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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 00-05-03

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

03 May 2000 Wednesday

[02] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on May 3, 2000. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

BARCLAYS BANK:''WE ARE INVESTING IN FUTURE IN TURKEY''
Chairman of the British Barclays Bank Sir Peter Middleton who applied to the Turkish Treasury Department to open a representative branch in Turkey said ''they were investing in future in Turkey.''

Middleton said Turkey had a dynamic economy and a successful private sector which form the favourable conditions to open a branch. Barclays Bank is a London based bank which has branches in over 65 countries in the world.

TUSIAD INVITES THE POPE TO TURKEY
Erkut Yucaoglu, Chairman of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD), invited the Pope Jean Paul 2 to Turkey and asked his support to send more Christian tourists to Turkey. A delegation of 20 people including Yucaoglu, Deputy Chairman Aldo Kaslowski and EU representative Bahadir Kaleagasi visited the Pope on Tuesday. After the visit Yucaoglu told reporters that he invited the Pope and the whole Christian world to Turkey. The visit was the first visit of the Pope by Turkish businessmen.

MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

GUL:''FP IS SLIPPERY''
The reformist chairman candidate of the Virtue Party (FP), Abdullah Gul said his party is shrinking due to its inconsistent policies. Gul said his party's votes dropped from 25 percent to 15 percent in general elections due to FP's inconsistent policies. Gul noted that he considered everybody as ''his brother'' and promised freedom and liberty to all people in Turkey. ''Turkish-Kurdish problem can be resolved through democracy. Problems can only be resolved through democracy,'' Gul said. Gul also denied the allegations about their setting up a new party. ''We have not joined the FP later, we were there from the very beginning,'' he said.

TURKEY FAILS IN ''FREEDOM OF PRESS''
The 1999 World Freedom of Press report gave 12 pages of coverage for Turkey. The journalists association RSF which evaluated 185 countries, categorized freedom of press in Turkey as ''poor''. RSF released 13 press statements regarding Turkey and sent 12 letters of protest to Turkish authorities. ''One journalist was killed, four of them were tortured, seven of them were arrested, 87 of them were detained and 26 of them were beaten. There are a total of 80 journalists who are in jail in Turkey,'' the report said.

SABAH (LIBERAL)

CALL FOR YILMAZ TO ENTER THE GOVERNMENT
Devlet Bahceli, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) shed green light after Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, for Mesut Yilmaz, leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP), to join in the government. Ecevit was the first who called for Yilmaz to join in the goverment during cabinet revision. Ecevit made an open invitation to Yilmaz and said, ''it will be better if Yilmaz joins in the government.'' Meanwhile, Bahceli, in a news conference where he evaluated presidential elections, gave the message that they were moderate toward Yilmaz's entrance to the government. Bahceli also said that they would be pleased if Mesut Yilmaz, leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP), joins in the cabinet. Bahceli said it was Yilmaz's preference whether to be in the parliament or not.

NONE OF THE FOUR CONSORTIA ENTERED THE SECOND GSM TENDER
The second phase of the tender for the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) 1800 phone network licence sale, ended on Tuesday without the sale of the licence.

Four consortia which were invited to the second phase of the tender, said that it was not possible to give service with such a high floor price and that they would not join the tender.

STATESMEN OF THE YEAR
Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou were given the ''Statesman of the Year'' award by the New York based East- West Institute at a ceremony held in New York's Grand Hyatt Hotel for their contributions to Turkish-Greek relations.

Turkish and Greek search and rescue teams AKUT and EMAK were awarded by special prizes at the ceremony due to their efforts exerted during the quakes which shook both countries.

CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

SEZER TO RECEIVE GREATER SUPPORT
Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the likeliest candidate among all other candidates running for president, and President of the Constitutional Court, is expected to receive a greater support from the opposition in the third round of voting, and become the 10th President of the Republic of Turkey. The third round is to take place on May 5th, Friday.

BLACK SEA COAST SECURITY MEETING STARTS
The Black Sea Coast Security Meeting started on Tuesday in Istanbul, bringing together the Coast Guard officials of Turkey, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine. Coast Security Command said in a written statement on Tuesday that the meeting would take place between May 2nd and 11th with the participation of the aforementioned countries having coasts to the Black Sea.

HADEP LEADER ON TRIAL
The trial of Ahmet Turan Demir, Chairman of People's Democracy Party (HADEP), and Esin Akgul, member of the party, continued on Tuesday at Ankara State Security Court (DGM) no. 1. The two are convicted of making propaganda against the integrity and national unity of the country. Chief Judge Mehmet Orhan Karadeniz ruled that the file be sent to prosecutor's office upon the request of the prosecutor Dilaver Kahveci, and adjourned the hearing.

RADIKAL (LEFT)

SURPRISE SUMMIT FOR THE AEGEAN
Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou had an unexpected two hour meeting in New York. The two foreign ministers later had a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright where they discussed all problems including Cyprus. Diplomatic circles said even those who were accompanying Papandreou did not know about the meeting until the last meeting. They said the meeting started a dialogue between Turkey and Greece over the Aegean. Papandreou said they can ''even resolve big problems like Cyprus.''

TURKEY-EU NEGOTIATIONS TO START IN 2004
The New York Times interviewed Turkey's Permanent Representative in the UN, Volkan Vural and said negotiations over Turkey's full membership could start in 2001. The newspaper said Vural will return to Ankara to run Turkey- EU relations in the Foreign Ministry this year. It was also stated that Vural's good relations in the EU would help him during the negotiations. The New York Times also covered the views of some European diplomats who said that the biggest obstacle in front of Turkey's full membership was not ecoomic, but it was the issue of democratic rights and Kurds.

YENI BINYIL (LIBERAL)

CASE FILED AGAINST POLICE
The Bursa Republican Court filed a case against five police officers, who had interrogated Erol Evcil, one of the defendants of the Malki murder case, on grounds that they leaked the minutes of their interrogation of Evcil. The indictment calls for 1 to 3 years of imprisonment for officers Bulent Eliacik, Sirri Tug, Muzaffer Ak, Hakan Unsal Yalcin, and Hakan Ozkaya.

ISRAEL GIVES TURKEY A RELIEF
The Israeli Foreign Ministry gave Turkey a relief from her anxieties about the proposal made by Yossi Sarid, Israel's minister of Education, to include the so-called Armenian genocide in Israeli high schools' curriculum. Israeli Foreign Ministry officials informed their Turkish counterparts that ''the statements of the Education Minister is under his responsibility; there is no change of policy or viewpoint.'' Foreign Ministry officials, in a meeting with Ahmet Uzumcu, Turkey's Ambassador to Tel Aviv, on Monday, stressed that statements of Sarid regarding the so- called genocide on Armenians, were his personal views, and noted that it did not reflect official policy of the government.

UNSAL: ''TURKEY SHOULD IMPROVE HER IMAGE''
Esref Unsal, Chairman of the European Turkish Businessman Association (ATIAD) and a delegation accompanying him, continued contacts in Ankara on Tuesday. Unsal said that the total endorsement of Turkish businessmen doing business abroad was 60 million marks at present, and expressed belief that this figure would have topped 300 billion marks in the year 2010. He said that one crucial thing about rendering the success of Turkish businessmen abroad concrete, was to improve Turkey's image in the eyes of the international community.

TURKIYE (RIGHT)

BAHCELI: WE ARE SORRY
Devlet Bahceli, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, decreased the tension while evaluating the attack on Sadi Somuncuoglu, who applied for presidential candidacy. Bahceli said the incident which occurred on the garden of the parliament was not smart, and noted that, ''the incident made us and the Turkish people sorry.'' Bahceli said an investigation has been started, and that the results will be announced to the public. Bahceli said it was the principal duty of the MHP parliamentarians to preserve party identity.

INITIATIVE FROM MENDERES FOR CANCELLATION
Aydin Menderes, Istanbul Independent Parliamentarian from Istanbul, defended that presidential elections was held ''contrary to the Constitution,'' as Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Chairman of Constitutional Court did not resign from his post.

Menderes opened a petition to the signature of parliamentarians calling for cancellation of ''candidacy and election'' process with all its results.

ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

DENKTAS WARNS GAMA FOR CALLING HIM ''COMMUNITY LEADER''
President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Rauf Denktas warned Portuegese Foreign Minister Jame Gama for calling him ''the community leader'' during the meetings where TRNC's participation in EU membership negotiations was discussed.

''We regard ourselves as the TRNC and this doesn't change if others don't recognize us. Yes, I am a community leader, but I've been also elected as the president short time ago and I want you to accept me as the President of the TRNC,'' Denktas said to Gama prior to their meeting.

Folowing their 1,5 hour meeting, Denktas said Gama was a good listener and had learned many aspects of Cyprus issue which he did not know. Denktas added that Gama was looking at Cyprus issue from a right angle.

Gama will leave Cyprus following a press conference after he meets with Clerides, Greek Cypriot leader.

[03] FOREIGN MINISTER CEM:''I AM CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC OVER TURKISH-GREEK RAPPROACHMENT''

NEW YORK - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Tuesday that he was ''cautiously optimistic'' regarding Turkish-Greek rapproachment.

Cem who went to New York to receive the ''Statesman of the Year'' award, responded to questions about Turkish-Greek rapproachment and discussing the matter at the Hague.

Cem said he was cautiously optimistic over the bettering relations between Turkey and Greece. ''There are some changes in our policies. We believe that we can resolve some of our problems which have been existing for a long time,'' Cem noted.

Cem said he was working to eliminate the differences of opinion between Turkey and Greece over the Aegean before taking the issue to the Hague. ''If this does not happen, we will resolve the matter through peaceful negotiations,'' he added.

Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, on the other hand, said Turkey's EU membership formed a new frame in Turkish-Greek rapproachment. Besides the Greek government's support, Papandreou said, Greek people also supported and have expectations from the improving relations between the two countries.

[04] MEETINGS OF CEM, ALBRIGHT AND PAPANDREOU

NEW YORK - Tripartite meeting of Foreign Minister Ismil Cem, the U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou was held in at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.

Cem and Papandreou also held separate meetings with Albright.

Diplomatic sources told A.A correspondent that Turkish-U.S. relations, Turkish-Greek relations, Aegean, and Northern Iraq were discussed during bilateral and trilateral meetings.

Foreign Minister Cem is expected to stage a news conference for Turkish journalists on Wednesday.

[05] CEM AND PAPANDREOU GIVEN ''STATESMAN OF THE YEAR'' AWARD

NEW YORK - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou were given the ''Statesman of the Year'' award by the New York based East-West Institute at a ceremony held in New York's Grand Hyatt Hotel on Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright presented Cem and Papandreou their awards.

EU Representative Javier Solana, former Finnish President Marti Ahtisaari, American-Turkish Council Co-Chairman Nancy Kassenbaum Baker, businessmen Mustafa Koc, Ahmet Ertegun and Sarik Tara were also present at the ceremony.

Sarik Tara and Bechtel groups, Turkish and Greek rescue teams AKUT and EMAK were awarded by ''business world'' and ''humanitarian aid'' prizes at the ceremony.

In the previous years, the Statesman of the Year award had been given to Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, former UN Secretary General Javier Peres de Cuellar, former U.S. President George Bush, Ukranian President Leonid Kucma, Czech President Vaclav Havel, former German President Roman Herzog and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

[06] EARTHQUAKES IN BALIKESIR, MUGLA, AND BURSA

ISTANBUL - Minor tremors jolted Balikesir, Bursa, and the Fethiye township of Muğla late Tuesday, and early Wednesday, officials said on Wednesday.

According to the information given by the Kandilli Observatory and Seismological Research Center of Istanbul's Bogazici University, the dates, times, epicenters and magnitudes of the tremors are as follows:

DATE TIME MAGNITUDE EPICENTER
----------+--------+---------+----------------
May 2 18.03 3,4 Balya, Balikesir

May 3 01.28 2,9 Bursa

May 3 06.12 4,1 offshore Fethiye, Mugla

Meanwhile, an aftershock measuring 2,9 on the Richter Scale was recorded at 05.17 hours local time, in Cinarcik, Yalova.

[07] ''OPEN SKIES'' AGREEMENT SIGNED BETWEEN TURKEY AND THE U.S.

NEW YORK - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and Madeleine Albright, the U.S. Secretary of State Tuesday signed ''Open Skies'' agreement, which will provide Turkish Airliners access to 10 major U.S airports.

Turkish Airlines Company (THY) and the U.S. airlines companies will have the facility to reach reciprocally to the points where they want. THY and American companies will be able to stage flights to Turkey and the U.S. from a third country.

When the agreement is fully implemented, airline companies of the two countries will be able to make joint marketing agreements. For example, THY will be able to show New York-Atlanta flight as its own flight and will be able to sell Istanbul-New York-Atlanta ticket.

Consultations of ''Open Skies'' air transportation agreement had been made in Washington D.C. between March 20 and 22. By considering that THY is in privatization stage, the agreement was foreseen to include a three-year transition period. According to this, Turkish Airline Companies will be able to stage flights only to New York, Chicago, and Miami. Yet, Turkish companies will be able to stage joint flights with the U.S. companies to 10 separate points in the U.S. from these three points.

In the second year, the points where Turkey will stage flights, will increase to four, and the points within the U.S. will be increased from 10 to 15. In the third year, the first flight point will be increased to five, and the second flight points will be 20.

Sources told A.A correspondent that at the end of three-year transition period, transporters of both countries will start to work in competition conditions.

The U.S. signed ''Open Skies'' agreement with 45 countries so far.

[08] CEM AND PAPANDREOU AWARDED AS ''STATESMEN OF THE YEAR'' - U.S STATE SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: ''U.S WILL AID HER ALLIES IN SETTLING CYPRUS DISPUTE''

NEW YORK - U.S Secretary fo State Madeleine Albright said on Wednesday, that the United States would help Turkey and Greece, her allies, solve the Cyprus question.

Albright, who took the floor at a ceremony, in which Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou were awarded as the 'Statesmen of the Year' by the New York-based East-West Institute, said, ''Turkey and Greece are perfect allies of the United States'', and congratulated Cem and Papandreou, whom she said ''added a touch of friendship to diplomacy.''

Stating that Cem and Papandreou have contributed to the Turkey-Greece relations more than any other couple, Albright said both foreign ministers have been very creative and brave in settling the disputes between their countries, and together, they have paved the way for Turkey's prospective membership in the European Union.

Albright said Turkey and Greece play a key role in the establishment of peace an stability in the Balkan region, and added both Cem and Papandreou know that the United States will do its best, and contribute to efforts to lead the Cyprus problem to a lasting solution.

[09] CEM AND PAPANDREOU GIVEN ''STATESMAN OF THE YEAR'' AWARD - FM CEM: ''WE HAVE TURNED FEELINGS OF TURKISH-GREEK PEOPLE INTO ACTION''

NEW YORK - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Tuesday that he and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou in fact did nothing but to turn the feelings of Turkish and Greek peoples into action.

Addressing the gala which was staged by the East-West Institutute in Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York to present him and Papandreou with ''Statemen of the Year'' award, Cem said, ''whenever the name of Turkey or Greece was mentioned in the past, a conflict or negativity was expected. We have changed this. We began to turn negativity to positivity.''

Cem said the things they have done so far were not sufficient, adding that there were important duties waiting for them. Cem underlined that ''formation of mutual confidence'' is their basic assignment.

Noting that they put an end to cold war between Turkey and Greece and started moderate atmosphere, Cem expressed belief that this process will continue in the next generations.

Cem said he and his Greek counterpart Papandreou preferred solutions that can be accepted by the two sides, and noted that they formed lasting peace and agreement atmosphere. He said, ''Papandreou has contributed more efforts than me for this process.''

George Papandreou, who spoke after Cem, said the award was in fact given to Turkish and Greek peoples.

Papandreou said his friend Cem's most important characteristic was that he is modest, and noted that moderate atmosphere that was formed between the two countries following the crises like Cyprus and Kardak made people say ''are we dreaming?''

Papandreou underlined that the award, which is given to them on behalf of Turkey and Greece, is the rejection of the idea that the two countries are enemies. He said one day Cyprus will unite with this understanding.

Sarik Tara, ENKA group chairman, who was awarded with ''Businessman of the Year'' in the gala, said Turkish and Greek peoples wanted peace, and noted that whoever tries to hamper this process, they will not allow those.

[10] ECEVIT: ''IT IS NOT NECESSARY FOR SEZER TO RESIGN FROM CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CHAIRMANSHIP AS HE APPLIED FOR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY''

ISTANBUL - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Wednesday that it was not necessary for Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Chairman of Constitutional Court, to resign from his post as he applied for presidential candidacy.

Ecevit spoke to reporters in Ankara's Esenboga Airport before he left for Istanbul to attend ''International European Union Council's Meeting,'' staged by Department of Religious Affairs.

When asked if there would be a change in the cabinet, Ecevit said, ''we have not taken up the issue with Yilmaz and Bahceli. We will discuss it after the presidential elections. I think there is not a need for a change.''

Responding to the question of a journalist who said there were legal discussions that Sezer had to resign from Constitutional Court Chairmanship before applying for presidential candidacy, Ecevit said, ''we have discussed the issue with the authorized people and experts. Certainly, it is not necessary.''

[11] FP LEADER KUTAN: ''RESULTS OF THE SECOND ROUND OF VOTING INDICATE THAT SEZER IS DESTINED TO CANKAYA AS THE RESULT OF THE THIRD ROUND''

ANKARA - Recai Kutan, Leader of the Virtue Party (FP) said on Wednesday, that the results of the second round of voting in presidential elecitons indicated that Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of the Constitutional Court, is destined to Cankaya at the end of the third round on Friday.

Replying to questions about his views pertaining to presidential elections, Kutan said ''looking at the results of the second round, I might as well say that there will be no need for a fourth round of voting. Although he has failed to do so in the second round, Sezer is sure to obtain the required majority of votes in the third round.''

[12] SALOMON SMITH BARNEY: ''INFLATION RATE WILL CONTINUE TO DROP''

LONDON/ANKARA - Salomon Smith Barney, one of world's leading investment and consultancy companies said on Wednesday that they estimated a 2,8 increase in wholesale prices and a 3 percent increase in consumer prices prior to the announcement of inflation figures for April.

In its assessment of Turkish economy, Salomon Smith Barney said that the production industry prices had already started to drop, and that because of this, the decreasing trend in inflation rates, which had started in the month of March, would continue.

The consultancy company underlined the importance of Friday's third round of voting in presidential elections, and said Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Chairman of the Constitutional Court, was sure to receive the required majority of votes in the coming round of balloting.

It also said that Turkey was becoming more and more attractive as compared to the other developing markets, thanks to the economic reform program.

[13] TURKEY'S RATING NOTE - HANAN AMEN SALEM, TURKEY ANALYST OF MOODY'S SAYS COMPROMISE OF GOVERNMENT ON A JOINT CANDIDATE IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR POLITICAL STABILITY

NEW YORK/ANKARA - Hanan Amen Salem, Turkey analyst of Moody's, one of the leading rating organizations of the world, said on Wednesday that compromise of government on a joint candidate in presidential elections was very important for political stability.

Speaking to A.A correspondent about the developments in Turkish economy, Hanan Amen Salem said Turkey gained credibility due to the consensus in the government about presidential candidacy.

Salem said presidential elections was a test for Turkey's political stability, adding that determination of the government indicated that Turkey will pass this test easily.

Stressing that Turkish economy passed the exams as of the first quarter of this year, Salem said Turkey has to focus on inflation from now on.

Salem pointed out that they will upgrade Turkey's credit note in a process which will not be too long, adding that the want to see if decrease in inflation continues or if economic program was carried out by making concessions to upgrade Turkey's credit note.

Hanan Amen Salem said Turkey abided by privatization program, and that interests began to fall, and that decisions for reforms began to be taken. She said all these developments were very important.

[14] ANAP LEADER YILMAZ: ''I DON'T THINK THAT MENDERES' INITIATIVE WILL GIVE ANY RESULT''

ANKARA - Mesut Yılmaz, the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP) said on Wednesday that the initiative started by Aydın Menderes, the independent deputy to cancel the presidential candidacy and election process won't give any result.

Yılmaz went to southeastern Diyarbakır province together with State Minister Fikret Unlu, Safter Gaydalı and Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik to watch the match between Galatasaray-Antalyaspor.

When journalists asked his views about the debate on the presidential candidacy of Ahmet Necdet Sezer without resigning from the Constitutional Court, Yılmaz said that ''I don't know whether there will be any need for his resignment, the lawyers should evaluate that. But it is Mr. Sezer who will evaluate it the best.''

Yılmaz pointed out that there is no need for Sezer to resign from the Constitutional Court Chairmanship in respect of law, adding the criticisms are mainly political.

''There are provisions in the Law on the Foundation of the Constitutional Court which enables a member to be a candidate for another office without resigning from the Constitutional Court,'' he added.

[15] STATE MINISTER TOSKAY: ''EXPORTS INCREASED 4.6 PERCENT BETWEEN JANUARY 1 AND APRIL 30''

ANKARA - State Minister Tunca Toskay said on Wednesday that exports constituted main axis of national development.

Making the opening remarks of a meeting on ''Exporter Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMSEs) Days 2000'', Toskay said the difference between domestic and foreign markets had been removed with globalization, stressing that the Turkish economy became a full ''open market''.

''We are obliged to take more share in world trade and sell products of which added value is high to several markets. This understanding should be dominant over the SMSEs which constitute the basis for domestic industry. With this respect, we are obliged to support and encourage SMSEs,'' he said.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Toskay said exports had increased 4.6 percent January 1 and April 30 according to the data of the Exporters' Unions.

[16] BESIKTAS SOCCER CLUB SIGNS TWO-YEAR CONTRACT WITH SCALA

ISTANBUL - Besiktas Soccer Club signed on Wednesday a two-year contract wiyh Nevio Scala, a famous Italian coach.

Besiktas President Serdar Bilgili said that the Italian technical director and they had reached agreement on every detail, and signed a two-year cotract.

[17] ''INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON EUROPEAN UNION'' - PREMIER ECEVIT:''OUR EUROPEAN IDENTITY IS STILL BEING DISCUSSED BY SOME CIRCLES IN EUROPE AND THIS IS AN INTERESTING EXAMPLE OF CARELESSNESS''

ISTANBUL - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Wednesday ''our European identity is still being discussed by some circles in Europe and this is an interesting example of carelessness.''

Speaking in the opening of the ''International Convention on European Union (EU)'' held in the Marmara Hotel, Ecevit congratulated the Religious Affairs Directorate for holding such a meeting which takes up Turkey's membership process to the European Union from a scientific aspect.

Ecevit stressed that Turks are an influential element in Europe for 600 years, adding a big majority of Europe lived under the Ottoman Turkish sovereignty for hundreds of years.

Ecevit noted that all socities living under Ottoman rule had developed their own religions, sects and languages without any pressure, adding ''Republican Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe and it contributed to the security of Europe. It set up customs union with the European Union (EU) and it became a candidate of the European Union (EU) by taking a step forward. The Europeanness of the Turkish nation can't be denied in geographical, historical, and cultural aspects. Yet the Turkish nation is not only European, it is also Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Caucasian, of Black Sea and East Mediterranean. This mixed identity of the Turkish nation is not its deficiency, but its richness.''

Turkey is a key country in the integration process between Europe and Asia by its mixed identity and status.

''There are two reasons of the debate continuing in some circles in Europe about the European identity of Turkey. One of the reasons is the fact that racism is still an important element in Europe. Another one is the tendency to regard the European Union still as a Christian club. Public surveys carried out in the recent years showed that two thirds of Western European people are racist. Turks don't discriminate people due to race, Turkish nation is the product of people coming from different countries, religions and ethnic races,'' said Ecevit.

''Secularism is rooted in Turkey and it contributed to separation of religious and state affairs from each other and it opened the way to democracy. It has been seen in Turkey example that secularism and democracy can be reconciled. Islamic fundamentalism can only be prevented by the contributions of the Religious Affairs Directorate. Thus, the difficulty caused by Berlin Administrative Court regarding the effectivity of the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate in Germany is very dangerous in this respect. I hope our German friends can solve this problem as soon as possible,'' he added.

[18] A STATUE OF MARS, ANCIENT ROMAN GOD OF WAR, FOUND IN BELKIS

GAZIANTEP - A statue of Mars, the ancient Roman god of war, was found during excavations in the ancient city of Zeugma in Belkis village in Nizip township of southeastern Gaziantep province.

Hakki Alhan, the Curator of Gaziantep Archaeology Museum, told the A.A correspondent on Wednesday the bronze statue of Mars identified with the Greek god Ares, was 150 centimetres in length.

Alhan noted, ''Mars has a helmet on his head. He holds a spear in his left hand, and a snake in his right hand. It is a rare and priceless statue. We believe that the statue belongs to II. century B.C. We found it in a Roman villa belonged to a high-ranked commander living in the ancient city of Zeugma.''

[19] PANEL ON WORLD FREEDOM OF PRESS DAY - DEPUTY PREMIER AND MHP LEADER BAHCELI: ''FREEDOM OF PRESS IS AN ELEMENT OF OUR COUNTRY'S DEMOCRATIZATION''

ANKARA - Devlet Bahceli, the Deputy Prime Minister and the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) said on Wednesday that ''the freedom of press is an element of our country's democratization.''

Spaking in the opening of the panel discussion on ''World Freedom of Press Day'' held by Turkish Confederation of Labour Unions (Turk-Is) and Turkish Journalists Association (TGS), Bahceli said that the freedom of press is an element which develops by political struggle in democratic systems.

''We think that the understanding of press ethics which is based on cultural foundations is the spiritual basis of freedom of press. Freedom of press means a multidimensional communication climate which will function between citizens and the society on the axis of the non-governmental organizations (NGOS),'' said Bahceli.

He added that the freedom of press can be developed within a democratic culture.

[20] STATE MINISTER ONAL: ''OPEN POSITION OF THE BANKS AS OF END-1999 WAS 2.8 BILLION DOLLARS''

ANKARA - Recep Onal, the Minister of State for Economic Affairs, said on Wednesday that the implementation for inclusion of whole savings deposits at the banks into scope of insurance was negatively affecting the competition in the system and caused increase in deposit interest rates and inflation.

Onal said that it was impossible to set up conditions for full-competition before stability and confidence were settled in financial sector.

Onal stated that they had effectively carried out a deposit insurance system that was based on full-reliance, aiming at reesstablishment of confidence of domestic and foreign markets in the financial sector, and that they had achieved their target.

''The works on new rules envisaging protection of small savers by the deposit insurance system are under way,'' Onal said.

State Minister Onal said that the amount of open position in the banking sector as of end-1999 2.8 billion U.S. dollars.

[21] ''INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON EUROPEAN UNION'' - LEONARD, EU TURKEY- EUROPEAN COMMISSION REPRESENTATION FIRST SECRETARY: ''WEST EUROPE DOESN'T REGARD TURKEY AS AN ISLAMIC STATE''

ISTANBUL - Neiall Leonard, the First Secretary of Turkey-European Commission Representation said on Wednesday that the West Europe does not regard Turkey as an ''Islamic state'' but as a country whose majority of its citizens are moslem.

Speaking in the ''International Convention on European Union'' held by the Religious Affairs Directorate, Leonard said that describing the EU as a Christian club is wrong.

Many of the EU member countries' citizens are Christian, said Leonard and pointed out that ''but the remaining part is moslem, Judaist or Buddhist or they don't have any religion.''

''The relation between religion and state is an issue which should be decided by each EU member state. But this does not mean that there isn't a general consensus on the relation between state and religion in Western Europe. Good results have been taken regarding minority rights in Turkey which took Ataturk's principles as the basis. Western Europe does not regard Turkey as an Islamic state. The state's being impartial towards different religions functioned generally well in Turkey. This policy gets along with the practices in European Union,' he added.

[22] ''INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON EUROPEAN UNION'' - FP LEADER KUTAN: ''TURKEY HAS TO REACH DEMOCRATIC STANDARTS OF EU AS SOON AS POSSIBLE''

ISTANBUL - Recai Kutan, the leader of the Virtue Party (FP) said on Wednesday that Turkey has to reach the democratic standarts of European Union (EU) as soon as possible.

Speaking in the ''International Convention on European Union (EU)'' Kutan said that Turkey's being a member of the EU is important in the threshold of the 21st cenutry, adding ''EU does not only cover Europe geographically, it covers a moslem country today after approving the candidacy of Turkey. This is a historical development and it is a turning point for the future of the humanity. Turkey has to solve the problem of democracy before entering the EU as a full member. The standarts put forward by the EU don't only represent the advanced civilization, but they also guide the countries which couldn't have reached this civilization level yet.''

Kutan noted that they believe that EU is an expression of the international values reached by the humanity.

''Turkey urgently has to prepare a Constitution which takes individual freedoms as the basis and which abides by Copenhagen criteria that cover unchanged democratic principles. Broad authority should be given to local administrations and Turkey should fully abide by the religious, language and ethnic EU criteria,'' he added.

Kutan noted that Turkey will join the EU sooner or later, adding ''I consider that our society is ready for the EU both in religious and social aspect.''

[23] ''INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON EUROPEAN UNION'' - YILMAZ, HEAD OF RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS: - ''EU IS A MULTI-CULTURAL, MULTI-LINGUAL AND MULTI- RELIGIOUS STRUCTURE''

ISTANBUL - Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz, the Head of Religious Affairs, said on Wednesday, ''the European Union (EU) is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and multi-religious structure. Our Muslim country wants to be a part of this structure.''

Addressing the International Convention on European Union (EU) organized by the Directorate General of Religious Affairs, Yilmaz noted, ''the Directorate General of Religious Affairs organized this convention to contribute to adjustment works in Turkey's EU full-membership process which started after announcement of Turkey's candidacy to the EU during the Helsinki Summit last year.''

''Important events and distressing developments occured in the world during the 20th century such as the World War I and the World War II. In such a period in which concepts such as justice, peace, affection were forgotten, the humanity left a bad inheritance to the next generations. At the same time, international organizations envisaging economic, political, and cultural cooperation among countries were founded. Turkey was among founders of some of these organizations. Turkey started its EU process by signing the Ankara Agreement in 1963. Without setting up dialogue among religions, peace in the world will be nothing but a dream. Turkey is a reliable and respectable country with its developing industry, cultural assets and growing population,'' Yilmaz stressed.

He said, ''the European Union (EU) was a multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-religious structure. Our Muslim country wants to be a part of this structure.''

Yilmaz added that issues such as religious life in Europe, relations between politics and religion, human rights, and dialogue among different religions would be taken up at the convention.

A total of 125 Turkish clergymen and scientists and 25 clergymen and scientists from France, Vatican, Austria, Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden are attinding the convention.

Gilding, calligraphy, marbling and handicratfs exhibitions will be opened within scope of the convention.

Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit; his wife Rahsan Ecevit; Recai Kutan, the leader of the Virtue Party (FP); Ahmet Tan, Istanbul deputy of the Democratic Left Party (DSP); Erol Cakir, the Governor of Istanbul; Hasan Ozdemir, the Director of Security in Istanbul; Neiall Leonard, the First Secretary of Turkey-European Commission Representation; Izak Haleva, the Acting Chief Rabbi; Salim Uslu, the Chairman of Hak-Is; Dr. Krikor Damatyan, the Representative of Armenian Patriarchate; Yusuf Sag, Turkey's Asyrian Catholics Acting Patriarch; Louis Pelatre, the Chairman of Council of Catholic Spiritual Leaders in Turkey; Luici Conti, the Vatican Ambassador to Turkey; high-level bureaucrats and a number of guests are in attendance at the convention.

[24] PRESIDENT DEMIREL: ''I REPRESENT HONOUR OF REPUBLIC AND DEMOCRACY''

ANKARA - President Suleyman Demirel said on Wednesday that ''I represent the honour of Turkish Republic and democracy and I keep watching the democratic and secular state founded by Ataturk.''

''I believe that I did this task successfully,'' said Demirel who received Izmir Trade and Industry Chamber administrators the same day.

Demirel said that there had been no debate on his election as the President, adding ''today, there is no debate on my finishing the term in office.''

Demirel stressed that during his term in office, he was close to all Turkish people and he didn't discriminate among them. ''I've always tried to keep the Turkish Republic in integrity,'' he noted.

[25] BLUE STREAM PROJECT - CONSTRUCTION OF PIPELINE BETWEEN SAMSUN AND CORUM TO START ON THURSDAY

SAMSUN - The ''Blue Stream'' natural gas pipeline's one part between Samsun and Corum provinces in Black Sea region will start on May 4.

Sources said on Wednesday that the construction of the 200-kilometer part between Samsun and Corum would start officially with a ceremony on Thursday.

The total length of the pipeline that will be constructed between Carsamba township of Samsun and temelli township of Ankara is 501 kilometers.

Oztas-Hazinedaroglu-Stroytransgaz (OHS) consortium undertook the construction of the pipeline in Turkish territories.

Officials at this consortium said that the the construction in Samsun regon would be carried out in three phases, and the last phase would start in June 2000.

The natural gas which Russia undertook to send to Turkey with the Blue Stream Project will be firstly transferred to Izoblynoye region from Zapolyarnoye and Beregovoye regions. Later, the gas will be brought into Samsun via the Black Sea bed.

The joint venture of Italian ENI group and Gasprom undertook the construction of the pipeline's part in Russian territories and passage beneath Black Sea.

The total length of the Blue Stream is almost 1.200 kilometers.

Within the scope of the project, a total of 365 billion cubic meters natural gas will be sent to Turkey in 25 years.

The project was foreseen to be finalized in April 2001.

[26] ANAP LEADER YILMAZ: ''ECONOMIC PROGRAMME MEETS EXPECTATIONS''

DIYARBAKIR - Mesut Yılmaz, the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP) said on Wednesday that the economic programme functions in accordance with expectations.

Yılmaz who came to southeastern Diyarbakır province to watch the Turkey Cup final match between Galatasaray and Antalyaspor, responded to questions of journalists.

Yılmaz said that the export figures increased due to the measures taken since the beginning of this year and the inflation figures will probably decrease this April compared to the same month last year.

If the same trend continues in the coming period, the economic programme will reach its goals by the end of this year, said Yılmaz.

Yılmaz added that he is not refraining from entering the government and noted that the reasons he had mentioned before for not taking part in the coalition government are still valid.

''If Turkey wants to join the EU, it must solve the Southeastern problem from all its aspects,'' he stressed.

[27] WOLFENSOHN, PRESIDENT OF WORLD BANK, DUE IN TURKEY

ISTANBUL - James Wolfensohn, President and Chairman of Executive Directors of the World Bank, will attend a seminar in Istanbul within framework of his visit to Turkey between May 25-27.

Releasing a statement, the Turkish Banks' Union said on Wednesday that Wolfensohn would make a speech on ''Financial Sector and Priorities in Global Approach'' in the seminar which will be held on May 25 at the Conrad Hotel.

[28] PROF. DR. KORFMANN TO LEAD EXCAVATIONS IN ANCIENT CITY OF TROY

CANAKKALE - Prof. Dr. Manfred Korfmann, a prominent German archaeologist, will lead excavations in the ancient city of Troy in Canakkale province.

A 50-member team will participate in the excavations that will start on June 12 and continue till September.

[29] TREASURY'S CASH BALANCE DEFICIT IS 2.327 TRILLION LIRAS IN APRIL

ANKARA - Treasury's cash balance deficit was 2 quadrillion 327.2 trillion Turkish Liras (TL) in April 2000, and 6 quadrillion 873.8 trillion in January-April 2000 period.

Treasury Undersecretariat issued a statement on Wednesday and said that the cash revenue was 2 quadrillion 125 trillion TL while the non-interest spendings were 1 quadrillion 835.9 trillion TL and the interest payment was 2 quadrillion 616.3 trillion TL in April according to the temporary statistics.

Treasury's non-interest surplus was 289.1 trillion TL in April.

According to the temporary statistics, Treasury repaid 278 trillion TL in external borrowing and 1 quadrillion 895 trillion TL in domestic borrowing in April.

The total domestic and external debt service including the interests reached 4 quadrillion 789.3 trillion TL.

Treasury borrowed 3 quadrillion 299.3 trillion TL from the market through tenders in April.

The statement said the cash revenue was 8 quadrillion 725.3 trillion TL in January-April 2000 period while the non-interest spendings were 6 quadrillion 880.8 trillion TL.

In the same period, the non-interest surplus was 1 quadrillion 844.6 trillion TL while the interest payment reached 8 quadrillion 718.4 trillion TL, and the cash balance deficit became 6 quadrillion 873.8 trillion TL.

In the first four months of the year, Treasury repaid 1 quadrillion 402.6 trillion TL in external borrowing and 7 quadrillion 412.3 trillion TL in domestic borrowing.

The total domestic and external debt service including the interests reached 17 quadrillion 533.2 trillion TL.

Treasury borrowed 11 quadrillion 637.2 trillion TL from the market through tenders in first four months of 2000.

[30] INFLATION RATES IN APRIL

ANKARA - The wholesale prices increased 2.4 percent and consumer prices rose 2.3 percent in April when compared to prices in March 2000.

The State Institute of Statistics (DIE) said on Wednesday that the last one- year inflation rate as of end-April 2000 was 61.5 percent in wholesale prices and 63.8 percent in consumer prices.

The four-month inflation rate in wholesale prices was 16.2 percent and 14.5 percent in consumer prices.

Meanwhile, according to twelve-month averages as of April 2000, the annual inflation rate in wholesale prices was 58.7 percent and the annual inflation rate in consumer prices was 66 percent.

[31] PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS - PARLIAMENT SPEAKER AKBULUT WITHDRAWS FROM PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY

ANKARA - Yildirim Akbulut, the Speaker of Parliament, stated on Wednesday that he withdrew from presidential candidacy.

Number of presidential candidates decreased to six after Akbulut withdrew from the presidential candidacy.

Staging a press conference at the parliament, Akbulut said, ''I thought that it had better to elect the next president from parliament and I applied for the presidential candidacy within this framework.''

Akbulut defended that several illegal and anti-democratic methods were brought onto agenda during the process between the votes for the presidential elections.

He stressed, ''they simply expended efforts to prevent appearance of free will. The second round for presidential elections proved the direction of parliament's will. I respect it and witdraw from the presidential candidacy.''

When asked whether or not he would sign the petition prepared by Aydin Menderes, an independent deputy from Istanbul, for cancellation of ''candidacy and election'' process with all its results, Akbulut said, ''no, I do not want to participate in such an initiative. I could be lucky in the presidential race. But all these developments, attitudes and failure of democratic methods affected the result.''

Akbulut noted, ''my initiative was not connected with domestic matters of the Motherland Party (ANAP). I received votes of deputies from all political parties.''

Recalling that the ANAP deputies accused him of cooperating with the opposition parties, Akbulut told reporters, ''many deputies from the opposition parties casted their votes in favor of Constitutional Court Chairman Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Sezer was named as the joint presidential candidate by leaders of the five political parties. Leaders of political parties guided their deputies to vote for Sezer.''

When asked whether or not he would resign from his post, Akbulut said, ''is there any reason for my resignation?''

Responding to a question, Akbulut said that half of the ANAP deputies supported his presidential candidacy.

He added that his resignation from the ANAP was out of question.

[32] TRNC PRESIDENT DENKTAS SPEAKS AT MILITARY ACADEMY: ''NOBODY CAN PRESENT GREEK CYPRIOT ADMINISTRATION AS THE OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT TO US''

ISTANBUL - Rauf Denktas, the President of the Turkish Republic (TRNC) said on Wednesday that the proximity talks on Cyprus will start in New York on May 23, adding ''nobody can present the Greek Cypriot administration as the official government to us.''

Speaking in a conference on ''Developments in the Region and Its Effects on Cyprus,'' held in the Military Academies Commandership, Denktas said that Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides recognizes the Southeastern Cyprus as the legitimate government and thus no result has been taken till today due to that.

Mentioning Cyprus' application for the European Union (EU) membership, Denktas said that Cyprus can't be a member of an institution in which Turkey and Greece are not members.

Denktas said that Cem met with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and the U.S. officials and discussed the Cyprus issue with them the same day.

Denktas said that the Greek Cypriots will give priority to EU membership, as they want to cancel the documents which prove the rights of Turkey over Cyprus.

''Our policy is reaching a compromise and agreement first,'' said Denktas and noted that ''by compromise our status and equality will be confirmed. The rights of Turkey over Cyprus will be stressed and Turkish-Greek balance will be set up. Only after these, we can discuss the EU issue.''

The U.S. tries to solve the Cyprus issue before the end of Clinton's term in office, stressed Denktas and added that ''there is pressure on us to solve the issue artificially although the Greek Cypriots didn't accept the realities.''

Britain is also impatient, said Denktas and noted that Britain does its best to protect its own bases, it forgot its guarantor status and it tries to make the Greek Cypriots a member of the European Union (EU).

Denktas noted that they will give detailed information about the establishment and operation of confederal state during the third round of proximity talks in New York on May 23.

The U.S, Britain and the United Nations (U.N.) seem to present them documents, said Denktas and added that ''they don't have the right to do that. They are not arbitrators. They are obliged to help the both sides within the framework of the good will mission. We favour comprehensive negotiations.''

[33] PARLIAMENT SPEAKER AKBULUT DUE TO STRASBOURG

ANKARA - Yildirim Akbulut, the Speaker of Parliament, will leave for Strasbourg, France, on Thursday to attend the Council of Europe Parlimamentary Assembly's Speakers of Parliament Conference.

The issue of ''National Parliaments and Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly's Role in Creation of a More Democratic Europe'' will be taken up at the conference.

Akbulut is scheduled to attend reception which will be hosted by Lord Russel-Johnston, Speaker of Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly.

The conference will start on Friday.

Akbulut is expected to return to Turkey on Sunday.

[34] KANDILLI OBSERVATORY OPENS TENDER TO PURCHASE EQUIPMENT

ANKARA - The Bogazici University's Kandilli Observatory and Seismology Institute will purchase devices, equipment, and software with international loan.

The purchase will be totally financed by foreign loan.

The announcement for the tender was published on Wednesday's Official Gazette.

In accordance with the announcement, the estimated cost of the equipment was 4.2 million U.S. dollars (2 trillion 593.5 billion Turkish Liras).

The equipment will be necessary for the ''Istanbul Earthquake Immediate Intervention and Early Warning Project'' and the first phase of the ''Project for Training of People Against Earthquake''.

The tender will be held on June 18, 2000 at the Bogazici University with the FOB (Free on Board) delivery method.

The tender specifications is available at the University's Rectorship building.

[35] A.A


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