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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 00-01-13
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From: The Anadolu Agency Home Page at <http://www.anadoluajansi.gov.tr/>
 AA News
13 January 2000 Thursday
 TURKEY-PRESS SCANThese are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on January 13, 2000. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their occuracy.
HURRIYET (LIBERAL)ALL THE ASSETS SEQUESTRATED
The balloon of Jet-Pa burst out. The Yenibosna Tax Department decided to put precautionary attachment on the assets of Jet-Pa holding worth of 40 trillion Turkish liras. The auditors who checked the registrations of the Corporate Tax given by the Jet-Pa, found out that the figures which were declared and the company's registrations were very different from each other. The total of the undeclared tax and the tax punishment reached 40 trillion Turkish liras.
ATATURK IS 'MILLENIUM'S PERSONALITY'
ALSO AYVAZ BROUGHT TO TURKEY
MILLIYET (LIBERAL)RELATIVES OF MARTYRS STAGE PROTEST
A group of the relatives of martyrs staged a protest during the funeral of Major Ufuk Bulent Yavuz who died in the operations carried out against the terrorist organization in eastern Tunceli province. The 'imam' warned the families of the martyrs not to make noise. Later, the families wanted to walk to the Prime Ministry where the leaders' summit would be held. However, the police prevented the families from walking to the Prime Ministry.
ERCEL: ''NO INTERVENTION TO INTEREST RATES FOR 18 MONTHS''
SABAH (LIBERAL)FAMOUS TENORS TO GIVE CONCERT FOR QUAKE SURVIVORS
Worldwide-famous tenors Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras and Andrea Becelli will give a concert in Turkey for the quake survivors. Nedim Tanrikulu, the Director of the Presidential Symphony Orchestra (CSO), said that they had asked the worldwide-famous tenors to give a concert in Turkey for the quake survivors. The tenors responded their proposal in the affirmative, Tanrikulu noted. Tanrikulu added that the tenors who each take 200,000 U.S. dollars per concert, made a gesture and said that they would not take any money to give a concert for the quake survivors.
DUPONTSA STARTS OPERATION
CUMHURIYET (LEFT)CONDITIONAL DELAY
Coalition government partners reached an agreement. The Ocalan file will stay in the Prime Ministry till the final decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, Devlet Bahceli of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and Mesut Yilmaz of the Motherland Party (ANAP) discussed the future of Ocalan file which is very important for the future of the government. Following the seven-hour meeting, Ecevit announced that the file would be put on hold in Prime Ministry till the end of the process stemming from international commitments. In order to relieve the MHP group, the sentence saying, ''the process of delaying will be cut immediately and the process of hanging will start in case the delay is tried to be used against the high interests of Turkey'' was added into the statement of Ecevit.
ENERGY AGREEMENT WITH GREECE
ZEMAN RESIGNS TOO
RADIKAL (LEFT)HISTORICAL COMPROMISE
Devlet Bahceli of the MHP who resisted for hours in the summit meeting of the leaders was persuaded with intelligence reports saying that terrorism would increase in case of execution of Ocalan. The file will be put on hold in Prime Ministry till the decision of the ECHR. In order to remove Bahceli's concern that ''delay can be understood as a concession'', the leaders decided that ''the process of hanging will start immediately if the delay is exploited by terrorists against Turkey.'' The decision about whether of not the delay was exploited will be taken also by the leaders.
NOW WE BECOME EUROPEAN!
TURKIYE (RIGHT)ATATURK IS MOST IMPORTANT PERSONALITY OF MILLENNIUM
John McLaughlin, the leading U.S. journalist and presenter of the prominent''McLaughlin Show's'' on the PBS Television Channel, proclaimed Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey, as the most important personality of the millennium. This announcement infuriated the Greek associations in the U.S.
GREAT ANGER IN FUNERAL
GREEN LIGHT TO OUR RATING
ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)POSTPONEMENT TO HANGING OF OCALAN
In the end of the leaders' summit which lasted for seven and a half hours, the leaders decided to 'postpone the legal process' in the case of Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the terrorist organization. However, Ocalan's file will immediately be sent to the parliament for ratification in case of an abuse. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said that the Ocalan file will immediately be sent to the Parliament for the required procedure when the process stemming from the Constitution and international committments is finalized.
QUAKE SURVIVOR DIES DUE TO COLD WEATHER
 U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE GROSSMAN, SAYS REAL AND ESSENTIAL TALKS ON CYPRUS STARTWASHINGTON D.C., Jan 13 (A.A) - Marc Grossman, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, said on Wednesday that the real and essential talks on Cyprus started in New York, the U.S. last month.
Grossman staged a press conference about the ''U.S.-Europe Relations.''
Responding to a question, Grossman noted that the presidential elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in April 2000 would not constitute an obstacle for the real and essential talks on Cyprus.
The real and essential talks on Cyprus started last month, and would continue at the end of this month, Grossman added.
A solution on Cyprus was in the interest of both sides, Grossman stated.
Grossman stressed that the exclusion of Turkish Cypriots from the European Union (EU) process was a shameful situation.
The Cyprus talks have started and this is not a thing which can be underestimated, Grossman emphasized.
Grossman pointed out that the basic issues will be discussed at the end of January and in the third round talks.
They want a bi-zonal and bi-communal federation on Cyprus but this is not the target of everybody, Grossman said.
Grossman noted that they want the increase of the contacts between the two sides on Cyprus in the short term.
He read news saying that the two sides had decided to restore a monastary and a church, and he welcomed this news; Grossman stated.
Grossman said that the Cyprus talks were staged because the G-8 countries, United Nations, and both sides on Cyprus thought that the Cyprus question had not been solved.
When asked about the U.S. attitude towards the presidential elections in Turkey, Grossman said that they support democracy in Turkey and the choice of Turkish nation.
 TURKEY STARTS POLITICAL CONSULTATIONS WITH EUBRUSSELS, Jan 13 (A.A) - Turkey started on Wednesday the political consultations of 2000 with the European Union (EU).
Turkey is participating in these political consultations which are taking place in Brussels, as a 'candidate member' for the first time.
Thus, Ankara started to participate in the political dialogue organs and the EU institutions in the direction of the decisions taken at the Helsinki Summit.
Turkey was represented by Resit Uman, the Foreign Ministry Eastern Europe Department Deputy Director General, in the Eastern European and Central Asian Working Group Meeting on Wednesday.
Also, the EU Commission, EU Council, EU Troika (former, present and future term presidents, Finland, Portugal and France), the representatives of the 15 EU countries, the experts of 12 candidate members, and the experts from the Greek Cypriot side joined the meeting.
The representatives of the EU said that they welcome the participation of Turkey in the political consultations.
Concerning the request of the EU Council Secretariat, Uman informed the participants about the Central Asia.
The participants wanted to receive information about Turkey's ideas by taking into consideration Turkey's closeness to the Central Asia, and her relations with this region.
Uman proposed the participants to assume a patient and constructive attitude towards the Central Asia and to improve the relations with this region.
The political consultations which target at reaching compromise and harmony between the EU and the candidate members, will continue regularly.
The schedule and agenda of the following meetings are as follows:
January 13 Western Balkans
January 20 OSCE
February 10 Security
February 17 Drugs
February 23 United Nations
March 2 Human Rights
March 6 Disarmament
March 13-14 Analysis and Planning
March 16 Terrorism
March 27 Prevention of Proliferation of Nucleer Weapons
June 7 Trade of Conventional Weapons
Turkish officials drew the attention that these meetings in which Turkey participates as a candidate member for the first time, are important for the improvement of the political dialogue.
 TRADE WITH NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES TO GAIN IMPORTANCEANKARA, Jan 13 (A.A) - A delegation led by Foreign Trade Undersecretary Kursad Tuzmen will leave for Iraq on Friday.
Sources said the Turkish and Iraqi delegations would discuss new mechanisms for the improvement of trade between the two countries in the meeting to take place in Mosul.
Sources said Turkey would seek the opportunity to sell automotive and other sectors products in addition to foodstuffs and agricultural goods.
The 15th Term Meeting of the Turkish-Iranian Joint Economic Commission (JEC) will be held in Ankara between January 24-28.
The Turkish delegation will be led by State Minister Recep Onal and the Iranian delegation will be headed by the Transportation Minister in these meetings.
The situation after the limitation of the scope of border trade by Turkey, and the problems stemming from the natural gas deal are expected to be discussed in the meetings.
Energy, general trade, border trade, agricultural cooperation and problems that are faced especially in transition to Central Asia via Iran are the issues on the agenda of the meetings.
The last JEC meeting with Iran was held in Tehran in October 1998.
The economic relations with Syria which have been suspended for a long time due to its pro-PKK policy will be intensified.
Sources said the preparations for organization of JEC meetings started, recalling that the last JEC meetings with Syria were held in 1988.
A delegation including businessmen and high-level bureaucrats led by Kursad Tuzmen is foreseen to pay a visit to Syria in the first half of 2000, probably in May or April.
 COTTARELLI, IMF'S TURKEY DESK CHIEF, TO VISIT TURKEY IN FEBRUARYWASHINGTON D.C./ANKARA, Jan 13 (A.A) - Carlo Cottarelli, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Turkey Desk Chief, will visit Turkey in the second week of February 2000.
Officials told A.A correspondent on Thursday that the IMF delegation headed by Cottarelli will observe the prior implementations which should be fulfilled within the framework of the Stand-By Agreement.
The IMF delegation will inform the IMF Executive Board about its impressions in Turkey when it returns to Washington D.C.; the officials said.
The IMF officials noted that in case the Board approves the developments marked in Turkey, the IMF will release the other part of the loan which is worth of 305 million U.S. dollars.
The officials recalled that Cottarelli is the only person who ensures the link between Turkey and the IMF.
In case an IMF office is opened in Turkey, an expert from IMF Turkey Desk will work in Turkey; the officials added.
 COUNCIL OF EUROPE WELCOMES TURKISH GOVERNMENT'S DECISION ABOUT OCALAN, HEAD OF TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONSTRASBOURG, Jan 13 (A.A) - The Council of Europe welcomed Turkey's decision to postpone execution of capital punishment given to Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the terrorist organization PKK, until the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) takes a decision.
Hans Christian Kruger, the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, expressed satisfaction over Turkish government's decision on Thursday.
Kruger stressed that the Council of Europe attributed great importance to lift the death sentence, and noted that they expected Turkey to lift capital punishment as soon as possible.
The ECHR within structure of the Council of Europe, requested Turkey in November to delay execution of death sentence against Ocalan pending its judgement on the case.
 COUNCIL OF EUROPE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY: - ''TURKEY'S DECISION IS ENCOURAGING''STRASBOURG, Jan 13 (A.A) - The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly said on Thursday that Turkey's decision to postpone execution of capital punishment given to Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the terrorist organization PKK, until the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) takes a decision, was encouraging.
Russell Johnson, the President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, stressed that the Turkish government's attitude was a sign of the importance which it attributed to the Council of Europe.
He stressed, ''this is a couragous decision which comforts all those who work to abolish the death penalty in Europe.''
Johnson also voiced hope that it was a first step towards abolishing the death penalty in Turkey.
 SCHUESSEL, TERM PRESIDENT OF OSCE: - ''TURKEY'S POSITIVE DECISION IS VERY IMPORTANT AFTER TWO SUCCESSFUL SUMMITS''VIENNA, Jan 13 (A.A) - The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) welcomed Turkey's decision to postpone execution of capital punishment given to Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the terrorist organization PKK, until the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) takes a decision.
Wolfgang Schuessel, the Foreign Minister of Austria, the Term President of the OSCE, said on Thursday that Turkey's positive decision was very important after successful OSCE and European Union summits.
Responding to questions of the A.A correspondent, Schuessel emphasized that there was no place to capital punishment in an order of law having European standards.
 FOREIGN EXCHANGE RESERVES OF CENTRAL BANK INCREASE TO 23.9 BILLION U.S. DOLLARSANKARA, Jan 13 (A.A) - The foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank increased to 23 billion 995 million U.S. dollars.
The Central Bank data shows that the foreign exchange reserves, which climbed by 760 million U.S. dollars between December 30 and January 7, increased to 23 billion 995 million U.S. dollars as of January 7.
The Central Bank's foreign exchange reserves were 23 billion 235 million U.S. dollars on December 30.
Meanwhile, according to the 24 December-based statistics, Turkey's total international gross reserves decreased 583 million U.S. dollars to 38 billion 652 million U.S. dollars between December 17-24.
The international gross reserves of Turkey were 39 billion 235 million U.S. dollars on December 17.
As of 24 December, Turkey's international reserves were composed of 1 billion 11 million U.S. dollars in gold reserves; 23 billion 374 million U.S. dollars in the Central Bank's foreign exchange reserves; and 14 billion 267 million U.S. dollars in the commercial banks' foreign exchange reserves.
 FOREIGN DEBT PAYMENTS - 206.5 MILLION U.S. DOLLARS PAID IN FOREIGN DEBT SINCE JANUARY 1, 2000ANKARA, Jan 13 (A.A) - Turkey has repaid a total of 206.53 million U.S. dollars of foreign debt since the beginning of this year.
The Central Bank data shows that the Treasury paid 175.55 million U.S. dollars; the Central Bank repaid 16.35 million U.S. dollars; and the Ministry of National Defense and the Defense Industry paid 14.63 million U.S. dollars in foreign debt between January 3-12, 2000.
Meanwhile, the total foreign debt repayment had been 12 billion 494.21 million U.S. dollars in 1998, and 12 billion 556.89 million U.S. dollars in 1999.
 PRESIDENT DENKTAS OF THE TRNC: - ''WE STRIVE TO HOLD NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE EU EQUALLY''LEFKOSA, Jan 13 (A.A) - President Rauf Denktas of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Thursday that they strived to hold negotiations with the European Union (EU) equally.
President Denktas visited General Sukru Sariisik, the Commander of the Turkish Peace Forces, and General Ali Nihat Ozeyranli, the Commander of the
TRNC Security Forces.
Addressing the meeting, President Denktas noted that the new year and the Id al-Fitr holiday which marks the end of holy month of Ramadan, were celebrated in peace thank to soldiers who provided peace and democracy in the country.
President Denktas stressed, ''a new and sensitive atmosphere emerged after announcement of Turkey's candidacy to the EU. We strive to ease Turkey's works and to hold negotiations with the EU equally.''
President Denktas voiced hope that the proximity talks which will be resumed in Geneva, would be successful.
 DENKTAS RECEIVES CHP LEADER OYMEN - DENKTAS:''GREEK CYPRIOTS AND GREEKS ARE WORKING ON A NEW PLOT AGAINST TURKISH CYPRIOTS''LEFKOSA, Jan 13 (A.A) - Rauf Denktas, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Thursday that the Greek Cypriots and Greeks were working on a new plot against the Turkish Cypriots to make the Turkish Cypriots join the EU as individuals, rather than citizens of the TRNC.
Denktas, when he received Altan Oymen, the leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and his delegation who are visiting TRNC, said he was very glad that the Cyprus was an issue above all parties in Turkey.
Speaking about Greek Foreign Minister Yorgo Papandreu's statements, Denktas reacted harshly against Greek Cypriots' and Greeks' preparations to open up a EU bureau in Brussels in Turkish-Greek Cypriot partnership. Denktas said the Greek Cypriots and Greeks were also planning to set up a second bureau in Brussels for non-government institutions which will have a condition of ''not having any links with the Turkish Cypriot administration'' which Denktas described as ''a big trap, a big Byzantian plot''.
Denktas stressed that these plans were a plot to destroy the Turkish Cypriots and asked all political parties to evaluate the present situation and warned people to be alert.
Denktas stressed that they cannot reach anywhere if the Greek Cyriots don't change their mentality. He also reminded of the U.S. President Bill Clinton's words ''there can be no going back in Cyprus.''
About the Greek Cypriot attempts to prevent Denktas's visit to Germany, Denktas said the Greek Cypriots tried to block his every visit to overseas and added that he hoped Germany would disregard the Greek Cypriots' unreasonable demands. The date of his visit to Germany is not yet certain and he is in contact with the German Ambassador to agree on a date, he noted.
CHP leader Oymen also stressed that the Greek Cypriots must change their mentality and added that they cannot obtain any results as long as the Greek Cypriots continue to claim themselves the sole governor of the island.
 GOVERNMENT DECISION TO DELAY EXECUTION OF HEAD TERRORIST - U.S:''DECISION IS MATTER OF TURKEY''WASHINGTON D.C., Jan 13 (A.A) - The U.S. said on Thursday that the government decision to delay the execution of head terrorist Abdullah Ocalan, is an issue that will be decided by Turkey.
Responding to a question about the issue, James Rubin, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs told a press briefing that Premier Ecevit announced that the coalition government wouldn't submit the file of terrorist Ocalan to the parliament for the approval of his death sentence till the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) gave its decision about the application of Ocalan. ''As we have stated from the beginning, this is an issue which Turkey has to decide in line with its internal law and her international obligations,'' he said.
The U.S. administration sources said in their private talks that they considered the decision of the Turkish government as positive.
 POLITICAL CONSULTATION MEETINGS WITH EUBRUSSELS, Jan 13 (A.A) - Political consultation meetings between the EU and the 13 candidate countries which started on Wednesday continued on Thursday in Brusssels. Turkey, since Wednesday, is joining the meetings for the first time as a candidate country.
The meetings which aim to strengthen political dialogue, are attended by EU Commission, EU Council, EU Troika (former, present and future Term Presidents Finland, Portugal and France), representatives of 15 EU member countries, experts of 12 EU candidate countries and Greek Cypriot administration.
In the direction of the Helsinki decisions, Ankara which started a dialogue with EU institutions, was represented by Ambassador Resit Uman, the Assistant General Director of Foreign Ministry's Eastern Europe department at Wednesday's meeting.
Thursday's meeting focused on Western Balkans and the participants evaluated the developments in this region and exchanged opinions. Taner Seben, the Head of the Balkans department of the Foreign Ministry represented Turkey during this meeting. Turkey's influence in the Balkans was emphasized as well as the region's significance for the EU's stability and security on Thursday.
The consultation meetings which target compromising and harmony about EU policies between the EU and the target countries will continue regularly.
The meetings will be about OSCE on January 20, security on February 10, drugs on February 17, United Nations on February 23, human rights on March 2, disarmement on March 6, analysis and planning on March 13 and 14, terrorism on March 16, prevention of spreading of nuclear weapons on March 27 and export of conventional weapons on June 7.
 TURKISH ARMED FORCES TO PARTICIPATE IN RED FLAG 2000 MANEOUVRE IN U.S.ANKARA, Jan 13 (A.A) - Ten planes, 39 officers and 53 junior officers will participate in the Red Flag 2000 maneouvre of the Turkish Air Forces which will take place in the U.S. between January 22 and February 5.
Turkish Air Forces Commandership said in a written statement that 6 F-16 C/D's, 3 KC-135 R tankers and 1 C-130 E plane will join the maneouvre.
The planes and the crew, will take off from Akinci and Incirlik airports on January 18, Tuesday. After a flight which is estimated to last for 20 hours and 40 minutes, the planes will land at Nellis Base of the U.S.
After the maneouvre, the Turkish planes will follow the same route back to Turkey on February 9.
The Red Flag maneouvres planned by the U.S. are carried out every year. The maneouvres are a realistic rehearsal of war in peace conditions and has no pre-planned scenerio or hints.
Turkish military units will carry out 94 sorties both during the day and night.
 PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT : ''IF WE DIDN'T ABIDE BY REQUEST OF ECHR REGARDING EXECUTION OF OCALAN, OUR RELATIONS WITH ALL EUROPEAN COUNTRIS COULD TURN INTO A STATE OF CRISIS''ANKARA, Jan 13 (A.A) - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Thursday that if the coalition leaders didn't abide by the request of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) asking for the delay of the execution of head terrorist Ocalan, the relations with all European countrs could turn into a state of crisis.
Ecevit said that if this delay process is manipulated by certain internal and external circles against the interests of Turkey, they will stop the process.
Responding to questions in state-run television channel TRT-1 about the decision of the government to delay the execution of Ocalan, Ecevit said that ''first of all Turkey has done the things that must be done stemming from international relations and the legal documents that bind her.''
Ecevit reminded that Turkey accepted the individual petition right to the European Commission of Human Rights in 1987 and the jurisdiction of the ECHR in 1990. Ecevit added that the protocol regarding the transformation of the two institutions into ECHR entered into force in 1997.
The Constitution foresaw that the international agreements which are put into force in accordance with procedure have the effect of law, Ecevit said and added that ''in that respect international agreements are equal to the laws.''
It was once again seen by the world particularly by Western Europe that Turkey respects international law, said Ecevit and added that ''when we decided to abide by the request of delay, we clearly announced that we didn't accept it unconditionally. If this process of postponement is manipulated by internal or external circles, for instance by provocations to revive separatist terrorism in Turkey, then we will decide to end that delay.''
The final decision about Ocalan won't change, said Ecevit, adding that the file of Ocalan will certainly be sent to the parliament and ''the internal remedies has been exhausted in Turkey and at the end of the process of delay, the parliament will give its own decision whether by approving or disapproving the execution. I believe that our citizens have the view that peace will further broaden in Turkey by this decision.''
The legal process continues, although the internal remedies were exhausted for the case, Ecevit said and added that ''the parliament thinks that we are right in accepting the request of ECHR. If this was an act which violated the authorities of the parliament or it was against the Constitution, the parliament wouldn't permit that.''
''I also like to point out that we share the pain of martyrs' mothers, children and families. If we didn't take that decision yesterday, Turkey could give new martyrs. I want all martyrs' families to be sure of the fact that the governments of the Turkish Republic won't permit the division of Turkey. Their sons didn't die in vain. Terrorism slows down and it can terminate completely at any moment,'' said Ecevit.
Ecevit stressed that non-governmental organizations, jurists and media have a great role in explaining the reasons of the government's decision to the public.
''If we acted in a way that could cause a crisis in political and social aspect, economy would also negatively be affected by that,'' Ecevit said and added that economy started to give positive signals. ''Our citizens trust the future of Turkey, they saw that the inflation will end and they invest in productive sectors,'' Ecevit noted.
The prices of oil derivates reduced by 5 percent, said Ecevit and added that ''many comments which were published in Europe today show that the respect of Turkey has further increased in Europe and in the world by the decision we took yesterday.''
''The meeting of us, the coalition leaders generaly last quite long and we discuss every aspect of issues. A process of compromise develops not only among the coalition partners but also between the government and the opposition and between the government and all the sections of society. We discussed all the aspects about the file of head terrorist Ocalan yesterday, '' he said.
When asked who wrote the document that was adopted at the coalition summit yesterday, Ecevit said ''it was a common statement.''
 PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT :ANKARA, Jan 13 (A.A) - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Thursday that the decision taken during the leaders summit would not affect the abolition process of the death penalty and added that ''the postponement only means to delay the execution of death penalty to a later date.''
Ecevit responded to questions that were posed to him on TRT 1.
When asked how the decision would affect the abolition process of capital punishment, Ecevit responded by saying ''It would not affect it by any ways. That is a separate issue.'' Ecevit noted that the abolition of capital punishment could be discussed in Turkey in the next one and a half or two years. ''The death penalty has gained an important place in Turkey's agenda. I, as the leader of the Democratic Left Party (DSP) can talk freely about this. Because my party, since very long time ago, has been against the capital punishment. This has nothing to do with Ocalan. We are against death penalty in principle. However, there are people who cannot get used to the idea,'' Ecevit said.
He stressed that continuing to implement capital punishment might have serious consequences. ''For example, we cannot bring some criminals who were caught in other countries to Turkey because of this. When we ask the European countries to return these criminals to us, they say they cannot do this becasue we still have death penalty. Therefore, facts about many crimes remain in the dark like Susurluk incident. Or as seen in the recent weeks, Turkey can try these people for very minor crimes. That person, even if he was involved in numerous murders, he can get away from the Turkish justice. This obstacle will be removed if we abolish death penalty. But as I said, our decision has nothing to do with this,'' he explained.
Speaking about the presidential elections, Ecevit said he would present a proposal package to the leaders and also exchange opinions with them.
For long time, he has been proposing a constitutional change which will increase the chances of President Demirel to prolong his term in office. ''This could be a 7+7 two presidential terms or it could be 5+5,'' he added.
Ecevit emphasized that it would be beneficial for Turkey if Demirel continues his services for some time and reminded that Demirel had great contributions to Turkey's relations with Central Asian countries, Caucasian republics, some former Soviet Union states and some Balkan countries. Demirel is seen as a ''natural leader'' in all these countries, Ecevit said.
''It would be very beneficial to develop our relations with those countries. Turkey will have great responsibilities to help to resolve the conflicts among these countries. We saw that Mr. Demirel achieved to do this. We have to take concrete steps now because we will have presidential elections in May. Then there will be a need for a constitutional change. Therefore we need to think and form an opinion now. Today Tansu Ciller, the leader of the True Path Party (DYP), during her visit, also said she agreed on this point. In the next couple of days, I will have meetings with coalition leaders as well as the leader of the Virtue Party (FP) where I will try to discuss this issue,'' Ecevit went on to say.
When asked what the government will later focus on, Ecevit said the government did very important things in the field of legislation and passed over 100 amendments or law drafts.
''There are important laws that need to be discussed in the Parliament. The adjustment law which aims to make the international arbitration easier must be discussed immediately. We prepared this and I signed it today. We are presenting it to the Parliament. This will be a prior issue as soon as the parliament convenes after recession. The government also prepared a new Turkish Civil Code,'' Ecevit said.
Economy has an important place in the government's agenda, Ecevit stressed.
''The inflation will drop to normal levels after chronical high inflation rates of long years. We started seeing the first indications of this. For example the interest rates decreased to 30 or 40 percents from 50 percent. The high inflation rate of 20 years cannot be terminated in 1 or 2 months but by the end of the first half of this year, we will start seeing concreate results,'' Ecevit said.
''Turkey gained respectibility through its success at the OSCE summit. Turkey was granted candidate status in the EU. As a result of this, we are expecting foreign capital flow to Turkey. We already began to receive pleasing news about this,'' he continued.
Ecevit reminded that there would be an economy meeting on January 27 in Sweden's Davos city to which he was invited. He noted that he will have the chance to come together and exchange opinions with the representatives of many multinational companies. ''We are getting very well prepared for the Davos meeting. We will brief them about the investment opportunities in Turkey. I believe that if we can make good use of this meeting, we will make big progress about developing build-operate-transfer implementations.
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