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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 01-06-26

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

From: The Anadolu Agency Home Page at <http://www.anadoluajansi.com.tr/>

Anadolu Agency

ANADOLU AGENCY

NEWS

26 JUNE 2001 Tuesday


CONTENTS

  • [01] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN
  • [02] STATE MINISTER KARAKOYUNLU SAYS THEY BELIEVE RECURRENCE OF PARTY CLOSURES SHOULD BE PREVENTED
  • [03] STATE MINISTER DERVIS: -''THERE IS AN ARTIFICIAL PRESSURE ON FOREIGN EXCHANGE''
  • [04] ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS OF EU CANDIDATE COUNTRIES TO CONVENE IN ISTANBUL
  • [05] TURKEY-EU ARGUMENT IN WASHINGTON D.C. -BAYAR, UNDERSECRETARY OF TURKISH EMBASSY, RESPONDS NEGATIVE VIEW OF POTTERING TO TURKEY
  • [06] CENTRAL BANK SAYS FX AUCTIONS NOT TO INTERVENE IN FOREIGN EXCHANGE, BUT TO PREVENT EXTREME FLUCTUATIONS IN SHORT TERM
  • [07] LOCAL AND FOREIGN COMPANIES SHOW GREAT INTEREST FOR CONSTRUCTION OF BAKU-TBILISI-CEYHAN OIL PIPELINE ON TURKISH TERRITORIES
  • [08] STATE MINISTER DERVIS TO ATTEND EUROPEAN ECONOMY SUMMIT IN AUSTRIA
  • [09] PERES:''TURKEY AND ISRAEL ARE MOVING AHEAD''
  • [10] TURKEY-EU PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL MEETING ENDS -HUMAN RIGHTS AND CYPRUS QUESTION BECOME PRIOR ISSUES
  • [11] STATE MINISTER TOSKAY SAYS INFLATION RATES IN JUNE WILL BE QUITE POSITIVE
  • [12] TURKEY-EU PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL MEETING ENDS (2) -FOREIGN MINISTER CEM: ''CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS ARE ON TOP OF THE PRIORITY LIST OF THE GOVERNMENT'' -''EVERYBODY SHOULD DO HIS BEST FOR CYPRUS ISSUE'' -''ESDI IS NOT A MATTER BETWEEN TURKEY AND EU''
  • [13] TURKEY-EU PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL MEETING ENDS (3) ''TURKEY SHOULD TAKE SOLID MEASURES FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PRIORITIES IN ITS NATIONAL PROGRAM''

  • [01] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

    These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on June 26, 2001. The Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

    HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

    THEY LAUNCH INITIATIVES BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID OF TAYYIP
    Necmettin Erbakan, the banned Welfare Party (RP) leader at the age of 75, was afraid of initiatives of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erbakan, who visited ten provinces in the last month, decided to increase his tour around Turkey after the Virtue Party (FP) was closed down. Erbakan is delivering speeches in halls full of thousands of FP supporters.

    ADDITIONAL TAX PACKAGE
    ''Additional tax'' came out of the package for measures to increase reveneues. Leaders decided to impose additional tax from telephone to plane ticket and motorized vehicles. The draft law on additional tax was opened to signature.

    ''WE ARE AT EQUAL DISTANCE FROM ALL INDIVIDUALS AND INSTITUTIONS''
    The Office of Chief of General Staff said that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have always stayed at equal distance from all individuals and institutions. The Office said, ''linking the closure of a political party which was closed down to the TSK is unfair.''

    MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

    IT IS NOT THE QUAKE WHICH HIT BUT THE FEAR
    Southern Osmaniye province was rocked by an earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale at 4.28 p.m. on Monday. The earthquake did not cause any damages in the province but 130 people were injured because they jumped out of balconies and windows and fainted.

    U.S. DOLLAR SHOULD BE EQUAL TO 1.150.000 TL
    As one U.S. dollar was equal to 1 million 300 thousand Turkish liras (TL) on Monday, State Minister Kemal Dervis said that the U.S. dollar, which is high due to ''non-confidence'', should be equal to 1 million 150 thousand TL.

    PUBLIC BANKS TO BE PROFITABLE IN JULY
    State Minister Kemal Dervis said that as the public banks starts to be profitable again, the costs of sources will be calculated again. Dervis said that they expect public banks to become profitable in July and that they will then re-calculate costs of sources and support tradesmen.

    SABAH (LIBERAL)

    IS BANKASI TO OPEN BANK IN NETHERLANDS
    Is Bankasi decided to open a bank in the Netherlands. A statement sent to the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) said that the Executive Board of Is Bankasi decided to open a bank having maximum 25 million euro capital in the Netherlands.

    LEADERS DEBATE CONSTITUTION
    Leaders of the coalition parties agreed to include the constitutional amendment bill in the report that will be presented to the European Union (EU) in October 2001. As the deputies who became independent after the Virtue Party (FP) was closed down, decided not to attend the discussions on the constitutional amendment bill, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, and deputy prime ministers Devlet Bahceli and Mesut Yilmaz had a meeting. The leaders decided that Ecevit would meet with leaders of coalition parties. Then, the leaders will decide whether or not to bring the bill into the agenda of the parliament before the parliament's recess.

    CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

    DEVELOPMENTS ARE CONCERNING
    ''EU-Turkey Business Partnerships,'' project, which aimed at setting up partnerships between the Turkish companies and the companies of the European Union (EU), started on Monday. Meral Gezgin Eris, the Chairperson of the Economic Development Foundation (IKV), who undertook the organization of the project in Turkey, pointed out that closure of the FP was a concerning development due to Turkish-EU relations.

    MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT TRAJKOVSKI DUE IN TURKEY
    President Boris Trajkovski of Macedonia will visit Turkey on Wednesday as the official guest of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. The talks will mainly focus on the developments in Macedonia during the visit.

    RADIKAL (LEFT)

    EU NOTES WITH CONCERN
    The European Union (EU) gave its first official reaction to Constitutional Court's decision to ban the Virtue Party (FP).

    The EU issued a statement and expressed concern about the Constitutional Court's decision to ban the FP. ''The EU notes with concern the decision of the Turkish Constitutional Court on June 22 to order the closure of the FP, to confiscate its assets and to ban certain members from being members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly,'' the statement said. ''This decision has implications for democratic pluralism and freedom of expression in Turkey,'' it said.

    BUMIN: FP SHOULD JUDGE ITSELF
    Mustafa Bumin, the Chief Judge of the Constitutional Court, responding to the statements of Recai Kutan, the leader of the banned Virtue Party (FP), that criticized the closure decision, pointed out that, ''they should not judge us, they should judge themselves because we are making decisions according to the Constitution and the laws they prepared.''

    TURKIYE (RIGHT)

    THEY LEFT THE PARLIAMENT
    Parliamentarians of the banned Virtue Party (FP) decided not to attend the General Council till constitutional amendment takes place. Recai Kutan, the leader of the banned FP, made a speech which was not on the agenda. Kutan said Turkey could not go on its path and could not be together with the free world with the constitution and laws which are under implementation. Kutan said, ''time came to get rid of this shame.'' Following the speech of Kutan, the FP parliamentarians left the parliamentary hall.

    QUAKE IN OSMANIYE: 5.5
    The quake, which occurred at 16:28 local time in provincial center of Osmaniye, caused panic. Many people jumped out of the balconies in panic. A total of 130 people were injured, and 64 buildings were damaged in the quake. Two aftershocks followed the quake which was measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale.

    ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

    DERVIS COMPLAINS THAT VALUE OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE INCREASED MUCH
    State Minister Kemal Dervis defended that the foreign exchange increased much than it should increase, noting that this stemmed from non-confidence. Dervis said the actual value of one U.S. dollar is 1.150 million Turkish lira.

    Reiterating that the markets would relieve in July, Dervis claimed that the state banks would begin to make profit after existing servicing loses are overcome.

    PARLIAMENT EXTENDS MANDATE OF OPERATION NORTHERN WATCH
    The parliament decided to extend mandate of the Northern Watch operation for six more months beginning from June 30, 2001. The prime ministry note about extension of the Northern Watch operation's mandate for six more months was accepted by the parliament.

    [02] STATE MINISTER KARAKOYUNLU SAYS THEY BELIEVE RECURRENCE OF PARTY CLOSURES SHOULD BE PREVENTED

    ANKARA - State Minister Yilmaz Karakoyunlu said that they believe that recurrence of political party closures should be prevented by clear constitutional definitions rather than damaging the democracy by increase in such closures.

    Responding to questions of reporters about the decision of the Constitutonal Court to close down the Virtue Party (FP), Karakoyunlu said that his party and he felt sorry about FP's closure.

    Karakoyunlu said, ''party closures should be made difficult within the framework of description of democracy. In line with the agreement reached at the Parliamentary Compromise Commission related with amendment of Article 37 of the Constitution, provisions which will make the political party closures difficult is on the agenda. Constitutional amendments may be brought to the agenda before the parliament's recess and they can take effect after they are debated. Thus, closure of a political party will become more difficult.''

    One of the elements that is put forward by the foreign ministers of all the European Union (EU) countries is the importance that the political parties has in the description of democracy, Karakoyunlu noted.

    Karakoyunlu stated that Turkey has always pointed to the importance of place and efficiency of political parties in Turkish democracy for a long time.

    ''If we consider this issue in this context, the Motherland Party and I are very sorry about the closure of FP. We believe that the recurrence of such incidents should be prevented by clear constitutional definitions rather than damaging our democracy by increase in political party closures,'' Karakoyunlu added.

    [03] STATE MINISTER DERVIS: -''THERE IS AN ARTIFICIAL PRESSURE ON FOREIGN EXCHANGE''

    ANKARA - State Minister Kemal Dervis said on Tuesday that there is an artificial pressure on foreign exchange.

    Responding to questions of reporters after he had met with Treasury Undersecretary and Central Bank Governor, Dervis said that he believes this pressure will reach a better level by positive developments in balance of payments.

    Dervis noted that they wait for the figures of inflation in June and foreign trade and that there are good signs in foreign trade and tourism.

    There are also pleasing developments in current transactions, Dervis stated and said, ''I guess these developments will continue in summer.''

    Responding to a question, Dervis said that he will go abroad ten days later.

    Dervis continued, ''I will visit Brussels to hold contacts with the European Union (EU). My schedule is not clear yet. The European Investment Bank will give 480 million U.S. dollars to Turkey. We will debate how this money will be used. We want the EU to get more involved. I will have a meeting with the World Economic Administration. We will sign the biggest loan agreement with World Bank in Washington D.C''.

    Upon a question on new taxes, Dervis said, ''we are trying to find additional revenues. There is a liquidity need but a great amount of tax is not in question.''

    They debated the latest developments at the meeting, Dervis said.

    Dervis noted that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will convene on July 3 and the World Bank will hold a meeting on July 5.

    The World Bank and the IMF may release a significant amount of loan to Turkey at the beginning of July, Dervis added.

    [04] ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS OF EU CANDIDATE COUNTRIES TO CONVENE IN ISTANBUL

    ANKARA - Second unofficial meeting of the Environment Ministers of countries, which are candidates of the European Union (EU), will take place in June 28-29, 2001.

    Environment Minister Fevzi Aytekin and Karen Fogg, the European Commission's Turkey Representative, will address the opening of the meeting.

    The meeting aims at discussing the developments which were recorded since the previous meeting, and improvement of cooperation. Also, the European Commission will be briefed about the problems which effects the candidate countries.

    Decisions taken in Nice Summit, and their influence on the candidate countries will also be taken up. Change in climate, nature, environment and health, sustainable usage of natural sources and implementations in candidate countries, the enlargement process, and international dimensions of those developments would be discussed.

    Turkey, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lethonia, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Greek Cypriot side will attend the meeting.

    On the second day of the meeting, environment ministers of candidate countries will visit several historical places of Istanbul.

    [05] TURKEY-EU ARGUMENT IN WASHINGTON D.C. -BAYAR, UNDERSECRETARY OF TURKISH EMBASSY, RESPONDS NEGATIVE VIEW OF POTTERING TO TURKEY

    WASHINGTON - Mehmet Ali Bayar, the Undersectary of Turkey's Embassy in Washington D.C. harshly reacted to the expressions of German Hans-Gert Pottering, the Group Chairman of European Parliament Christian Democrat Parties, ragarding Turkey.

    Pottering, who made a presentation about the European Union (EU) at a dinner held by Konrad Adenauer Foundation, did not mention Turkey, and pointed out that the EU has moral and conscious responsibility in linking former Warsaw Pact countries to itself.

    In question-answer section, when asked why he did not mention EU-Turkey relations, Pottering said European conservatives were reluctant in Turkey's accession to the EU. Pottering also said if Turkey wants to approach to the EU, it should change its society according to the EU values, noting that this depended on Turkey.

    Bayar, who responded the statements of Pottering, said Turkey revealed its determination to enter the EU since 1957, stressing that it protected the borders of the West throughout the Cold War. Bayar said, ''actually we paid every kind of costs to help Europe.''

    Recalling that Turkey took important steps to adopt Europe's values, Bayar said, ''we don't want the EU to make us a favor. What Turkey wants is to take its place in Europe which it deserved, which it contributed for long years.''

    Bayar said Ankara wanted the EU to implement the same criteria which it implemented to the other candidate countries.

    Pottering calmed down his attitude upon this harsh reaction of Bayar, and defended that he did not want to make discrimination among the candidates.

    [06] CENTRAL BANK SAYS FX AUCTIONS NOT TO INTERVENE IN FOREIGN EXCHANGE, BUT TO PREVENT EXTREME FLUCTUATIONS IN SHORT TERM

    ANKARA - The Central Bank said on Tuesday that foreign exchange auctions are held to prevent extreme fluctuations in the short term, not to intervene in forex rate.

    A statement of the Central Bank said that the report on monetary policy in 2001 which was unveiled on May 15 noted that forex interventions will be made in case of extreme fluctuations in the short term and that these interventions will not affect value and balance of foreign exchange in the long term.

    The statement noted that the foreign exchanges will be purchased and sold by auctions.

    Within this framework, foreign exchange which will be sold by the Central Bank, will be sold by taking into consideration the targets of the net international reserves.

    ''Foreign exchange which will be sold by the Central Bank by auctions which were aimed at draining lira liquidity created by the inflow of International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans. A certain currency level is not targeted. In other words, foreign exchange is not sold not to intervene in currency.''

    The Central Bank said that it had $9.6 billion available to sell in 2001 at such auctions.

    One billion 26 million U.S. dollars were sold in June and excessive liquidity in markets were sterilized, the statement noted.

    From the start of July, it would modify its forex intervention policy by announcing currency auctions in advance, the statement added.

    [07] LOCAL AND FOREIGN COMPANIES SHOW GREAT INTEREST FOR CONSTRUCTION OF BAKU-TBILISI-CEYHAN OIL PIPELINE ON TURKISH TERRITORIES

    ANKARA - Many local and foreign companies showed great interest to the international tender which was opened for the construction of 1,070 km section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline which is planned to be constructed on Turkish territories.

    It was reported that 80 companies received specifications regarding the tender, which was opened for the construction of the pipeline, pumping stations and Ceyhan sea therminal. State-run oil company BOTAS's General Directorate made an announcement a while ago and determined the expire date of application as August 17, 2001.

    Initiative of many local and foreign companies, who applied to Botas General Directorate to set up consortium for the construction of the pipeline to transport Caspian oils to European markets via Turkey, continue.

    Companies from the U.S., Germany, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Italy, Britain, and Japan showed interest in the construction of the pipeline. Meanwhile, it was reported that Italian companies were also getting prepared to set up a consortium.

    Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline is foreseen to be taken into service in 2005 if bidding process for the construction is completed within this year, and in case construction starts at the beginning of the year 2002.

    [08] STATE MINISTER DERVIS TO ATTEND EUROPEAN ECONOMY SUMMIT IN AUSTRIA

    ANKARA - State Minister Kemal Dervis will attend the European Economy Summit in Austria.

    A statement of the World Economic Forum said on Tuesday that the summit will be held in Salzburg, Austria, between July 1 and 3.

    Ugur Bayar, the Chairman of the Privatization Administration Board, is also expected to attend the summit.

    The main theme of the summit will be enlargement of European Union (EU) while issues concerning Russia, north region, Balkan countries and Europe will be debated at the summit.

    Investment opportunities in EU candidate states are also an item of the agenda of the summit.

    Heads of state or government and high-level economy officials of Lithuania, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, Malta, Slovakia, Albania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Latvia, Russia, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Yugoslavia, Switzerland and Belgium will attend the meeting.

    Representatives of NATO, European Investment Bank, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will also participate at the summit.

    Sources said that if there is not a change in Dervis' schedule, he may go to London prior to the summit and have a meeting with representatives of international investment banks

    [09] PERES:''TURKEY AND ISRAEL ARE MOVING AHEAD''

    JERUSALEM - Isreali Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has said that Turkey and Israel were two countries in the Middle East that were moving ahead and that the relations between them were not against any third countries.

    In a meeting with a group of Turkish reporters he held on Tuesday, Peres said that his country wanted a Middle East free of poverty and war. Criticizing Syria, Peres said the other choice was to be poor and backward like Syria. Indicating that Syrian President President Bashar al-Asad has even a more strict style of speaking than his father, Peres said ''He is young, but has an old mentality. The fact that he is an eye doctor doesn't mean he has a good eyesight.''

    Drawing attention to the importance of acting fast in the modern world, Peres said Turkey was suffering the pain of development. He said State Minister in charge of Economy Kemal Dervis fits the definition of a modern person of our day.

    Peres said the Turkish system could be adopted by other Middle Eastern countries. ''If I were an Arab and had to choose between the Iranian and Turkish model, I would have chosen Turkey,'' he commented. He said Turkey placed great importance on the Middle East and Israel would be happy to see Turkey in the EU. ''The EU has so far been a Christian declaration,'' he added.

    Peres said that the Israeli government was not trying to topple Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. ''He was elected by the Palestinian people and we respect that. But I think he has made many mistakes. We proposed them to give all their land back at the Camp David summit. I can't understand why he rejected this proposal. But we are old enough to know that leaders also make mistakes.'' He said Arafat believes that he could control Hamas and Islami Jihad. ''Expression is free in democracies and guns are under control. In such chaotic systems, expression is under control and guns are free,'' he said.

    When asked to comment on the words of Isreali Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who said Arafat should be replaced by someone else, Peres said ''A country cannot change the leader of another nation. Political relations don't have to be romantic.''

    ''Who could guarantee that others will be better than Arafat?'' he asked. Peres also commented on the view ''Let's wait until Arafat dies and make peace with the future leaders.'' ''You cannot wait for funerals in the Middle East. As I once said to your late President Turgut Ozal, if you're hosting a dinner to Middle Eastern guests, you should be more concerned about the menu rather than the list of guests. Because you can never know who is going to be alive and be able to join the dinner. We should be interested in what we're putting on the table instead of the guest list.''

    Later Peres explained the latest point reached in the peace process as follows: ''The Mitchell Report was prepared by European and American men of thought including your former President Suleyman Demirel. This report is based on four points: 1) Ceasefire 2)Cooling period 3)Confidence building measures 4)Starting political consultations. We are right now between the first and the second stages. The cooling period will last for six weeks and there are two definitions in the report regarding when this will start: 1)When Arafat works hundred percent for the termination of violence, however we aren't at that stage yet. Arafat must be sincere regarding the stopping of violence and must give clear instructions. Those who launch terrorist attacks should be imprisoned. 2)Israel's responsibilities are to withdraw its forces to the borders that existed before the Intifada and improve the living conditions for the Palestinians.''

    ''The United States is now trying to declare the day when the cooling period will start. But first the clashes should end. As also Turkey knows from its experience with the PKK, fighting terrorism is extremely difficult, '' he said.

    Peres stated that the construction of Jewish settlement centers have been frozen. He indicated that this issue will be dealt with in the confidence building stage. ''We are not allowing the construction of new settlement centers. There could be no land annexation to expand these centers or these centers could not be set up outside the existing borders. Any building which will be built in this area needs the permission of the Defense Ministry,'' he said.

    [10] TURKEY-EU PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL MEETING ENDS -HUMAN RIGHTS AND CYPRUS QUESTION BECOME PRIOR ISSUES

    LUXEMBOURG - Human rights in Turkey and Cyprus question came forefront at the Turkey-European Union (EU) Partnership Council meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

    Foreign Minister Ismail Cem who represented Turkey at the meeting and Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh who headed the EU delegation held a press conference following the meeting.

    Lindh said that human rights, closure of the Virtue Party (FP), death sentence, prevention of torture, Cyprus question, right of expression and right for organization were discussed at the meeting.

    Lindh said that they were pleased with the warm atmosphere reached in Turkey-Greece relations.

    Guenter Verheugen, EU commissioner for enlargement, told reporters that important progress had been recorded in Turkey-EU relations, and they expected Turkey to adopt constitutional reforms especially about adjustment with the EU regulations.

    Regarding the closure of the FP, Verheugen said they believed that the Constitutional Court had taken a decision within framework of the Turkish Constitution but the main problem here was the Constitution itself and that they expected Turkey to make reforms in line with the Copenhagen criteria especially about freedom of expression and right to get organized.

    Verheugen added that it was important to find a solution in Cyprus before its full-membership to the EU.

    [11] STATE MINISTER TOSKAY SAYS INFLATION RATES IN JUNE WILL BE QUITE POSITIVE

    ANKARA - State Minister Tunca Toskay said on Tuesday they estimated that inflation rates in June would be quite positive.

    He said that inflation rate for both the wholesale prices index (WPI) and consumer prices index (CPI) could be below 3 percent.

    Holding a press conference to introduce the Turkish Accreditation Authority (TURKAK), Toskay answered questions of reporters.

    Toskay said that the increasing trend in inflation rate would slow down in July and August.

    Responding to a question about the supplementary taxes package that the government was planning to implement, Toskay recalled that the non-interest budget surplus was a performance criterion and it was important to achieve this target.

    Noting that supplementary taxes should be defined as measures aiming to remove slight deviations from the non-interest budget surplus target, Toskay said that wheat prices did not have negative effect on on this balance.

    Toskay said that only 168 trillion Turkish liras (TL) of source had been transferred to Eximbank since the beginning of the year to finance exports which was one of the most important factors for success of the program, and that they expected Treasury to transfer source to Eximbank from the external borrowing it would make in July.

    Toskay added that Eximbank had applied to international market to get a 75- 100 million U.S. dollars loan and that it could obtain more syndicated loan if there would be appropriate conditions.

    [12] TURKEY-EU PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL MEETING ENDS (2) -FOREIGN MINISTER CEM: ''CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS ARE ON TOP OF THE PRIORITY LIST OF THE GOVERNMENT'' -''EVERYBODY SHOULD DO HIS BEST FOR CYPRUS ISSUE'' -''ESDI IS NOT A MATTER BETWEEN TURKEY AND EU''

    LUXEMBOURG - Foreign Ministen Ismail Cem said on Tuesday that immediate adoption of constitutional reforms in Turkey was on the top of the government's priority list.

    Cem held a joint press conference with European Union (EU) Term President Sweden's Foreign Minister Anna Lindh and EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen following the Turkey-EU Partnership Council meeting in Luxembourg.

    Stressing that the government attributed importance to democratic pluralism and freedom of expression, Cem said that the government targeted to make necessary constitutional change to make closure of political parties difficult.

    Noting that immediate adoption of constitutional reforms was on the top of the government's priority list, Cem recalled that closure of political party had come onto the agenda also in Europe, and that Europe faced closure of a political party when it threatened public order and democratic system, and there were political parties which had been closed in Europe due to their neo-Nazi opinions.

    Cem said that moratorium had been implemented in Turkey for a long time regarding the death sentence and abolition of death sentence in medium term was among the targets of the government.

    Stressing that torture allegations were exaggerated, Cem said that the state did not make torture in Turkey systematically and this was accepted in the reports of the Council of Europe Prevention of Torture Committee.

    Cem said that there were not rectrictions in television broadcasts in practice although there were some legal restrictions.

    Recalling that Cyprus question was a difficult matter for Turkey, Greece and relevant sides, Cem said that they believed everbody should do his best and extend every possible effort.

    Cem stressed that the EU should encourage the Greek Cypriot side for solution of the issue.

    Recalling that there were misunderstandings about the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI) matter, Cem said that this was not a matter between Turkey and the EU.

    Emphasizing that ESDI was a matter concerning the NATO allies, Cem said that they wanted implementation of the decisions taken at the summit meeting in Washington D.C. in April of 1999.

    Noting that they supported EU army, Cem said that also Turkey's concerns should be taken into consideration.

    Cem added that he had conveyed Turkey opinions about EU's future to his European colleagues at the meeting.

    [13] TURKEY-EU PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL MEETING ENDS (3) ''TURKEY SHOULD TAKE SOLID MEASURES FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PRIORITIES IN ITS NATIONAL PROGRAM''

    LUXEMBOURG - Turkey-European Union (EU) Partnership Council, in a press statement made at the end of the meeting on Tuesday, asked Turkey to take solid measures for implementation of the priorities which are on its National Program.

    The statement indicated that there would be no turning back from the enlargement process and said the EU welcomed the Guthenburg Summit's decision which confirmed that Turkey made significant progress in implementation of its pre-accession strategy.

    It was said that today's meeting was beneficial to review Turkey's progress and decide on the priorities in the future activities which are part of the Partnership Agreement.

    The statement indicated that the Turkey-EU Partnership Council was briefed about the economic and financial situation in Turkey and that the council supported the Turkish government's efforts to enforce a national economic program.

    It was also reported that the frame regulations regarding the financial aid which will be provided to Turkey would be accepted latest by the end of this year.

    The statement said that the requirements of the Partnership Agreement including the customs union were reviewed. ''It is important that the acceleration in this matter is maintained and all commitments of Turkey are fulfilled,'' it was stated.

    In the last part of the joint declaration, it was stated that the role Turkey is going to play until it joins the EU was very important.

    Following the Partnership Council meeting, Foreign Minister Ismail cem and his delegation left for Brussels.

    (end)


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