

    Releasing a statement, the Secretariat General for the EU stated on Wednesday that the first meeting will be held on Thursday with members of the Parliamentary Environment Commission.

    At the meeting, members of the parliamentary commission would be briefed on short and medium term targets of the National Program on environmental issues.

    Another meeting will be held the same day with representatives of universities having EU departments carrying out activities in their structure.

    Representatives will be given information about main targets of the National Program and economic criteria. Universities' contribution to this process will also be taken up at the meeting.

    On Friday, the Secretariat General for the EU will hold a meeting with representatives of non-governmental organizations which have made important contributions to the National Program.

    Non-governmental organizations' role in Turkey's EU full membership process will be discussed at the meeting.

    BAGHDAD - The parliamentary delegation which continues holding official contacts in Iraqi capital of Baghdad was received on Wednesday by Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan.

    Speaking at the meeting, Ramadan said that several delegations came to Iraq from Turkey, and that facts could be seen only with those visits and dialogues between Turkey and Iraq.

    Recalling that Turkish parliament extended mandate of Operation Northern Watch from time to time, Ramadan said that this damaged both Turkey and Iraq.

    Noting that they conveyed their uneasiness about this extension to the Turkish governments, Ramadan said that such a policy hurts both countries, and it was not in line with interests of Turkey and Iraq.

    Stating that they expended efforts to develop economic relations between Turkey and Iraq, and the trade volume should absolutely be increased, Ramadan said that they considered visit of the Turkish parliamentary delegation as an indicator of Turkey's same intention as Iraq.

    Suat Caglayan, the chairman of the parliamentary delegation and a deputy from the Democratic Left Party (DSP), said in his part that they were paying a visit with humanitarian purposes, and that they aimed to see situation and health of the Iraqi people including especially children and women and the living conditions of those people.

    Caglayan added that they would also expend efforts to increase economic, social and commercial relations between Turkey and Iraq.

    The parliamentary delegation members later visited Iraqi Parliament Speaker Dr. Sa'adoun Hammadi.

    Speaking at the meeting, Hammadi said that there were strong relations between Turkey and Iraq, and that importance should be attributed to relations of neighboring countries Turkey and Iraq due to their common interests.

    Hammadi said, ''there are many things to do to intensify our friendship. We want long term relations. This is in favor of both of us.''

    Noting that Turkey has complaints about terrorism, Hammadi said, ''we clearly know that the situation in Northern Iraq serves your security. This place was separated from Iraq. Destruction of Iraq's security and territorial integrity destroys your security. The Turkish Armed Forces frequently enter the Iraqi territories. We attach great importance to this. The United States has air bases in Turkey. This concerns you, it does not concern us but it becomes different if they are used against Iraq. Turkey should not be a tool for American policies.''

    Meanwhile, shuttle trade, effects of embargo imposed on Iraq on Turkey and increase in trade between two countries were discussed at the parliamentary delegation's meeting with Iraqi Foreign Trade Undersecretary Fahruddin Roshan.

    Roshan said that commercial relations between Turkey and Iraw were not changed and shuttle trade continued despite the embargo.

    Noting that they had taken every measure for opening of a second border gate near Habur, Roshan said that they were expending efforts to increase the level of shuttle trade as a result of a formula on which Turkish, Iraqi, and Syrian officials would reach an agreement.

    Stressing that the embargo affected not only Iraq but also Turkey and some other countries, Roshan said that there was a need for more and intense efforts to overcome problems.

    Criticizing oil-for-food program, Roshan said, ''this program is not humanitarian and it does not meet our requirements. More than 40 billion U.S. dollars of oil has been exported since 1997 but we have received only 9.5 billion U.S. dollars of food. This program does not serve the Iraqi people but it meets financial requirements of the United Nations.''

    Meanwhile, parliamentary delegation visited also Iraqi Health Minister Umeed Madhat Mubarak.

    Mubarak who earned a degree in medicine in Ankara recalled that the Turkish and Iraqi health ministries had signed a protocol last year, adding that they couldn't get what they expected from the protocol.

    Noting that thay opened a tender to purchase ambulances and construct hospital, Mubarak invited Turkish companies to bid for the tenders by February 22.

    Parliamentary delegation will return to Turkey on Thursday.

    ANKARA - President Yasser Arafat of Palestine who came to Turkey on Wednesday on a one-day working visit, met with Foreign Minister Ismail Cem.

    Palestinian International Cooperation Minister Nebil Shaat; Ugur Ziyal, the Deputy Undersecretary of Foreign Ministry; and Fouad Yaseen, the Palestinian Ambassador to Turkey; are in attendance at the meeting.

    President Arafat and Foreign Minister Cem are expected to make a joint press release following the meeting.

    ANKARA - President Ahmet Necdet Sezer met with Yasser Arafat, the president of Palestine, at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday.

    Later, interdelegationary meetings started with the participation of President Sezer, President Arafat, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, Nebil Shaat, the interior cooperation minister of Palestine and high ranking officals.

    BURSA - Two years have passed since capture of Abdullah Ocalan, the head of terrorist organization PKK.

    Ocalan who was forced to leave Syria as a result of Turkey's successful foreign policy, stayed in Russia, Italy, Greece and Kenya before being captured in Kenya on February 16, 1999.

    Ocalan was sent to Kenya from Greek capital of Athens, and was sheltered in Greek Embassy's residence in Kenya.

    After Kenyan officials expressed their uneasiness over presence of Ocalan in their country, Greek officials told Ocalan that he had to leave for another country.

    Ocalan was captured at the Nairobi Airport on February 16, 1999 in a successful operation launched by Turkish security forces.

    An airplane carrying Ocalan landed at a military airport in Balikesir province at 03:00 a.m.

    He was taken to Imrali Island by a frigate under tight security measures.

    All inmates at the prison on Imrali Island were transferred to other prisons after arrival of Ocalan.

    Mudanya township of northwestern Bursa province became focus of the world public opinion with arrival of relatives of martyrs, Turkish and foreign journalists.

    Trial of Ocalan started on May 31, 1999 by the Ankara State Security Court (DGM) no: 2.

    Ocalan was tried in a transparent bullet-proof glass box.

    During the first court session, Ocalan told relatives of terrorism victims, ''I am sharing your grief. I do apologize.''

    At the end of the trial process which lasted about one month, Turgut M. Okyay, the Chief Judge of Ankara DGM no: 2, stated, ''accused Ocalan was sentenced to capital punishment on charges of committing crimes with the aim of seperating a part of territories which are under the state's sovereignty from the state's administration by founding and leading the armed terrorist organization PKK in accordance with Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).''

    Later, the verdict was approved by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

    Meanwhile, application of Ocalan's lawyers to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) was accepted. The ECHR has not announced its verdict yet.

    ANKARA - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Wednesday that Turkey would continue to support the Middle East peace process.

    Cem staged a joint press conference together with President Yasser Arafat of Palestine who is currently paying a one-day working visit to Turkey.

    Speaking at the press conference, Cem said, ''Turkey harshly condemns all kinds of violence to prevent killings of children in this sensitive region.''

    Referring to this morning's attack in Tel Aviv, Israel, President Arafat said that the incident seemed like a road accident.

    ''Driver of the bus has been captured anyway,'' he said.

    Earlier in the day, a Palestinian driver crashed a bus into a bus stop crowded with Israeli soldiers and civilians, killing eight people and injuring 21 others.

    ANKARA - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Wednesday that Turkey wanted the sides to resume Middle East peace talks.

    Cem staged a joint press conference together with President Yasser Arafat of Palestine who is currently paying a one-day working visit to Turkey.

    Speaking at the press conference, Cem said, ''President Arafat conveyed his opinions about the latest developments in the region at our meeting. We assessed the current situation in the Middle East.''

    Stressing that Turkey was interested in the Middle East peace process, Cem said, ''Turkey has been expending great efforts to prevent killing of people and children in the region which is extremely sensitive due to its past. We, as Turkey, harshly condemn all kinds of violence. We have been endeavouring to put an end to violence. Turkey wants the sides to resume talks to settle peace.''

    Noting that Turkey had been supporting President Arafat's and Palestinian people's all initiatives for peace, Cem told reporters that Turkey would continue to do its utmost for a peaceful solution to the problem.

    Meanwhile, President Arafat thanked Turkey for its support to the efforts aiming at finding a peaceful solution.

    ''We have been living through a very difficult period. Our people have come face to face recently with a serious military attack,'' he said.

    Charging Israel of using banned types of nerve gas against civilians in recent confrontations in Gaza, President Arafat said, ''there are those in hospital with a sort of permanent trembling whom we have no idea how to treat. We can't tell what sort of poison this is.''

    Noting that Israeli security forces staged attacks on there villages which are sacred to whole Christians in the world, President Arafat stressed, ''whatever the cause, we are against the use of violence and of course killing people. Our position, beyond question, is that we are against all acts of escalation and terrorism''

    ''We are insistent, despite everything that we are coming up against, on arriving at a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, not just for our sake or for the sake of the Israelis, but for the sake of the whole Middle East, '' he said.

    Noting that they needed support of Turkey, Arab countries, Russia, Europe and the U.S. for peace, Arafat added, ''we're looking for a determined international effort that will stand firm against this Israeli escalation of military forces against our people. Only an international presence will be a base for stopping this serious military escalation.''

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