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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 01-06-17
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From: The Anadolu Agency Home Page at <http://www.anadoluajansi.com.tr/>Anadolu Agency
17 JUNE 2001 Monday
These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on June 17, 2001. The Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
HURRIYET (LIBERAL)TURKEY LOSES 42 BILLION DOLLARS DUE TO EROSION
The Forest ministry said that most of the erosion in Turkey takes place in agricultural areas causing a financial loss of 42 billion U.S. dollars. The ministry released a statement for the World Fight Against Desertification Day and said Turkey was the country which is most suffering from erosion due to its high and hilly geographical nature. It indicated that erosion was a big natural problem in Turkey.
ECEVIT ASSURES GUARANTEE TO EU
Addressing the European Council Summit held in Goteborg city of Sweden, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit assured guarantee to the EU about the adoption of the constitutional amendment proposal which covers 37 articles from lifting the death penalty, to permitting Kurdish broadcast and to increasing the civilian members of the National Security Council. Ecevit stressed that ''new members might be acceding into the EU in 2004 or 2005 by the latest. Therefore giving Turkey a further political perspective in the ongoing enlargement process becomes imperative.''
MILLIYET (LIBERAL)MOST SECRET OPERATION CARRIED OUT
Yenal Ansen, the former director general of Halkbank was taken into custody three days ago and his interrogation was kept as a secret. Ansen and five other suspects were taken into custody regarding the credit Halkbank gave to Yahya Murat Demirel, the former owner of Egebank which was worth of 159 million dollars.
DERVIS THINKS THINGS ARE GOING FINE
State Minister Kemal Dervis and his assistants are pleased with the banks' interest in the debt swap auction which was held last Friday. Dervis says this is the trust of the banks in the Treasury and the government. Dervis will announce the results of swap today.
SABAH (LIBERAL)IMF OFFICIAL WARNS TURKEY
IMF's European Department Director Larsen said that if the economic programme of Turkey does not work, this will be a disaster for Turkey. He added that the people and politicians in Turkey should extend great support the economic programme of State Minister Kemal Dervis. The support to Dervis has a big influence in the foreign decision mechanisms, he stated.
CUMHURIYET (LEFT)TURKEY IS BECOMING A DESERT
The erosion rate in Turkey is 22 times as much as in Africa, 17 times as in Eruope and 6 times as in North America. TEMA Foundation Kayseri representative Dr. Ismail Goksen stated that 86 percent of Turkish land was affected by mild to strong erosion. Turkey is loosing 500 tons of fertile soil to seas and rivers. Turkey's high and hilly geographical nature is a factor in its high erosion rate.
PKK AND DRUGS
A total of 679 people linked to the terrorist organization PKK were arrested with tons of drugs in 185 incidents since 1984 when the PKK started becoming active. The book prepared by the Security General Directorate's Smuggling department states that the PKK takes commissions from the sales of drugs in Turkey and also cooperates with other smugglers to smuggle the drugs outside of Turkey. U.S. International Crime Assessment Report says that the organization is financing its terrorist activities through smuggling heroin.
RADIKAL (LEFT)STORM AT HALKBANK
Former Halkbank General Director Yenal Ansen who is charged with giving credits illegally to companies owned by Murat Demirel was recently interrogated with five other bank executives. Auditors stated that he gave the credits without doing a risk analysis. Halkbank General Directorate sent the auditors' report to Istanbul Prosecutor's Office and asked the court to start an investigation about their old co-workers. They claimed that 159 million U.S. dollars was not returned to the bank.
1.5 MILLION STUDENTS TAKE OSS EXAM TODAY
One and a half million students are taking the University Entrance Exam (OSS) today in Turkey and Lefkosa. Only 300,000 of them will gain the right to study at a certain program at a university. The students are required to have a minimum of 105 points from maths, social sciences and foreign language parts.
TURKIYE (RIGHT)HISARCIKLIOGLU BECOMES NEW TOBB CHAIRMAN
Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) member Rifat Hisarciklioglu became the Turkish Chambers and Commodity Exchanges Union (TOBB) Chairman after Fuat Miras' resignation from this position. Hisarciklioglu who was the only candidate received eight of the 14 members.
NO-BARRIER VISITS START IN PRISONS
Inmates who were convicted for violating Anti-Terrorism law will be allowed to have a no barrier visit once a month with their relatives unless they have a disciplinary punishment. Justice Ministry said in a written statement on Saturday that the second and third paragraphs of Article 16 of Anti-Terrorism Law No. 3713 were amended and circulars were sent to prosecutors on June 15, 2001. According to the circular, prisoners will meet with their spouses and children between the ages of 0-10.
ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)EU WARNS TURKEY ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS
The European Council Summit ended in Goteborg on Saturday. A final declaration was published telling that Turkey has to take further steps in the fields of human rights. The statement was found as ''moderate'' by Turkey.
DEBATE IN TOBB FINISHES
Rifat Hisarcıklıoglu was elected as the Executive Board President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) during the elections held yesterday. Hisarcıklıoglu was the only candidate. The election was held following the resignation of Fuat Miras, TOBB President.
 TRNC PREMIER EROGLU SAYS IF REALITY OF TWO STATES IS ACCEPTED, AN AGREEMENT WILL BE REACHEDLEFKOSA - Dervis Eroglu, the Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Saturday that if the reality of two states in Cyprus is accepted, an agreement can be reached.
Eroglu said in the TRNC parliament that the Turkish side offered many suggestions during the proximity talks to reach a consensus, adding the Greek Cypriot side didn't offer any proposal.
Eroglu pointed out that TRNC is resolved to pursue Cyprus policy together with Turkey, adding that TRNC will further improve its relations with Turkey.
Eroglu pointed out that they can't give up the effective and active guarantee of Turkey, adding that the TRNC government will try to strengethen its economic structure until an agreement is reached on the island.
Eroglu said that the European Union (EU) is brought to the agenda when the Cyprus question is on agenda, adding that the Greek Cypriot's side application to the EU is the result of its nonwillingless for an agreement on Cyprus.
Eroglu indicated that TRNC is not against the EU, adding that they can join the EU after finding a solution on the island.
Noting that the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against Turkey regarding the Cyprus issue is a wrong and political decision, Eroglu stated that the decision considered the TRNC as non-existant and they can't accept that.
Meanwhile the vote of confidence for the coalition government in TRNC will be held on June 18.
 MIRZAOGLU:MARITIME MINISTRY WILL BE FOUNDED END OF THIS YEAR OR BEGINNING OF NEXT YEARNEVSEHIR - State Minister Ramazan Mirzaoglu has said that the Maritime Ministry would be founded either the end of this year or the beginning of next year.
Mirzaoglu who visited Nevsehir said during his contacts that the units related to maritime was under the responsibility of different ministries which was causing certain problems. ''We presented the bill to the cabinet 15 days ago. We'll later present it to Parliament,'' he explained.
 KARS-TBILISI RAILROAD WILL BE CONSTRUCTED ONLY ONE LINEANKARA - The railroad which will be built between Kars and Tbilisi will be one line, not two lines as it was earlier planned between Turkey and Georgia during the talks in May.
The change took place because of unsufficient financing and the construction time of the railroad. The Turkish Republic of State Railroads General Directorate is expected to open a bidding soon.
The project is expected to cost 600 million U.S. dollars. The 92.5 kilometer part of the railroad which will pass from the Turkish land will be constructed between Mezra and Aktas. The remaning 32.5 kilometer of the line will be on Aktas-Ahalkalaki-Marabda route in Georgia. The construction of the railroad is estimated to last for four years.
 DERVIS HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE:(1) ''TREASURY RECEIVED OFFERS WORTH OF 10.8 QUADRILLION LIRAS FOR DEBT SWAP AUCTION''ANKARA - State Minister Kemal Dervis said in a press conference on Sunday that the Treasury received offers worth of 10,6 quadrillion liras for the debt swap auction and it accepted 8,5 quadrillions of it.
''It means the Treasury has met 78,5 percent of the total proposal. It earlier said that it could at least accept 3-5 quadrillion liras, but the Treasury accepted 8,5 quadrillion liras,'' said Dervis.
Dervis said that the debt swap auction will comfort the public finance in a considerable extent when the support extended from official sources to the economic programme is also taken into consideration.
The debt swap will be beneficial for the Treasury and the economic programme, said Dervis and indicated that the debt swap will also be advantageous for Turkish banks and it aims to urge the banking sector to serve the real sector in a better way.
''The banks will put in order the balance between foreign exchange and Turkish Lira in their balance sheet due to the debt swap. This will contribute to the Turkish economy. Banks will continue to take long-term TL denominated bonds for a certain period of time,'' he added.
 DERVIS HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE (2) ''14-15 PERCENT INTEREST RATE IS A GOOD FIGURE UNDER TODAY'S MARKET CONDITIONS''ANKARA - State Minister in charge of Economy Kemal Dervis has stated that the 14-15 percent interest rate during the debt swap was a good rate in today's market conditions.
Speaking at the press conference held at the Treasury on Sunday, Dervis said that 14.5 percent of interest rate was not a low rate and added that the Treasury obtained an acceptable interest rate since the banks acted in a responsible manner. He also remarked that the same debt swap cost other countries an interest rate of 16-17 percent. He said the papers would help the banking sector to recover.
Responding to a question, Dervis stated that both the Treasury and the Turkish economy would benefit from the swap and added that their main purpose is to form the necessary background to increase growth and employment.
 DERVIS HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE (3) ''BANKS ACTED IN A RESPONSIBLE MANNER''ANKARA - State Minister in charge of Economy Kemal Dervis has said that the banks acted in a responsible manner and made their offers by thinking of long-term economic balances.
''This is why we accepted more than three fourths of the offers. I would like to thank to the banks which not only protected their interests but also the nation's interest by thinking long term,'' Dervis said at a press conference on Sunday when he announced the debt swap results.
Dervis said that the public finance and the Turkish public sector finance balances have been on a knife's edge and that the state tried to distribute a non-existing source to the public in 1990s. ''The inflation which was caused by this situation, high interest rates and high borrowing brought Turkey to the difficult times in 1999 and 2000,'' he continued.
''After February, these troubles turned into a crisis. The Treasury was able to borrow with a very high interest rates with a very short maturity. The public financing faced a real threat. The banks, on the other hand, faced a very difficult situation. The bonds they took from the state lost a lot of value due to the high interest rates. The increasing of foreign currency increased foreign currency denominated debts and the capitals shrank significantly.''
Dervis said that the Turkish economy received an important financial aid of 15 billion U.S. dollars from international organizations on May 15 which comforted the money markets. However, he said, this aid was not sufficient to recover the public finance balance. He said he expected the swap to bring more relief to public financing.
State Minister Kemal Dervis said that the banks will take long-term TL denominated bonds for a certain peroid of time by the debt swap.
''The Treasury said it would sell 3-5 quadrillion lira in the debt swap at least, but it has been 8,5 quadrillion liras. The banks acted in a responsible way and it made its demands by taking into consideration the long term balance of the economy. We accepted more than three fourths of the demands. I would like to thank the banks which thought in the long run and took into consideration the interests of the country, rather than only theirs by not thinking in the short run,'' Dervis said.
Noting that it is not easy to conclude such an peration in a successful way, Dervis said that only some of the debt swaps held in other countries had been successful.
''This needs technical information and team work. Countries hire expensive consultation firms for such operations and the firms work for a long period of time. We also had such consultation firms, which worked voluntarily and this didn't cost anything for the Treasury. The success of this operation is the success of the bankers and expert teams working in the state. The operation is headed and controlled by Treasury Undersecretary Faik Oztrak, I would like to congratulate all the experts,'' said Dervis.
 DERVIS HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE (4) -TREASURY UNDERSECRETARY OZTRAK: ''DEBT SWAP WILL BRING CONFIDENCE BOTH TO DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN MARKETS''ANKARA - Treasury Undersecretary Faik Oztrak has said that the debt dynamics which was earlier announced as a part of the program will be comforted as a result of the debt swap.
''This will bring confidence both to domestic and foreign markets,'' he said.
Oztrak expressed his views about the debt swap at a press conference held by State Minister in charge of Economy Kemal Dervis on Sunday. He said the swap openly demonstrated that the economic program was taking the market mechanism as basis.
Oztrak said that the Treasury has given priority to the determination of the price which is close to the preferences of the markets. Oztrak stated that the economic programme has confirmed once again its resolution to take as basis the market mechanism by holding the debt swap operation.
''This will increase the confidence for the economic programme both in domestic and foreign markets,'' he said.
Oztrak stressed tnat the interest rates have been indexed in an important degree in the debt payment programme of the Treasury both in earlier operations related to the public and fund banks and also in this debt swap operation.
''Thus if the inflation and interest rates decrease rapidly, it is possible to record an improvement in the debt dynamic more than expected,'' Oztrak said.
 DERVIS HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE (5)ANKARA - The distribution of the bonds worth of 8 quadrillion 485,000 trillion TL is as follows:
Bond Net cost Nominal cost
----- ------- ------------
3 years maturity term
Foreign currency 2,828 3,679
5 years maturity term
TL denominated with 1,672 1,724
1 year maturity term
TL denominated with
two years maturity term 1,156 1,192TOTAL 8,485 9,962
 DERVIS HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE (6): ''SWAP HAS BEEN UNDERTAKEN FOR ONCE''ANKARA - State Minister Kemal Dervis said on Sunday that the debt swap auction was held for once, adding that no such swap operation would be repeated.
''The demand has been met, the Treasury will return to its regular borrowing from now on,'' Dervis told the new conference.
Responding to questions of journalists, Dervis said that the banks will become more normal as a result of the debt swap. Dervis indicated that the demand for foreign exchange will be determined according to the needs of the balance of payment and the needs of the market. Dervis stated that the Treasury expected positive developments in the balance of exchange rates and payments.
Upon another question, Dervis said that the economic programme has certain risks noting that one of the leading risk is inflation.
The risks of the economic programme were also published in the report prepared by the IMF, Dervis noted. Dervis said that the government permitted the publication of a report prepared by IMF for the first time.
Dervis said that the state banks and bank sector have to deal with the real sector but while doing this the state banks should not act in a way that causes a new duty loss.
Noting that the economic programme is a whole, Dervis said that if this integrity is disturbed, this will decrease the chance of the economic programme to be successful. IMF pointed to the same risk, Dervis added.
The basic dimensions of the economic programme have to be implemented fully, said Dervis and noted that if the programme is strictly applied for 12 months, the economy will start to re-grow.
Dervis said that the economy can start to re-grow as of August, September this year, adding that the difficulties of the real sector, lower-income groups, workers, tradesmen and farmers will start to lessen during this period.
 DERVIS HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE (7) ''OUR GOAL IS ECONOMIC GROWTH, INCREASING EMPLOYMENT AND HELP PEOPLE WITH LOW INCOMES''ANKARA- State Minister in charge of Economy Kemal Dervis has said that the goal of the economic program was economic growth, increase employment and help the people with low incomes.
Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Dervis said that the maturity terms increased from 5.3 to 37.2 months which was a great success. He indicated that the cost of the swap was also reasonable due to the responsible manner of the banks.
''The swap would help bring public finances out of a crisis situation. The program's goal is economic growth, employement and offering new jobs to workers who lost their jobs during the crisis. The program has to be implemented fully including real economy in order to achieve this result. These are necessary things to recover the banking system and the monetary markets and bring down the interest rates. This is very important expecially for public financing,'' he explained.
''The swap doesn't only concern the banks and money policies. It aims growth and it aims to make the banking sector serve better to real economy, '' he underlined.
Dervis thanked his team members for carrying out a successful swap and said this was a reason to look into future with more confidence.
 DERVIS HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE (8) -DEBT SWAP TO BRING INTEREST SAVING WORTH OF 1,9 QUADRILLION LIRAS IN 2001 BUDGETANKARA - The debt swap will bring an interest saving worth of 1,9 quadrillion liras in the 2001 year budget, besides the domestic debt redemption will decrease by 5,7 quadrillion liras.
In the news conference of State Minister Kemal Dervis, Public Finance Director General Tulay Saylan explained the details of the debt swap results.
Saylan said that the debt swap auction was held on June 15, Friday to lengthen the maturities of the domestic borrowing and to decrease the foreign exchange risk of the banking system. The Treasury invited the banks to swap lira-denominated bonds with papers linked to foreign exchange.
A total of 23 bonds were offered in swap and the bonds were seperated into two groups according to their maturities. Two separate auctions were held for the two groups. The foreign exchange denominated papers having the maturity of 3-5 years were swapped with TL denominated papers having a maturity of 1-2 years. The total value of this swap has been 8,9 quadrillion liras.
As a result of the debt swap 78,5 percent of the total demand was met.
According to the information given by Saylan, the maturity term of domestic borrowing stock was extended.
The redemptions in June-December period was 45 quadrillion 891 trillion TL before the swap. The cost decreased to 40 quadrillion 176 trillion TL after the swap with a fall of 5 quadrillion 715 trillion TL.
The borrowing need in the remaining part of this year is expected to decrease 7.6 quadrillion TL. Saylan said that this would also positively affect the borrowing need in 2002. As a result of the swap, 1.9 quadrillion TL of interest saving was obtained from 2001 budget.
Saylan indicated that there was a need for revision in the minimum limit of bids which will be held in June and the revision would be announced to public tomorrow.
''The swap was finalized in a way to decrease the foreign currency risk in banking sector, to expand the maturity term of domestic borrowing stock of the Treasury and to decrease the cost of borrowing,'' he concluded.
 DERVIS HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE (9)ANKARA - 4.8 billion U.S. dollars foreign exchange denominated and 2.8 quadrillion TL denominated papers were swapped during Friday's auction.
A total of 8 quadrillion 485 TL papers were swapped.
Below are the offers in the bid:
-------- (trilyon TL)
bid offers incompetitive offers total offers
---------------- --------------------------- --------------
---------------------------------------------- ------ -------
papers2,818 3,155 1,879 1,932 4,697 5,087
1st and 2nd groups
total5,199 5,354 5,929 5,461 11,128 10,815
papers denominated by foreign exchange
with three years
bid group issue price income rate
Grup II 84,563 14.45 percent
Below are the domestic borrowing redemptions which will take place in 2001:
MONTHS BEFORE SWAP TAKAS SONRASI FARK
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