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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 00-01-16

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

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


[01] AA News

16 January 2000 Sunday

[02] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on January 16, 2000. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their occuracy.

HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

IT WILL BE FOR HIS INTEREST IF APO KEEPS QUIET
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said, ''if serious steps are taken to incite separatist terrorism, we will show necessary reaction immediately.'' Ecevit also gave the messages that ''it will be for the benefit of Apo, Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the terrorist organization, to keep quiet.'' He also said, ''we can not accept their advice if there are requirements to make changes in the Constitution, regime, and democracy. It would be in their interest to keep quiet. Normal Constitution process determines the process.''

Ecevit said Peoples' Democracy Party (HADEP), and several organizations which are seen as the legal extension of terrorist PKK organization should be very careful. Ecevit pointed out that terrorist PKK organization and the circles supporting it had the tendency to see HADEP as the extension of their separatist targets. Ecevit also urged HADEP administrators not to let the party be used as ''the political extension of separatist aims.''

DEMIREL PROPOSES CAUCASUS STABILITY PACT
President Suleyman Demirel called on the European Union (EU), and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) countries to establish ''Caucasus Stability Pact'', that will take security, peace, and stability in the Caucasus under international guarantee.

MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

NO MONEY TO DEMOLISH DAMAGED BUILDINGS IN ISTANBUL
Residents of Dundar street in Istanbul's Avcilar district are constantly living with the fear of a collapse of three buildings which suffered serious damage in the quake. Avcilar Municipality first told people that they would come to demolish the buildings and later they said it was the duty of the Ministry of Housing and Public Works. The damaged buildings can anytime collapse on the buildings across the street during an aftershock. Mehmet Yazici, the Deputy Mayor of Avcilar told Milliyet that they didn't have the financial resources to demolish the buildings.

ECEVIT BRINGS SOUTHEAST PACKAGE TO DAVOS
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said he would put forward a proposal which will enable the foreign investors to benefit from South East Package which was implemented in 1998. Ecevit told reporters that he would invite foreign investors to Turkey during his visit to Davos. ''I will explain them about the investment opportunities in Turkey. The 1998 law which encourages investments offers opportunities like free fields and electricity at lower rates to encourage investments in the south east,'' Ecevit said.

SABAH (LIBERAL)

FOREST DESTRUCTION TO MAKE UP FOR SALARIES
There are 20,000 workers working for the Ministry of Forest to protect forests. However there are no funds put aside to pay the salaries of these workers and they are paid from the circulating capital. The circulating capital receives its income from the sales of trees that are cut. The workers whose salaries total up to 1.5 trillion Turkish liras are cutting trees continiously so that the Ministry can pay their salaries regularly. Ministry authorities said a small size forest is sacrificed every month to pay workers' salaries.

CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

TOWARDS CAUCASIAN PACT
Turkey and Georgia proposed to set up a ''Caucasia Stability Pact''. Demirel said Caucasia and the Balkans had great similarities and a pact similar to Balkan Pact was needed in Caucasia. Demirel will send a letter to world leaders and express his concern about the spread of incidents in Chechnya. Demirel noted that Russia should not gain back power in the region. Three of the four problems that existed regarding Baku-Ceyhan pipeline were solved between Turkey and Georgia. The remaining problem about transit pay could be discussed or resolved during the meeting that will be held in Ankara on January 21-22, it was stated.

WE WILL RESTRUCTURE TURKEY
Altan Oymen, the leader of Republican People's Party (CHP) pointed out that Turkey had many structural problems which don't exist in other countries. ''The justice system rarely punishes people who are involved in corruptions, those who bankrupt banks never lose, on the opposite they win,'' Oymen said. Turkey needs restructuring, Oymen stressed.

RADIKAL (LEFT) ECEVIT WARNS TO BE QUIET
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said they would not accept any advice from Abdullah Ocalan and PKK supporters. ''It would be for their benefit to keep quiet,'' he said. Ecevit also noted some separatists have an inclination to see People's Democracy Party (HADEP) as an extension of PKK and warned HADEP executives to be careful. Ecevit also warned PKK supporters in the EU ''to behave''.

CHP SHEDS GREEN LIGHT TO EDUCATION IN KURDISH LANGUAGE
Republican People's Party (CHP) intensified its efforts to prepare a ''democratization package'' which includes some constitutional changes for the solution of the Kurdish problem. In the ''Kurdish report'' that was presented to the Central Executive Council (MYK), it was said that the Kurdish problem was a democracy problem. ''People of all ethnic origins and cultures should be able to learn, develop and protect their mother tongue, culture and folklore besides learning Turkish language. Those who wish should be allowed to receive education in their mother tongue. Bans on this field should be lifted,'' the report said.

TURKIYE (RIGHT)

LET US FORM CAUCASUS PACT
President Suleyman Demirel made a historic proposal in Georgia for the regional peace. Demirel said a ''pact'' should be established for the stability and security of the Caucasus. Pointing out that the Caucasus, which is a stage to hot clashes almost in every period, was a key for peace. Demirel said, ''this is a historic proposal. This issue was brought to the agenda during Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit. Prosperity should be shared equally in the region.''

''WE WILL PRESS THE BUTTON''
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said, ''we will carry out the execution, if the postponement is exploited.'' Speaking at a tv program broadcast in TGRT channel, Ecevit pointed out that, ''we will do what is required if they launch efforts to politicize terrorist PKK organization. We will not accept insistencies.''

ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

NO PROBLEM IN BAKU-CEYHAN
President Suleyman Demirel, who spoke on the plane on his return from Georgia, said Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline will be concluded sooner or later. He said the last meeting will take place on January 21.

[03] PRESIDENT DEMIREL RETURNS TO ANKARA - ''THERE ARE NO PROBLEMS REGARDING BAKU-CEYHAN PIPELINE''

ANKARA - President Suleyman Demirel said the last meeting regarding Baku- Ceyhan oil pipeline will be held in Ankara on January 21 and noted that ''there are no problems regarding the pipeline''.

Demirel returned to Ankara following a two day official visit in Georgia.

Demirel told reporters at Ankara's Esenboga Airport that relations between Turkey and Georgia has been on an excellent track since Georgia gained its independence and he agreed with his Georgian counterpart Edward Shevardnadze to deepen the economic, military, commercial and cultural cooperation that presently exists between the two countries.

Demirel noted that both sides expressed willingness to support each other in the international field. During the meetings they also discussed development of economic relations and measures that should be taken to enable Turkish enterpreneurs to make investments in Georgia to contribute to the development of this country.

Shevardnadze and Demirel also attended Turkish-Georgian Business Council meeting and agreed to start some initiatives which will be for the benefit for both Turkey and Georgia in regional and international matters.

''Georgia's territorial integrity, stability and political unity are indispensible factors for peace in our region,'' Demirel said.

President Demirel also noted that he and his Georgian counterpart discussed peaceful solutions that will give an end to the incidents in Chechnya that threatens peace and stability in the whole region.

''There are no problems regarding Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and the last meeting will be held in Ankara on January 21. In this meeting the price lists will be discussed among the three states. Later these countries will presenst these agreements to their parliaments,'' Demirel explained.

[04] PRESIDENT DEMIREL: ''BAKU-TBILISI-CEYHAN PIPELINE PROJECT TO BE CONCLUDED IN A MEETING THAT WILL TAKE PLACE ON JANUARY 21-22 IN ANKARA''

ANKARA - President Suleyman Demirel said on Saturday that Baku-Tbilisi- Ceyhan pipeline will be concluded in a meeting that will take place on January 21-22 in Ankara.

Speaking to reporters on the plane on his return from Georgia, Demirel said the visit was fruitful. Demirel noted that Turkey was interested in the Caucasus after the splitting up from the former Soviet Union.

Pointing out that peace in the Caucasus was extremely important, Demirel said, ''we, who came from those territories, now try to bring gas and oil from there.''

Responding to a question related with the problems about Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, Demirel said there were four problems on the issue, adding that three of them have been solved.

Demirel said Georgia will provide the security of the pipeline, adding that, ''as to the environment issue, Europe's standarts will be implemented. The fourth problem is the price list. A meeting will take place in Ankara regarding the price list. This meeting will be the last one.''

When asked if this will end here, Demirel said, it will be concluded. The sides of the price list were not with us. He said, ''the three sides of the price list will be discussed on January 21-22 in Ankara. This is not only an economic project, but a prestige project. Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey came together and succeeded in this. They can succeed in other things. This has to be shown to the world.''

Responding to a question about the Caucasus Stability Pact, Demirel said, ''it is something similar to Balkan Stability Pact. The region will feel relieved if this can be done.''

[05] PRIME MINISTRY CRISIS MANAGEMENT CENTER UPDATES DEATH TOLL AS 845 AFTER DUZCE EARTHQUAKE

ANKARA - Following the earthquake which hit Duzce on November 12 with a magnitude of 7.2, Prime Ministry Crisis Management Center announced the death toll as 845 on Sunday. A total of 4,948 people were also injured in the quake.

A written statement issued by Prime Ministry Crisis Administration Center said there are 3,395 buildings which have to be demolished immediately in the area. About 13,000 apartment buildings and 2,450 work places also suffered considerable damage in the quake.

All settlement areas including villages were given electricity and no communication problems are experienced in the quake region.

In Bolu, the construction of 622 prefabricated huts finished and 352 of them have been given to quake survivors. More than 51,000 tents were also distributed to people.

Currently 6,201 personnel are working in the region. Red Crescent, Turkish Armed Forces and other institutions sent 198 mobile kitchens, 173 mobile showers, 2 bakeries and various amounts of beds, sleeping bags, blankets and heaters. Quake survivors are given warm food three times a day.

There are 273 doctors, 194 nurses and 918 assistant personnel working in the area. The Ministry of Health is distributing free medicine for the patients. There is no shortage of medicine or medical supplies.

About 2,010 military personnel are in charge in the disaster area. 956 personnel of the Rural Affairs General Directorate are working to haul away the rubble.

Foreign countries continue to send cash and supply donations for quake victims.

[06] BOMB ATTACK ON HURRIYET MEDIA TOWERS

ISTANBUL - Unidentified assailants staged bomb attack on Hurriyet Newspaper facilities early on Sunday morning. There are no reported casualties, yet two small lorries received financial damage.

The incident happened when unidentified assailants hurled bomb on the back garden of Hurriyet Media Towards at 03:00 in Ikitelli Gunesli district.

The bomb exploded giving financial damage to two small lorries.

Illegal IBDA-C organization claimed responsibility for the attack.

Efforts are under way to capture the assailants who fled after the attack.

[07] PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT: ''NOBODY CAN FEEL DOUBT ABOUT MY ATTITUDE TOWARDS PKK AND OCALAN''

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Sunday that nobody can feel doubt about his attitude towards terrorist PKK organization, and Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the terrorist organization.

Ecevit responded to the questions of reporters after attending a tv program.

When a journalist said relatives of martyrs reacted to his statements issued on Saturday regarding Deniz Gezmis, and asked, ''Deniz Gezmis was executed although he was not a terrorist who claimed lives. Will the government be able to take the burden of postponing the execution of Ocalan?'', Ecevit said, ''of course we can. We can feel the sorrow of the relatives of martyrs. Nobody can feel doubt about my attitude regarding terrorist PKK and Ocalan. Because Ocalan was captured in an African country in an operation which I ordered. He was brought to Turkey and tried. Nobody has the right to feel doubt about my intentions and views in this respect.''

When asked, ''opposition parties evaluated the decision, which was taken in leaders' summit that file of Ocalan will be sent to the Parliament in case actions of terrorist PKK continues, as a bargaining with PKK. What is your view?'', Ecevit said, ''no. On the contrary we have told them that we will not accept bargainings. Several circles supporting PKK terrorism and Ocalan try to bring forward several conditions. We said we will not accept them.''

[08] PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT SPEAKS AT ''SUNDAY PANOROMA PROGRAM'' (1)

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Sunday that prison on Imrali Island was not a rostrum of politics, adding that, ''it is impossible to tolerate Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the terrorist organization, to use there as a rostrum of politics.''

Speaking at ''Sunday Panoroma'' program broadcast on TRT 1 channel, Ecevit said there are inclinations to politicize separatist tendency as the cost of putting an end to terrorism. He said, ''this is the danger in fact. We will never allow this.''

Responding to a question about the decision taken by the government on January 12 regarding the capital punishment file of Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the terrorist organization, Ecevit said if the decision taken against the head of the terrorist organization is executed, he could become a false hero for some people, and that this will be against Turkey. He said his influence will diminish gradually.''

Responding to another question Ecevit said he felt uneasy over the statements of Ocalan which he made on Imrali Island through his lawyers. He said, ''Imrali prison is not a rostrum of politics. It is impossible to tolerate his attitude in using there as a rostrum of politics. He dares to give several political messages frequently through his lawyers. I would like to say that we will not tolerate this.''

When asked about the latest situation in terrorist organization, Ecevit said influence of Ocalan diminished in the organization after he was captured in Kenya and brought to Turkey, adding that it was impossible for him to keep his political effectiveness during the period of imprisonment.

Pointing out that several disputes appeared within terrorist PKK, Ecevit said, ''there are groups who want to put an end to terrorism, there are circles who want to focus on politicization, and there are also ones who want to continue terrorist actions. There may be several provocations. Measures will be taken against such actions. There may be tendencies to escalate terrorism again. Every probability should be considered.''

When asked about the conditions related with the starting of execution process that was included in the text disclosed during leaders' summit on January 12, Ecevit said, ''we should consider every kind of probability. Separatist terrorism should be ended before all. There is a regression in terrorism to a great extend, yet it has not been eradicated totally. They did not surrender arms. Some of the separatist terrorists are nested in Iran, some in Northern Iraq, and other countries. Despite the Repentance Law we have issued, number of terrorists who wanted make use of this law is not in a high level. So, we should be careful against the possibility of revival of terrorism. It is very natural that we take measures against these.''

Ecevit said there are inclinations to politicize separatist tendencies as the cost of putting an end to terrorism. ''This is the most dangerous thing. We will never allow this. Ocalan and his lawyers issue statements to this end. These are statements which focus on politicization, and dare to give advice to Turkey about regime. We can not tolerate these.''

[09] PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT SPEAKS AT ''SUNDAY PANORAMA'' (2) ''IF WE HAD DISREGARDED ECHR'S DEMAND TO POSTPONE OCALAN'S EXECUTION, SOME CIRCLES WOULD HAVE ABUSED THIS TO REVIVE TERRORISM''

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit who talked at a news programme ''Sunday Panaroma'' on TRT-1 said ''if the government had disregarded the demand of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and executed head of the terrorist organization Ocalan, some circles would have abused this to revive terrorism.''

Ecevit said the government should explain to the families whose sons were killed by the terrorist organization PKK, why the government decided to postpone Ocalan's execution. ''We are trying to explain this in our statements we make to the public. We would suffer more and more people would be killed if terrorism revives. There is a small separatist group left. Some of these are terrorists some are not. If we had rushed to execute Ocalan, this would have caused their reactions. And that would have negatively affected security in Turkey. Turkey would have faced very serious problems regarding its economy, foreign economy and foreign political relations. Why do families who lost their sons to terrorism are so much concerned about these issues? Because they are nationalist patriots. Therefore, any incident that might put Turkey in a troublesome position should also concern them. We must explain all these to people in a more effective way,'' Ecevit said.

Responding to a question about presidential elections, Ecevit noted that prolonging the office term of President Suleyman Demirel after May 12, 2000 would be for Turkey's benefit. ''Turkey who is presently facing some problems cannot tolerate political instabilities. I believe Mr. Demirel's experience would be an important factor. That's why I tried to bring it to public attention as early as possible,'' he continued.

''A constitutional change is required if Mr. Demirel's term in office will be prolonged. Two terms of five years are suggested for the new president which will of course cause debates. Of course in the Parliament, there could be many people who would qualify to become a president. However Mr. Demirel has a very important quality: He is seeking for new formations in our region. New states were founded in Caucasia and in the Balkans. Turkey's region and field of interest have expanded. But there are problems in the region. It was observed in the last few years that Demirel had the greatest contribution to the solution of these problems,'' Ecevit noted. He noted that Demirel almost became a natural leader in the region and added that this situation offers great opportunities to both Turkey and its region.

When asked if he felt uneasy about criticisms directed against him and Demirel about staying in Turkish politics for very long years, Ecevit said ''all measures were taken to wipe us off from politics. But both I and Demirel continue to be in politics. We have no bad intentions for doing that.''

Democracy was interrupted many times since 1960 which made it difficult for politicians gain experience. ''But now we are in a period in which democracy will not be interrupted. We have arrived to a stage where we can solve problems through discussion. Therefore I believe new politicians and leaders will emerge in the years to come,'' he commented.

When asked to comment on people's electing the president or Turkey's switching to presidential system, Ecevit said they didn't support these alternatives.

''Some very serious problems may arise. There could be serious conflicts among the Parliament, the government and the presidency. I think the Parliamentarian system could be more beneficial for Turkey. If the founder of the Turkish Republic Ataturk wanted presidential system, he could have easily done that. Plus he would have become the most influential President with the greatest authority. But he didn't even give it a thought. He thought parliamentarian system would be more healtier. I think the reasons for that are still valid in Turkey.

All the previous presidential elections had problems. But I have no worries about this one. We could find a solution. I am trying to produce ideas to find the best option,'' Ecevit said.

[10] PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT SPEAKS AT ''SUNDAY PANOROMA PROGRAM'' (3)

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Sunday that economic development of Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia regions should be speeded up.

Ecevit responded to the questions at ''Sunday Panorama Program''. When reminded previous projects regarding Southeastern Anatolia region, and asked what could be done to increase the welfare of the people of the region, Ecevit recalled that 56th government had prepared a comprehensive bill to encourage productive investments in Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia regions. He said economic development of Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia regions should be speeded up. Ecevit also said return to the villages was also important.

Pointing out that continuation of terrorism made this difficult, Ecevit said, ''the villages and arable fields are disorganized there. It is impossible for the state to support all of them. If they can be gathered and turned into settlement units having communication with each other, they can reach facilities more easily and with a lower cost.''

Ecevit said they attributed great importance to these regions within the framework of education reform, adding that, ''concrete steps have been taken so far.''

Recalling that emergency rule has been lifted in two provinces in the period of 57th government, Ecevit said it may be lifted in other provinces if terrorism continues to diminish.

Ecevit stressed that they encouraged foreign investments to the region, adding that he will stress this during World Economic Forum which will take place in Davos. Pointing out that several steps have been taken to put an end to feudal structure in the region, Ecevit said, ''this structure which continued for centuries can not be ended in two or three years. Another measure we have to take is giving a new status to village guards. We will save them from the historical and feudal links and encourage them to have more productive contributions.''

Ecevit said they never considered the Southeast problem as only a problem of security, adding that they considered it as an arragement where security and development will improve together.

When asked about his relations with the coalition partners, Ecevit said, ''there is a great harmonisation in works of the government which leads to the suprise of the world. I have always pointed out that I regard compromise as the obligatory element of democracy. We continously carry out dialogue. We convene frequently.''

Prime Minister Ecevit said improvement was very slow in fields where the political will is not effective enough, and showed the protocol signed a while ago regarding improvement of security and conditions in prisons. Ecevit went on as saying this protocol which continued for eight years, was concluded and signed in 1.5 hours.

Pointing out that the agenda of the meeting in Davos will focus on Turkey, Ecevit said, ''the World finance circles are interested in the things going on in Turkey. They had a concern that a crisis may erupt in Turkey because of Ocalan and terrorist PKK. This is not because they exaggerated PKK, or attributed a special importance to Ocalan. On the contrary sensitive balances could be spoiled if a new crisis erupted in Turkey. They had concerns to this end, so they speak positively about the compromise we reached on January 12.''

[11] PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT SPEAKS AT ''SUNDAY PANORAMA'' (4) ''I BELIEVE INFLATION WILL START DROPPING RAPIDLY IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS''

ANKARA- Prime Minister Ecevit said he believed the inflation would start dropping rapidly in the next few months and the government would not let civil servants to suffer from high inflation rates.

Ecevit who spoke at a news programme ''Sunday Panorama'' on TRT-1 said the government will make up for the loss which the civil servants will suffer if the government fails to pull down the inflation to the targeted level.

''We will definitely make up for it. We will not let civil servants suffer from inflation. We know that salaries of civil servants are very low. Plus, there are some very big gaps in incomes in the public sector. Some officers receive relatively very high salaries but many of the civil servants have difficult living conditions. We definitely need an administrational reform. I believe that the inflation will start plummeting in the coming months and if this doesn't happen, the government will definitely make up for it to civil servants,'' Ecevit explained.

''I think, this might take a few months. We have already seen its first indications in the interest rates. The interest rates started to drop. We have to be patient for a couple of months. Then we will be more comfortable, '' he added.

Speaking about the earthquake victims, Ecevit said ''great steps were taken to meet the needs of these people through the contribution of the state, private institutions, civilian institutions and foreign countries.''

All prefabricated huts were completed in about 2,5 months and the government provided financial assistance to those who wanted to buy a residence.

''I don't know any other country which provided such extensive aid to quake survivors. For example, Japan is very sensitive about this issue. Still, according to what I was told by a Japanese authority, only the elderly, the sick and the very poor people were given aid in the last major earthquake in Japan. We offered various aid opportunities without any discrimination. Although we completed half of the prefabricated huts, half of them are still empty. Quake survivors still do not want to live in these huts. Moreover, people who want to live in these huts will be given dry food. Over 30,000 beds were assigned for these people in Turkey's holiday areas, '' Ecevit said.

When asked if the quake survivors filled these tourism facilities, Ecevit stressed that only 6,600 beds out of 30,000 were full. ''These areas are like paradise, they have all kinds of opportunities. Food and clothing are provided. Quake survivors are even given allowance. I begged them to go to these places. As the government, we did our best to convince quake survivors to live in these public facilities,'' Ecevit said.

''I am begging quake survivors not to risk their children's health in winter and go to holiday sites which are offered to them,'' he noted.

Responding to a question about prisons, Ecevit reminded that they signed a protocol a few days ago to solve the problems of prisons. He noted that they already started getting positive results of the protocol. Ecevit pointed out that there was a lack of coordination among related state institutions so far and the protocol also helped to overcome this problem.

Radical changes are needed in the architecture of prisons, he said. ''Unfortunately, a few years ago, a big mistake was made and the ward system which host also political inmates was made common. These wards became the headquarters of terrorists. They have all kinds of weapons, faxes and telephones. They are trying to run Turkey from the prison. We must definitely end the ward system,'' he stated.

Responding to a question about the amnesty law, Ecevit said ''the government would soon find a way to bring this to a solution.''

When asked how long it would take to pass some laws that have been waiting in the Parliament, Ecevit stressed that the Parliament was working at ''an extraordinary pace'' but added that it might take some time to pass some laws.

About the assasination of journalist writer Ahmet Taner Kislali, Ecevit said ''unfortunately there were no concrete developments'' to find Kislali's murderers. ''Similary, murders of Ugur Mumcu, Bahriye Ucok and Muammer Ersoy were not clarified. There are some troubles in certain areas which we could not overcome despite all efforts.'' When asked if Kislali's murder could have any links with overseas countries, Ecevit said he couldn't say anything certain until they reach a definite result, although they have some suspicions.

[12] FOREIGN MINISTER CEM SPEAKS TO DAILY TO VIMA: ''TALKS BETWEEN TURKEY AND GREECE WILL FORM LEGAL BASIS OF BILATERAL RELATIONS''

ATHENS - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Sunday that agreements which were reached as a result of the talks carried out between Turkey and Greece will form legal basis of a new relation between the two countries.''

Foreign Minister Cem made a statement to the daily To Vima newspaper published in Athens. Cem pointed out that talks between Turkey and Greece, which were carried out in a friendship and cooperation atmosphere, and which brought very positive results, revealed that the two neighbouring countries may succeed in many things if they have political determination and good will.

Cem said there was already good cooperation between Turkey and Greece in many areas, setting a foundation for future cooperation.

Cem said Turkey preserved what has been obtained so far, adding that it was seeking for ways for new cooperation. Foreign Minister Cem pointed out that further improvement of this rapproachment will be discussed during scheduled visit of George Papandreou, Greek Foreign Minister, to Ankara. Cem said, ''Improving the rapproachment provided between the two countries under the light of Helsinki decisions is our sincere wish.''

He said , ''I believe Greek-Turkish relations have reached a level maturity for us to tackle the core issues. We must not allow the past to be an obstacle. One thing is certain: our common fate unites us.''

Cem said, ''Turkey remains committed to solve all its differences with Greece with peaceful means and realises that Greece has the same commitment.''

Mentioning disputes between Turkey and Greece, Cem said there are several problems in the Aegean linked with each other, yet noted that Turkey was insistently looking for ways for a peaceful solution. He said Turkey proposed consultations to Greece to this end.

Pointing out that Turkey and Greece undertook commitments for a constructive process as of last July to provide cooperation on various issues, and that the joint work that was made as a result of it opened new horizons in Turkish-Greek relations.

Cem said cooperation model carried out between the delegations of the two countries showed that both countries may create a cooperation atmosphere, and noted that, ''at this stage, Turkey and Greece must be ready to face all the bilateral issues with honesty and without prejudice in order to reach a just and mutually acceptable resolution on the Aegean.''

Responding to a question about Turkey's candidacy to the EU, Cem said Turkey was accepted as the formal candidate of the EU in Helsinki without a condition and in a equal criterion with other candidates.

Cem said Turkey was conscious of its obligations stemming from its formal candidacy to the EU, and expressed Turkey's determination to fulfill these obligations soon. Cem also said the EU should fulfill several obligations against Turkey stemming from Helsinki summit.

FM Cem noted that Turkey regarded itself as a part of Europe more than seven centuries, and at the same time a part of Asia, adding that this position of Turkey formed a positive factor not only for itself but also for Europe.

Responding to a question related with ''Cyprus' membership to the EU'', Cem said there are two separate states on Cyprus. He said, ''as you know there are two independent states on Cyprus. None of them has the right to represent the other and the whole Island. This is a fact that can not be denied, and should be accepted by everybody.''

Cem said candidacy application made by Greek Cypriot side was a unilateral one, adding that it did not include Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. He said this issue and other issues may be brought to the agenda following an agreement that will be reached between the two states.''

Cem said bringing a solution with the superiority of Greek Cypriot side in administration of the Island will bring the result that Greece will be the stronger side, adding that, ''our joint mentality related with Cyprus and our old experiences show that such a solution will not work.''

Noting that the same mentality was valid for a ''united Cyprus'' idea, Cem said, ''unification should not be interpreted as the superioty of one side to the other. Equal regime and administration method should be accepted to provide this.''

Cem said the embargo imposed by Greek Cypriot administration on Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was an inhumane one, and that this hindered developments on the Island.

A.A


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