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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 00-01-20

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

From: The Anadolu Agency Home Page at <>

[01] AA News

20 January 2000 Thursday


These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on January 20, 2000. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their occuracy.


Illegal radical Islamist terrorist Hezbollah organization's house in Cenkelkoy district of Istanbul was just like a graveyard. Police recovered ten bodies in the house. Bodies of those who were killed by the Hezbollah organization, were buried in coal storage room and garden. The victims who were apparently strangled with rope after being tortured, were buried completely naked and their hands and feet were tied. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said that they would eradicate the terrorist Hezbollah organization. He met with Atasagun, the Undersecretary of National Intelligence Organization (MIT), General Buyukanit, the Military Adviser of the Prime Ministry, and Tantan, the Interior Minister. Tantan stressed that operations against the Hezbollah organization were underway.

Heavy snowfall continue to paralyze daily life and traffic in Ankara. A total of 450 traffic accidents occured in Ankara due to ice on roads. No casualties were reported in the accidents. Primary and high schools were recessed for two days. Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Meteorology said that the snowfall would continue on Thursday.


Marilyn Ware, the owner and President of the ''American Water Works'', a U.S. giant potable water production and distribution company, arrived in Istanbul as the special guest of President Suleyman Demirel. Speaking to reporters before proceeding to Ankara, Ware said that she would hold a ''general meeting'' with the President. Ware said she arrived in Turkey to closely follow the progress and initatives.

George Papandreou, the Greek Foreign Minister, arrived in Ankara for an official visit. Speaking to reporters at the Esenboga Airport in Ankara, Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister, said that there were positive developments between Turkey and Greece, recalling that Turkey and Greece rushed aid to each other following the devastating quakes last summer. Cem said that the relations between Turkish and Greek peoples had steadily improved during this process. Papandreou said in his part that he was paying a historical visit, adding that there were great expectations from the improving relations between the two countries. Noting that the first steps in the relations had been taken earlier, Papandreou said he considered the developments as a new born optimism.


Mesut Yilmaz, the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP), said, ''the Hezbollah organization cannot pose a vital threat against Turkey. Turkey has the adequate power to eradicate such terrorist organizations. Security forces have launched a successful operation, but it has not been finalized yet.'' Yilmaz added that he would bring the issue of transfer of Abdullah Ocalan, the head of terrorist organization PKK, from Imrali Prison, onto agenda of parliament on first occasion. Yilmaz said, ''Ocalan's imprisonment on Imrali Island stemmed from security concerns. But in time, I realized that an impression emerged in public opinion as if Ocalan has been granted a special privilege. I think that transfer of Ocalan to another prison after tight security measures are taken, might relieve the public opinion.''


Kamal Kharrazi, the Iranian Foreign Minister, said that Iran rejected the terrorist organization PKK and did not accept its actions. Kharrazi told reporters that Turkey knew Iran's foreign policy. The political will of Turkey and Iran was in the direction of improving the bilateral relations, Kharrazi noted. Kharrazi stated that the foreign policy of Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, was based on having good neighbourly relations, ensuring peace and stability and not interfering with the internal affairs of the other countries.


A tanker collided with a minibus carrying workers, in southeastern

Sanliurfa province. Six people were killed while 15 others were injured in the accident.

Operations against illegal radical Islamist terrorist Hezbollah organization are underway throughout Turkey. Nine members of the organization were arrested in Ankara. Police said that they might be linked to the assisination of Prof. Dr. Ahmet Taner Kislali, the former Culture Minister and a leading journalist.

Relatives of missing businessmen could not identify bodies which were recovered in a coal storage room of a squat in Uskudar district of Istanbul. Relatives of Izzettin Yildirim, Mehmet Salih Dundar, Mehmet Sehit Avci, Cihangir Gofrani, Mehmet Kanlibicak, Ramazan Yasar, Ismail Aksoy and Mehmet Sumbul who vanished several weeks ago, searched for their kins among bodies that were brought to the Forensic Medicine Institute. They said that the bodies had already begun to decompose, and could not identify them. Relatives of missing businessmen added that the victims had apparently been strangled with rope, their hands and feet were tied. The businessmen were believed to have been abducted by the illegal radical terrorist Hezbollah organization.

Suleyman Sahin, the leader of the illegal Turkish Workers and Peasant Liberation Army (TIKKO) is among four militants who were captured in Czech Republic.

Admiral Guido Venturoni, the Chairman of NATO Military Committee, will come to Turkey on Thursday as guest of General Huseyin Kivrikoglu, the Chief of General Staff. The General Staff pointed out that Admiral Venturoni would pay an official visit to Turkey between January 20-21. Admiral Venturoni will be received by Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit. He is scheduled to meet with General Kivrikoglu and Sabahattin Cakmakoglu, the National Defense Minister.


Non-governmental organizations in Southeastern Europe and in Balkans will convene in Salonica, Greece, between January 21-22. A Turkish delegation will attend the conference on ''Civil Society, Democratization, Participation and Stability Pact in Southeastern Europe''.


WASHINGTON D.C., Jan 20 (A.A) - The U.S. welcomed the agreement between the Turkish Rebuplic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the Greek Cypriot side to restore the Apostolos Andreas Monastery and the Hala Sultan Shrine.

Releasing a written statement on Thursday, James Rubin, the Spokesman of the U.S. State Department, said that the U.S. and the United Nations (U.N.) would financially support such an important initiative.

Meanwhile, Marc Grossman, the Assistant Secretary of State, staged a press conference last week to evaluate relations between the European Union (EU) and the U.S.

Addressing the press conference, Grossman said that such developments would increase understanding between the two sides on the island.

The U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the U.S., has undertaken the project to restore two higly significant cultural sites on Cyprus.

Hala Sultan Shrine was built in Larnaca in Greek Cypriot side in memory of Um Haram, an aunt of the Prophet Mohammed. The shrine is the reputed burial place of Um Haram.

The Apostolos Andreas Monastery in the TRNC is sacred to the Greek Cypriots.


TEHRAN, Jan 20 (A.A) - Kamal Kharrazi, the Iranian Foreign Minister, returned to Iran on Thursday.

Kharrazi told reporters that the contacts he held in Turkey constituted a new period for the bilateral relations.

He hopes that the bilateral relations will improve with the efforts and initiatives of the officials of both countries, Kharrazi noted.

Kharrazi stated that Iran and Turkey, which are two big neighbouring countries, can play an important role in the region.

The importance of the cooperation which is based on mutual interests were mentioned during the contacts held in Ankara, Kharrazi stressed.

Kharrazi emphasized that he, the Turkish businessmen, and the Iranian businessmen who were living in Turkey, discussed the ways to improve the trade relations, the present situation of the trade, and the existing problems.

Kharrazi rejected the allegations which said that the terrorist organization PKK has bases in Iran.

Iran will never permit the infiltration of the terrorists in her territory under the agreement which was earlier signed between two countries, Kharrazi added.


ANKARA, Jan 20 (A.A) - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Thursday that it was possible to solve Cyprus problem through dialogue.

Ecevit received George Papandreou, Greek Foreign Minister, today.

Papandreou expressed pleasure over being in Turkey as a Greek Foreign Minister after 38 years. During the talks, Papandreou focused on Cyprus problem as well as bilateral relations.

Prime Minister Ecevit pointed out that it was possible to solve Cyprus question through dialogue, and noted that rapproachment could be provided through relations in the field of economy, culture, and press.

Ecevit showed contributions of Abdi Ipekci, Editor in Chief of Daily Milliyet, who was assasinated, as example to the rapproachment through relations in the field of press. Prime Minister Ecevit recalled that both himself and Foreign Minister Ismail Cem were journalists in the past.

Cooperation against terrorism was also discussed during Ecevit-Papandreou meeting.

Prime Minister Ecevit also invited Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis to Turkey.


ANKARA, Jan 20 (A.A) - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou Thursday signed four agreements.

The two foreign ministers signed the agreements following the talks which lasted for 2.5 hours between the Turkish and Greek delegations. The agreements were, ''Tourism Agreement; Environment Agreement; Reciprocal Promotion and Preservation of the Investments; and Terrorism, Organized Crime, Illegal Immigration, and Struggle Against Drug Trafficking.''

The first phase of the dialogue process, initiated within the framework of the new period experienced in Turkish-Greek relations, was held in Ankara between July 26 and 27, 1999, and between July 29 and 30, 1999 in Athens. The second phase of the dialogue process was held in Athens in September 9 and 10, and in Ankara in September 15 and 16.

The two sides discussed tourism, trade, environment, trade, culture, regional cooperation, organized crime, drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and terrorism, and formed the basis of the agreements which were signed today.

Agreements of the other issues, taken up within the framework of Turkish- Greek dialogue, are expected to be signed during scheduled visit of FM Ismail Cem to Athens.


ANKARA, Jan 20 (A.A) - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Thursday that Premier Bulent Ecevit invited his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis to Turkey.

Cem and George Papandreou, the Greek Foreign Minister who is paying an official visit to Turkey, staged a joint press conference.

Cem said that the exact date of Simitis' meeting will be determined later.

The developments which has being marked between two countries in the recent days, are raising hopes; Cem noted.

Cem said, ''we believe that we can do more things together.''

At the beginning, both himself and the Greek minister were in a ''self- possessed approach''; Cem stated.

Cem stressed that they paid attention not to discuss some issues in front of the public opinion.

In the end, they have marked very significant developments, Cem emphasized.

Cem pointed out that Greek Foreign Minister assumes ''a very rationalist attitude which is full of knowledge.''

This attitude will have positive effects on the geography in which Turkey and Greece are situated; Cem said.

Cem noted that the positive effects of this attitude can be a better security, development, and democratization.

Cem said, ''I want to inform you about an invitation. Premier Bulent Ecevit invited Greek Premier Costas Simitis to Turkey. We hope Simitis will visit Turkey. The date of the visit will later be determined.''


ANKARA, Jan 20 (A.A) - Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Thursday that the agreements signed between Turkey and Greece were very important, and noted that important steps have been taken between the two countries gradually.

Addressing a joint news conference staged with Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, Papandreou mentioned improving relations between Turkey and Greece. Recalling that there are very difficult problems between the sides, Papandreou said relations were formed between the two countries gradually after Turkey's formal candidacy to the European Union (EU), and Helsinki process.

Stressing that the next step was very important, Papandreou said, ''we have taken important steps. These approaches are like a guarantee, at the the guarantee of our efforts to do our best. I see that there are opportunities despite the problems. We take important steps within the expanded family of the EU. Yet, these appraoches do not mean that there are not several expectations.''

Papandreou said besides the solidarity appeared between the two countries during quake period, there was cooperation between the governments stemming from cooperation, and noted that an important step has also been taken with the agreements signed today.

Pointing out that there was willingness in both sides to improve and to overcome the problems, Papandreou said, ''yet, we should carry out our works seriously, and with a cautious approach. We should display the same sensitivity. We can provide development only wit this way.''

Papandreou wished Cyprus to become a field of cooperation instead of being an issue of dispute, and noted that the sides can work together to create a democratic atmosphere in a broad geography like the Balkans, Middle East, and the Caucasus.

The Greek Minister thanked to Turkish and Greek sides for their contributions, and noted that, ''we could find the way for compromise due to the efforts of those friends. Some claimed that these agreements were not important, yet, these are important and required for cooperation in these fields.''

Papandreou said he will convey Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's invitation to Greek Prime Minister, and noted that the date of the visit will be determined soon.


ANKARA, Jan 20 (A.A) - A working group has been formed between Turkey and Greece; thus, relations between the two countries will be boosted.

Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, who staged a joint news conference with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, said the two countries formed a working group.

Cem pointed out that Greek side has several proposals regarding this group which is related with relations between Turkey and the European Union (EU).

Pandreou said the working group which has been formed, will discuss decisions of the General Affairs Council of the EU, and noted that thus improvement of Turkish-Greek relations will be provided.

Pointing out that there were several programs within the body of the EU, and that Turkey has already attended some part of these programs, Papandreou said they may work with the Turkish side in some of these.

Papandreou noted that very important issues like ''harmonization to the EU acquitisions, and changes in legal field'' wait for a country which is a candidate to the EU. He said experiences of Greece to this end may be beneficial within this framework. He said there may be two kinds of cooperation in implementation of legal reforms.

He said, ''the first one is theoretical structuring. Greece has experiences in this respect. Greece sends experts to the candidate countries. The second one is bilateral relations and seminars. We may also extend help in the fields of environment, energy, and agriculture.''

Papandreou also expressed the readiness of Greek commissioners, acting within the body of the EU, for joint studies to improve relations with Turkey.

Speaking about the agreements signed on Thursday, Papandreou said environment issue should be stressed, and noted that it was important not only for tourism, but also for the quality of life. He said the EU always attributed importance to environment, adding that Greece signed similiar agreements with other countries before.

Greek FM pointed out that the agreement signed in the field of drug trafficking and crime was also ''very important, and in the European standart''. He said the agreement related with the promotion of investments, which will make the business world of the two countries to rapproach, will also enable business circles to cooperate. Papandreou said, ''we may be able to maintain a very peaceful relation in the long term.''


ANKARA, Jan 20 (A.A) - Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister, said on Thursday that Turkey proposed military cooperation to Greece.

Cem and George Papandreou, the Greek Foreign Minister, staged a joint press conference.

They proposed Papandreou to set up a working group which will exert efforts in military issues, and this working group should include the diplomats and the military experts; Cem noted.

Cem stated that they want the implementation of the mutual military goodwill measures in the Aegean.

Cem listed these measures as the decrease of the military exercises, arranging visits between the fleets of two countries, and the exchange of information.

They also discussed the issue of diplomatic missions, and some new consulates can be established, Cem stressed.

Cem added that a working group which will discuss the diplomatic relations, will also be set up.

They can hold high-ranking bilateral contacts in the future, and the ministers of both countries can meet each other; Cem emphasized.

Cem pointed out that the concerned ministers can have cooperation.

Cem added, ''we want to have experience. We want to benefit from the experiences of our Greek colleagues and want to refrain from the mistakes we made in the past.''

Papandreou said that this proposal of the Turkish side is ''an indicator of a good will.''

He can call this a cooperation initiative in a more sensitive field, Papandreou noted.

Papandreou stated that he will inform Athens and the Greek Defense Ministry about the Turkish proposals.

Papandreou also made three proposals regarding the sports. He firstly proposed cooperation in soccer.

Mentioning that the European Football Championship which will be staged in 2008, can be held with the efforts of two countries, Papandreou stressed that elections will be held in the Greek Football Federation and that they can reach a decision following the elections.

Papandreou emphasized that to this end, he held contacts in the Greek Sports Ministry and the Greek Sports Minister is ready to meet with his Turkish counterpart.

Secondly, he met with the Chairman of the International Olympiad Committee; Papandreou pointed out.

Papandreou said that he wants to stage Peace Games within the framework of the International Olympiad Committee.

The Peace Games can firstly be staged between Turkey and Greece and later the other countries can participate in the games, Papandreou noted.

Papandreou stated that thus, they will use the sports for peace.

Thirdly, Athens will add a new cultural dimension to the Olympiads which will be staged in Athens in 2004; Papandreou stressed.

Papandreou proposed that Turkey should participate in this cultural dimension, including the theatre, music, and folklore.

Some activities in Turkey regarding Greece can also be held in Turkey and a cultural cooperation can occur; Papandreou emphasized.

Papandreou added that thus, a multi-lateral peace atmosphere can be created in the olympiads.


ANKARA, Jan 20 (A.A) - As talks carried out between officials of Azerbaijan and Georgia within the framework of Baku-Ceyhan pipeline project is blocked, the sides are expected to convene in Ankara on Friday.

Energy officials of Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, John Wolf Representative of the U.S. President Bill Clinton to Caspian basin energy policies, and officials of AIOC, operation company of the consortium, are expected to participate in the meeting.

John Wolf will proceed to Ankara from Askhabad on Thursday afternoon.

Irakli Menagarasvili, Georgian Foreign Minister, arrived in Ankara this morning together with Giorgi Canturia, Chairman of State Oil Company, and an accompanying delegation.

During the talks held between Azerbiajan and Georgia concerning the pipeline, there were problems on environmental protection, security of the pipeline, expropriation, and tariffs.

The disagreement between Azerbaijan and Georgia prevents the agreements to become legalized. Because of this, construction efforts could not be carried out on Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline project, which had to take effect as of January 1.

As an agreement could not be reached during the talks, this issue was discussed during President Suleyman Demirel's visit to Tbilisi in January. They decided the sides to convene in Ankara between January 21 and 22.

Demirel said Georgia will provide the security of the pipeline within its borders as the sovereign country, and that it will also make the expropriation.

Demirel had said, ''as to the environment issue, Europe's standars will be applied. The fourth problem is the tariff. A meeting will take place in Ankara for the tariff. Ankara's meeting will be the last one.''

The agreements are foreseen to be passed by the parliaments of the concerned countries in February.


ANKARA/LONDRA, Jan 20 (A.A)- The Salomon Smith Barney, an international counselling institution, said on Thursday that Turkish banking sector will face a world of new opportunities in case the structural reforms and the stability program which is supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), are implemented.

The Salomon Smith Barney evaluated the Turkish banking system within the framework of the latest developments.

The decrease in the interest rates and the new arrangements regarding the banks, forced the banking system to restructure itself, the Salomon Smith Barney said.

The Salomon Smith Barney emphasized that this decrease in the interest rates will continue.

The banks were negatively affected by this transition process, the Salomon Smith Barney noted.

The Salomon Smith Barney stated that this decrease in the interests will make the banks more vigorous in the long-term.

The necessity of domestic borrowing will lessen and the costs of the credits will decrease as the interest rates reduce, the Salomon Smith Barney stressed.

The Salomon Smith Barney emphasized that within this framework, the credit demands of the small and medium scale enterprises will decrease as the consumption credits are given.

The credit market will be accelerated as of the second half of this year, the Salomon Smith Barney pointed out.

The Salomon Smith Barney said that the revenues of the banks which are based on the treasury bonds, will continue until the third quarter of 2000.

The rate of the consumption credits will reach 4.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in three-year term, the Salomon Smith Barney noted.

The Salomon Smith Barney stated that some banks can still be included in the ''staff monitoring list'' of the Central Bank.

The banks which were transferred by the Saving Deposits Insurance Fund can be sold this year, the Salomon Smith Barney stressed.

The Salomon Smith Barney emphasized that within the framework of the restructuring of the banking sector, the banks will continue to improve their quality standards.

The joint venture of the banks will increase while the number of the banks which function at the moment, will decrease this year, the Salomon Smith Barney added.


ANKARA, Jan 20 (A.A) - The United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) prepared a Turkey report.

Recalling that two massive earthquakes had devastated populous and industrial Marmara Region on August 17 and November 12, the report said, ''the Turkish authorities reported that 132,750 people were sheltered in 109 tented camps in the four affected provinces. On average, almost 5 percent of the total population in the five affected provinces is sheltered in tented camps. Of the 31,010 tents in the area 29,084 of them are inhabited by families and social workers. The number of tents allocated for social services is 39 in the entire earthquake area. The total number of the showers is 1,272, which is equivalent to 1 shower for 104 persons living in the tented camps. The total number of the latrines is 2,326, which is equivalent to 1 latrine shared by 57 persons.''

The UNICEF stressed that the Turkish government planned to provide approximately 35 thousand prefabricated houses to accommodate approximately 151 thousand persons, adding, ''the Turkish private sector promised to donate 12,040 prefabricated houses to shelter approximately 54 thousand people. Jointly, some 47 thousand prefabricated houses are planned for construction to accomodate around 205 thousand persons. The Turkish government is well ahead of its construction target compared to the private sector as it has already reached 72 percent of its target, compared to 37 percent for the private sector. To date, 11,560 prefabricated houses have been occupied by families, indicating that an additional 1,868 families have moved within the last two weeks of December. It is estimated that a total of 52,020 people are now sheltered in prefabricated houses in the four affected provinces.''

It also added, ''with the exception of Sakarya province, the population sheltered in tented camps in Kocaeli, Yalova, and Bolu provinces is higher than the population in prefabricated houses. The huge discrepancy between the tented camps and prefabricated city population is Bolu province is related to the fact that Bolu was the epicentre of the latest earthquake, dated November 12, 1999. Therefore, the allocation of prefabricated houses for this area has been more recent.''


SOFIA, Jan 20 (A.A) - The Turkish-Bulgarian Business Council Sixth Term Meeting started in Sofia on Thursday.

Speaking in the opening session, Hasan Gemici, the State Minister, said that the economic and trade relations between Turkey and Bulgaria gradually improve.

Gemici called the Turkish and Bulgarian businessmen to have cooperation.

Turkey pursues an economic policy which foresees opening abroad and regional integration, Gemici noted.

Gemici stated that the necessary legal infrastructure for the improvement of the trade relations between two countries, exists.

They should benefit from this advantage, Gemici stressed.

Gemici emphasized that 18 Bulgarian companies are working in Turkey and this number does not reflect the real cooperation potential between two countries.

Gemici also asked the Bulgarian businessmen to invest in Turkey.

The contacts between Bulgarian and Turkish businessmen should be increased, and within this framework, a Turkish export goods fair will be opened in Sophia in June, Gemici pointed out.

Hristo Mihailovski, the Bulgarian Deputy Economy Minister, said that the businessmen of the two countries undertake responsibilities for the improvement of the cooperation.

The administration of both countries are ready to support the businessmen, Mihailovski noted.

Mihailovski added that what is important is the inflow of the businessmen and the implementation of the projects proposed by them.

The meeting in which more than 100 businessmen participate, will end on Saturday.


ANKARA, Jan 20 (A.A) - Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Thursday that Cyprus problem was discussed during his contacts in Ankara, and noted that, ''I hope support extended by the two countries to the U.N. sponsored proximity talks will continue.''

Papandreou and Cem responded to the questions of reporters following their joint news conference.

Responding to a question if Cyprus issue was discussed during their talks, Papandreou said it was taken up both with Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, and Foreign Minister Ismail Cem. Papandreou said Greece reiterated its position known by everybody, and that the sides extended support to the ongoing process.

Recalling that second tour of the proximity talks will take place in Geneva by the end of this month, Papandreou said Greece and Turkey, as the two guarantor countries, supported this process. Defining the talks as a positive step, Papandreou said Greece wants to remain as a positive factor.

Responding to a question how ''very difficult problems'', like the Aegean, could be solved, Papandreou said concerns of the two countries will be considered within the framework of the political consultations held between the ministries of the two countries, and that solutions will be produced.

Papandreou noted that tension in the Aegean was reduced in the recent period, adding that they will be in an effort to maintain this positive atmosphere from now on.

Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, responding to the same question, said Turkey evaluated the developments in a positive approach in the recent six months. He said, ''it is true that we have several sensitive and difficult problems. I don't know when these will be solved. Yet, when you look at the past, people would have laughed at us if we had said our relations would rise to this level. I don't want to mortgage the future.''

When asked if Greece will release the financial support that is under its veto, which it promised to give Turkey within the framework of the support on the EU, Papandreou said he would not be able to disclose a clear view as they had to wait for several proposals that will come from the EU Commission.

Recalling that Greece proposed to provide a financial support to Turkey during the EU Foreign Ministers unofficial meeting in Finland, Papandreou said the important funds were in question during the meeting. He said the package related with European strategy was released there.

Papandreou said revival of ''Wise Men process'' was brought to the agenda during his contacts in Ankara, adding that discussions were under way how to continue this process.


ANKARA, Jan 20 (A.A) - The World Bank asked on Thursday for the acceleration of the restructuring works in Turkey's energy sector.

The World Bank delegation which is headed by the chiefs of the agriculture and social security departments of the bank, continues its contacts in Turkey.

The delegation also asked for the implementation of the social security reform and the continuation of the agriculture reform as it was earlier planned.

The delegation requested the opening of new departments in the energy institutions, the passing of the laws regarding the arbitration and the acceleration of the privatization in the energy sector.

The delegation also requested the restructuring of the Social Security Agency (SSK), the Social Security Agency for the Self-Employed (Bag-Kur), the Employment Authority; the organization of the Pension Fund and all the mentioned other agencies under a single umbrella; and the establishment of an individual pension fund.

The World Bank delegation asked for the completion of the infrastructural works regarding the agricultural reforms and the continuation of the reform process as it was earlier planned.

Officials said that the World Bank delegation welcomed the meeting of the Agricultural Restructuring and Encouragement Council which was set up within the framework of the agricultural reform.

This meeting indicated the importance that the government attributes to the reforms; the officials noted.

The officials stated that the discussions regarding the three-billion U.S. dollar loan which will be given to Turkey, will start in February following the contacts of the World Bank delegation.

In case the World Bank Executive Board approves giving the loan to Turkey, Turkey will be granted 750 million U.S. dollars at the first stage.

The officials stressed that the World Bank financial sector experts will visit Turkey in the end of January.

The three-month staff monitoring reports of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be effective in the release of the three billion loan, the officials added.


ANKARA, Jan 20 (A.A) - Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Thursday that they will not tolerate terrorism, yet noted that they considered human rights and minority issues.

When asked about the view of Greece concerning terrorist PKK organization and the actions of the terrorist organization's in Greece within the framework of the agreement related with terrorism that is signed today, Papandreou said, ''our approach is the same with the EU to this end.''

Papandroeu pointed out the importance of struggling against terrorist actions, and noted that they will struggle against terrorism on its territories. He said, ''on the other hand, human rights, protection of minorities, and capital punishment are important for us.'' Recalling that capital punishment was abolished in the EU candidate countries, Papandreou said within the body of the EU, they were against capital punishment everywhere not only in Turkey.

FM Cem, responding to a question if the Aegean issue was discussed during the meetings, and a question about International Court of Justice in the Hague, said there was a positive atmosphere at the moment, yet noted that Turkey's views on sensitive issues, were still valid.

Noting that Turkey's position regarding the International Court of Justice in the Hague was known, Cem said, ''we think these issues should be discussed within the concerned articles of the U.N. Charter. We think all peaceful means should be used in case of misunderstandings and disputes.''

Recalling that the Court was one of these peaceful ways, Cem said there were many problems between the two countries for long years.

When asked about the military aspect of the talks, Cem reiterated the working group proposal which Turkey made to Greece.

Cem said they proposed the formation of a working group, that will be composed of military officials, defense ministry experts, and diplomats, within the framework of existing Political Consultation Committee.

Cem pointed out that this proposal, which was made within the initiative of Foreign Ministry, should be supported by defense ministries. Mentioning the importance of establishing a relationship between the two defense ministries within the framework of bilateral talks, Cem said they submitted the proposal to their Greek counterparts, and that the prosal will be evalauted by them.

Papandreou in the end of the press conference, mentioned the contribution of media in improvement of relations between Turkey and Greece.

Pointing out that media was very constructive in the past few months, Papandreou said they stressed important aspects especially in the period of quakes, and that this created an important cooperation atmosphere. Papandreou said the media should be open to the new process and expend support.


ANKARA, Jan 20 (A.A) - Regarding the operations carried out against the terrorist organization Hezbollah, President Suleyman Demirel said on Thursday that ''those who attempted such adventures in the past have always been disappointed.''

''The state followed up on this very well. It took control of the situation the moment they found a piece of evidence,'' Demirel said.

''We faced various movements that targeted our nation and state. Hezbollah is one of them. Those who attempt such adventures in the past have always been disappointed,'' he noted.

When reminded of the allegations of a link between Hezbollah and Iran, Demirel said ''one must be very careful when making such an allegation.'' ''Unless there is solid evidence of a link, we shouldn't allow such statements to hurt our relations with Iran. Right now we have no solid evidence to ask for an explanation from Iran,'' he responded.

When asked why the state waited until now to take an action if Hezbollah was known for so long, Demirel said ''the state can only operate legally.''

''If the state arrests people only because they are suspicious, that state is no longer a state of law. The state cannot act illegally. It is not possible to accuse innocent people of some imaginary crimes. Nobody can take measures to prevent all crimes. If so, nobody would have committed any crimes,'' Demirel said.

When a reporter said ''some newspapers wrote that Hezbollah was used by the state against PKK,'' Demirel said this was a ''fabrication.''

When asked to compare Hezbollah organization with PKK, Demirel said ''Hezbollah is a threat.'' ''I don't find it necessary to compare one threat with another. The state is powerful enough to defeat all of them,'' Demirel said.

Responding to another question about Iran, Demirel said ''Iran is Turkey's friend.''

''Iran is our neighbour and it is a big country. There hasn't been any armed clash between us for 360 years. We want to protect this friendship. We have different regimes but that is another issue. We have said many times; many PKK members who escaped from Turkey were found in Iran. I told this to Iranian authorities and they denied it. But we have a very good cooperation on the border,'' Demirel explained. Demirel also said Turkey and Iran were holding joint military operations on the border.


ANKARA, Jan 20 (A.A) - George Papandreou, the Greek Foreign Minister said on Thursday that one shouldn't approach the solution of the problems between Turkey and Greece in an emotional and fanatic way.

''We lived together in the past, why shouldn't we live together also in the future?'' told Papandreou in a conference he held in the Middle East Technical University (METU) organized by the initiatives of METU Alumni Association.

Papandreou started his speech by the words of Venizelos, the leading Greek politician and statesman of the 20th century, who said that ''I came here to shake your hand with friendship. We want to improve relations in all fields as such warm relations and pluralist and democratic administrations between the two countries serve the regional peace.''

''This speech is not mine, I only read that. This speech was the one made by Venizelos 65 years ago in Ankara. If I prepared, I would prepare the same,'' he stressed.

Noting that a new kind of diplomacy came out in the changing world, Papandreou said that this is diplomacy from people to people, from society to society. Papandreou pointed out that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and peoples have direct relations in such kind of a diplomacy, adding ''if we don't work together in this process, we, politicians will be left alone.''

Papandreou pointed out that the Cyprus question can be solved by a policy carried out together with Foreign Minister Ismail Cem based on honesty in long term.

''There may be different views about this issue, but I am honest about this issue,'' said Papandreou and added that ''We lived together in the past, why shouldn't we live also in the future?''

He said that he came together with Greek Cypriot young people during his visit to the Greek Cypriot side recently, adding that ''Turkish and Greek Cypriot young people want to know each other and learn each other's history. I count on Turkish, Greek, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot youth in this process.''

''Do you have a concrete proposal about the solution of the Cyprus question, '' asked to Papandreou, who said ''there is a will of change. I can suggest a bi-communal, bi-zonal federal state. This can be a model for a good cooperation.'' The approachment of Turkey to the EU can also help in solving these problems, he said and added that this process in Cyprus is slow yet it will develop in a positive way.

Responding to another question, Papandreou said that he is against the border changes in Euasia, but minority rights should be guaranteed within borders.

''Setting up a state by each minority won't help in solution of the problems. European vision is a common vision and the minority problem should be perceived as a variety, rather than a threat. If Turkey and Greece worked together in Bosnia, you could imagine what they could have done. You can think what we can do in the Middle East and the Caucasus,'' he said.

When a student asked him whether his moderate policy is also supported by the Greek people, Papandreou said ''I represent my country, the things I say bind my country. This new atmosphere that developed between the two countries is supported by the parties in Greece and a majority of people. What I understand from your question is theat there is a problem of confidence. I think if Mr. Cem addressed to Greek students, they would ask him the same question. We need a relation which depends on trust, law and which defends minority rights.''


BRUSSELS, Jan 20 (A.A) - The third consultation meeting among 13 EU candidate countries was held in Brussels on Thursday. Turkey has been attending the meetings since January 13.

The participants discussed Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Thursday. The meetings aim to strengthen political dialogue between the candidate countries and the EU. EU Commission, EU Council, EU Troika (former, present and future term presidents; Finland, Portugal and France), representatives of 15 EU countries, experts from 12 EU candidate countries and Cyprus Greek administration are attending the meetings. Murat Adali, Deputy OSCE Permanent Representative in Vienna represented Turkey on Thursday's meeting.

The latest developments in Chechnya, OSCE's role in 2000, Portugal's approach to OSCE and programmes on these issues were discussed on Thursday.

Consultation meetings which target compromising and harmony in the political field between the EU and the candidate countries will continue on regular basis.

The participants will focus on security on February 10, drugs on February 17, United Nations on February 23, human rights on March 2, disarmament on March 6, analysis and planning on March 13-14, terrorism on March 16, prevention of spreading of nuclear weapons on March 27 and export of conventional weapons on June 7.

Turkish authorities drew attention to the importance of developing political dialogue between Turkey and the EU through these meetings.


SOFIA, Jan 20 (A.A) - State Minister Hasan Gemici said on Thursday that Turkish businessmen should actively take part in the reconstruction process of the region within the framework of ''Southeast European Stability Plan.''

Gemici, who is in Bulgaria came together with Petar Jotev, the Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister and Ivan Neykov, the Social Policy Minister.

Gemici told A.A correspondent after the meetings that Bulgaria is a very important neighbour of Turkey and the economic and commercial relations between them should further be improved.

Bulgarian administration is determined to further improve the relations with Turkey, Gemici said and added that the improvement of relations between the Balkan countries plays an important role in maintaining peace and stability in the region.


WASHINGTON D.C Jan 20 (A.A) - The U.S. expressed full support for Turkish- Greek rapproachment on Thursday which came to the agenda one more time by Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreu's visit to Turkey.

A high level officer from the U.S. State Department reminded that Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem will also visit Athens following Papandreu's visit. The same person also expressed support for Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's invitation to his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis.

He noted that Papandreu's visit to Turkey and softening signs between the two countries were positive developments. The U.S. is very pleased about the agreements signed between its two allies, Turkey and Greece and is supporting all kinds of steps that will build up trust between them, he noted.


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