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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 01-04-04

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

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

Anadolu Agency

ANADOLU AGENCY

NEWS

04 APRİL 2001 Wednesday


CONTENTS

  • [01] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN
  • [02] RAHMI KOC TO HOST DINNER FOR FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH
  • [03] STATE MINISTER DERVIS (2):

  • [01] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

    These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on April 4, 2000. The Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

    HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

    BREAKFAST THAT PAVES THE WAY
    State Minister Kemal Dervis and Transportation Minister Enis Oksuz who met in a breakfast reached a compromise on privatization initiatives that will pave the way for Turkey. The main issue of their meeting was the sale of Turkish Airlines (THY) and Turk Telekom which was a condition put forward by the foreign investors to come to Turkey. The two ministers reached a consensus to take strong steps for the sale of THY and Telekom.

    SUPER BOSS TO THREE BANKS: ALISIK
    Vural Akisik was appointed as the chairman of the joint executive board of the Ziraat Bankasi. The Emlakbank and Halkbank will be merged under the Ziraat Bankasi.

    GALATASARAY IS PHOENIX
    Galatasaray soccer club is a phoenix, a mythical bird of great beauty fabled to live 500 or 600 years in the Arabian wilderness, to burn itself on a funeral pyre, and to rise from its ashes in the freshness of youth and live through another cycle of years. Galatasaray which was beaten by the Real Madrid of Spain in the first half of the European Champions League quarterfinal match made history in the second half. Galatasaray defeated Real Madrid by three goals scored by Umit, Hasan and Jardel.

    MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

    DOLLAR ALARM!
    After a sharp rise of the U.S. dollar yesterday, the leaders of the political parties had a meeting and asked State Minister Kemal Dervis to ''hurry up.'' The dollar increased to 1,3 million TL on Tuesday. Dervis urged calm and said the rise was not caused by people's rush to buy U.S. dollar but because of the banks. Upon this answer, Yilmaz asked Dervis to go to Istanbul and speak with the bank representatives. Yilmaz's suggestion was supported by Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and Deputy Prime Minister Devlet Bahceli.

    MONTHLY INFLATION FOR MARCH ANNOUNCED AS 10.1 PERCENT
    Wholesale and consumer prices increased by 10.1 and 6.1 percent respectively in March. The inflation soared as it was expected due to the devaluation that took place after the foreign currency rate was floated. The sharpest price increases in March was in electricity, gas and water. Istanbul Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mehmet Yildirim pointed out that the inflation has not yet changed the prices of retail products. He said the wholesale and retail prices will increase more in the coming months.

    SABAH (LIBERAL)

    AYHAN SAHENK TO BE LAID TO REST IN NIGDE
    Ayhan Sahenk, the owner of Dogus Holding who passed away on Monday, will be laid to rest in central province of Nigde later today.

    FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT BUSH DUE IN TURKEY
    Former U.S. President George Bush will come to Turkey later today. Rahmi Koc, the Chairman of Executive Board of Koc Holding, will host Bush. Koc Holding wants to make joint investment in Turkey together with the Carlyle Group of the U.S. The two companies have signed a pre-agreement in order to cooperate in internet.

    CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

    ANKARA FINDS PAPANDREOU'S MESSAGE POSITIVE
    Foreign Ministry said Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou's message to Ankara was ''positive'' adding that there were still a number of details that needed to be discussed. National Defense Minister Sabahattin Cakmakoglu pointed to the Greek islands which remain armed against international agreements and said ''Greece can start with disarming the islands if it is sincere in its message.''

    A BOLD STEP TOWARDS THE EU
    President Ahmet Necdet Sezer who is visiting the Netherlands as the guest of Queen Beatrix started his contacts with Dutch officials. Queen Beatrix told Sezer that her country fully supported Turkey's efforts to join the EU. ''All EU candidates have to adopt the same standards determined by the EU. Turkey made a bold start in this direction,'' she commented. She also remarked that the Netherlands was ready to cooperate with Turkey during Turkey's membership process.

    RADIKAL (LEFT)

    MIRZAOGLU:''WE WON'T LET OIL TANKERS PASS FROM OUR STRAITS''
    State Minister in charge of maritime Ramazan Mirzaoglu has said that the traffic in the Turkish straits was already heavy and added that passage of more oil tankers would pose high risks to the straits and the environment. ''Nobody should expect us to allow the tankers to pass from our straits if this is going to harm people and environment,'' he said.

    MUSTAFA CAGLAR RELEASED
    Cavit Caglar's son Mustafa Caglar who was taken into custody as a part of the Etibank investigation, was released yesterday. He was detained for causing financial loss to Etibank. After Caglar was interrogated for two days, he was sent to istanbul State Security Court (DGM). Caglar told the court that he wasn't involved in the bank's management but only signed certain papers brought to him. He claimed that he was not involved in the procedures that caused financial loss to the bank. The Istanbul DGM released Caglar after the hearing.

    TURKIYE (RIGHT)

    INFLATION SURPRISE
    The State Institute of Statistics (DIE) announced that wholesale prices increased 10,1 percent and consumer prices increased 6.1 percent in March, 2001. The annual inflation rate has been 35.1 percent in wholesale prices and 37.5 percent in consumer prices as of March, 2001. The inflation rate for the first three months of 2001 has been 15.6 in wholesale prices and 10.7 percent in consumer prices. Meanwhile, the 12-month average inflation rate has been 42.1 percent in wholesale prices and 46.5 percent in consumer prices as of the end of March.

    U.S. DOLLAR LIKE A ROCKET
    U.S. dollar has been continuing to increase against Turkish lira since transition into floating foreign exchange rate regime on February 19. While Central Bank's intervention in the U.S. dollar was insufficient, one U.S. dollar was sold at 1 million 250 thousand Turkish liras.

    ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

    NO MOVEMENT IN EXPORTATION
    The State Statistics Institute (DIE) announced that 2 billion 169,1 million U.S. dollar exportation and 3 billion 972.7 million U.S. dollar importation were made in January 2001. When January 2001 is compared with January 2000, the exportation increased 2.2 percent and the importation 23 percent. The foreign trade deficit which was 1 billion 106.4 million U.S. dollars climbed 63 percent to 1 billion 803.5 million U.S. dollars in January 2001.

    SEZER IN LAND OF TULIPS
    President Ahmet Necdet Sezer went to the Netherlands for a three-day visit as the official guest of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Sezer was welcomed by Queen Beatrix and her husband Prince Claus. After having a meeting with the queen, Sezer laid a wreath to the National Monument in Amsterdam and observed a minute of silence. Sezer attended a dinner given in his honour by Queen Beatrix.

    -AKTOB CHAIRMAN BARUT SAYS NUMBER OF TOURISTS COMING FROM CIS
    COUNTRIES WILL EXCEED TWO MILLION THIS YEAR
    ANTALYA - Ahmet Barut, the chairman of the Mediterranean Touristic Hotels' Union (AKTOB), said on Wednesday that they expect the number of tourists coming from Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries to Turkey to exceed two million this year.

    Barut told A.A correspondent that the CIS countries are a very important market for Turkish tourism but that the share that Turkey takes from this market is not sufficient.

    Barut said that Turkey has to increase this share.

    ''Around 80 million people live in Germany while more than 250 million people live in CIS countries. We expect almost 25 million people living in CIS countries to go on a holiday. One million 400 thousand people came from these countries to Turkey in 2000. We expect this number to exceed 2 million this year,'' Barut said.

    Barut noted that Turkey is ranked the first in the holiday preferences of the CIS citizens.

    Germany is the first market for Turkey's tourism, Barut said, but they should not ignore the CIS countries.

    Barut stated that they should attribute more importance to promotion in CIS countries to increase the number of tourists coming from these countries to Turkey.

    ''Russia does not permit the charter flights of the foreign airlines. There are many wealthy people in Russia. If the Turkish Airlines (THY) arranges scheduled flights between Antalya and Moscow, many rich Russian tourists can spend their holiday in Antalya,'' Barut added.

    -WORLD BANK VICE PRESIDENT LINN TO VISIT TURKEY TODAY
    ANKARA - Vice President for the World Bank Johannes Linn will arrive in Turkey this evening to have meeetings with Turkish officials about the new economic program.

    He will also discuss the possible financial aid that could come from the World Bank. During his contacts, Linn will debate the restructuring of the banking sector in Turkey.

    Linn is expected to leave Turkey on April 6, Friday.

    -TURKISH-GREEK MONITORING COMMITTEE MEETINGS STARTS
    ANKARA - Turkish-Greek Monitoring Committee meeting started in Ankara on Wednesday.

    Turkish and Greek delegations headed by Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Yigit Alpogan and Greek Foreign Ministry Political Director Anastase Scopelitis will discuss relations between the two nations.

    Ioannis Corandis, the Greek Ambassador in Ankara is also attending the meeting.

    -FOREIGN CURRENCIES GAIN VALUE
    ISTANBUL - One U.S. dollar is sold at 1 million 285 thousand Turkish liras (TL) in the Covered Bazaar in Istanbul on Wednesday.

    The buying price of one U.S. dollar is fluctuating between 1 million 235 and 1 million 240 thousand TL while the selling price of one U.S. dollar is between 1 million 280 and 1 million 285 thousand TL in the exchange offices in the Covered Bazaar.

    One German mark is bought at 550-570 thousand TL and sold at 580-595 thousand TL in the exchange offices in the Covered Bazaar.

    Meanwhile, one U.S. dollar is around 1 million 260 thousand and one German mark around 570 thousand TL among the citizens.

    Some banks announced the effective selling price of one U.S. dollar as 1 million 294 thousand TL and that of one German mark as 594 thousand TL.

    -FOREIGN TRADE UNDERSECRETARY TUZMEN'S CONTACTS IN U.S.
    ANKARA - It was decided to continue to search ways to sign a Free Trade Agreement between Turkey and the U.S. and to take up the issue at the Trade and Investment Council's meeting in Ankara on July 12, 2001 during a visit of Turkish delegation headed by Foreign Trade Undersecretary Kursad Tuzmen, to the U.S. between March 23 and April 1.

    Sources told the A.A correspondent on Wednesday that a series of conferences were held within framework of the delegation's visit to the U.S.

    Tuzmen explained Turkey's expectations from the U.S. at these conferences.

    Tuzmen underlined importance of liberalization of mutual trade and investments, and further improvement of commercial relations between the two countries.

    He held talks with U.S. Secretary of Trade, Undersecretary of U.S. State Department and with Deputy Representative of U.S. Trade Department.

    During the meeting, Tuzmen said that textile quotas imposed on Turkey in parallel with existing implementation between the U.S. and the European Union (EU) should be lifted.

    Relations between Turkey and Iraq and Turkey's export contracts with Iraq which were suspended within framework of the Oil for Food Program of the United Nations were also taken up at the meetings.

    At the meetings, it was decided to set up a direct contact and cooperation between the U.S. State Department and Turkish Foreign Trade Undersecretariat to solve the problem of the suspended contcats.

    -NEARLY 10 THOUSAND TOURISTS WHO ARE MEMBERS OF AUSTRIAN
    RETIRED PEOPLE'S FEDERATION, DUE IN KUSADASI
    KUSADASI - Kusadasi township of western province of Aydin will host nearly 10 thousand tourists who are members of the Austrian Retired People's Federation, this year.

    Senioren Reisen and Vascu Tour, the travel agency of the federation, has organized a tour to Kusadasi under the name of ''Spring Meeting''.

    The first group of retired people came to Kusadasi.

    They visited anciet city of Ephesus and the house of Virgin Marry.

    Kusadasi will host nearly 10 thousand retired people in the next five weeks.

    People over the age of 60 are proposed to go on a holiday in spring or in autumn.

    -FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT BUSH SAYS THEY WILL SUPPORT TURKEY
    ISTANBUL - Former U.S. President George Bush said on Wednesday that they will extend support to Turkey as they have always done.

    Bush and his wife Barbara arrived in Istanbul on Wednesday morning.

    Bush told reporters at the airport that he is very pleased to be in Turkey again.

    Responding to a question about the foreign investments in Turkey, Bush said that he does not exactly know about the recent economic situation but that they will support Turkey as they have always done.

    Bush is expected to depart from Turkey on Thursday morning.

    -POLITICAL AFFAIRS SUB-COMMISSION MEETING
    AT TURKEY'S SECRETARIAT GENERAL FOR EU
    ANKARA - Political Affairs Sub-Commission convened at the Turkey's Secretariat General for the European Union (EU) on Wednesday.

    The meeting is expected to focus on putting into practice the legal and administrative measures taken up under ''political criteria'' and ''justice and domestic affairs'' parts of the National Program.

    Addressing journalists prior to the meeting, Volkan Vural, the Turkey's Secretary General for the EU, said, ''now, we are in a more difficult process than preparation of the National Program. Turkey's performance in fulfilling political criteria, and this performance's period will determine when Turkey will begin holding full membership negotiations with the EU.

    Noting that Turkey-EU Asseccion Council would convene on June 26, 2001, and the EU would release its Progress Report for Turkey in November of 2001, Bozkir told reporters, ''Turkey should fulfil some arrangements in political criteria, and justice and domestic affairs beforie these dates in order to prove its determination.''

    Representatives of 28 public institutions attended the meeting.

    -FOREIGN MINISTRY SAYS IT ALWAYS OBEYS SAVING MEASURES
    ANKARA - Huseyin Dirioz, the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, said on Wednesday that the Ministry always obeys the saving measures.

    Responding to a question about the Foreign Ministry's savings following the economic crisis, Dirioz said, ''many circulars have been issued in the ministry following the latest developments. The ministry also received many circulars issued by other authorities. As you know, the Foreign Ministry's budget is a budget dependent on foreign currency. Almost 90 percent of our expenditures are made in foreign currency.''

    Dirioz noted that the share of the Foreign Ministry in the general budget is 0.004 percent.

    ''It is hard to save by decreasing some expenditures like the security and current transactions,'' Dirioz said.

    Dirioz stated that they are trying to decrease some expenditures.

    ''Our ministry is not an investor ministry but a ministry which has current expenditures. For example, we are trying to save by reducing the expenditures of the communication department, but it is even hard to save in that department. Because, the affairs of the ministry mainly depends on communication. I do not think that transportation has an important part in the budget of our ministry,'' Dirioz said.

    Responding to a question on the news stories, saying that Swiss Foreign Minister Anna Lindh immediately gave an appointment to Diyarbakir Mayor from the People's Democracy Party (HADEP) although she has not responded to the appointment demand of Selim Kuneralp, the Turkish Ambassador to Stockholm, for three months, Dirioz said, ''we do not have any demand which has not met about this issue.''

    -FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN DIRIOZ:
    -''THE MAIN REASON FOR TURKEY'S DEFENSE EXPENDITURES
    IS NOT GREECE BUT ITS REGIONAL POSITION''
    ANKARA - Huseyin Dirioz, the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, said on Wednesday that the main reason for Turkey's defense expenditures is not Greece, but its regional position.

    When a reporter reminded him about the statement of Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou about the mutual reduction in purchase of weapons, Dirioz said, ''Papandreou's words were uttered in a good way. These are declarations which reflect the new threat perceptions of Greece which we consider as positive. Turkey's geographical position and that of Greece are not similar. The main reason for Turkey's defense expenditures is not Greece, but its (Turkey's) regional position. Besides, this is an issue which should be evaluated by our military authorities.''

    When asked about how they evaluate Papandreou's proposals about the demilitarization of Cyprus, Dirioz said that they consider the security and guarantee system on the island, including the number of soldiers deployed on the island, as one of the elements of a final solution.

    Dirioz noted that it is early to talk about this issue in a period when a comprehensive solution on Cyprus is not close.

    ''We are against the EU membership negotiations of the Greek Cypriot administration from the very beginning,'' Dirioz said.

    Reminding reporters that Turkey has announced its attitude in every opportunity since 1990, Dirioz said, ''the application of the Greek Cypriot administration on behalf of whole Cyprus does not have any legal base. Also, a negotiation process which ignores the equal and sovereign TRNC will cause problems. Good relations between Turkey and Greece can have a positive effect on the Cyprus question. But, it should be known that Cyprus question is not an issue which is taken up in the bilateral level between Turkey and Greece.''

    Dirioz noted that the negotiations related with the dialogue process will be reviewed during Papandreou's visit to Ankara.

    The two ministers will be informed about the results that will be gained in the end of the Turkish-Greek monitoring committee meeting which is being held at the Foreign Ministry today, Dirioz stated.

    Dirioz added that the issues that the inter-parliamentary delegations are discussing are the initiatives related with the EU process and the level that the confidence-building measures have reached.

    -SUPPORT FROM ISRAEL TO STATE MINISTER DERVIS
    -ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER PERES TO MEET WITH DERVIS
    ANKARA - Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres will meet with State Minister Kemal Dervis during his visit to Turkey.

    Sources told the A.A correspondent on Wednesday that Peres who will come to Turkey on April 10, 2001, requested an appointment from State Minister Dervis through Uri Bar-Ner, the Israeli Ambassador to Turkey.

    Peres and Dervis will come together at 05:30 p.m. on April 10.

    Peres decreased Israel's inflation rate of 400 percent to zero as a result of his successful program.

    Diplomatic sources said that the meeting between Peres and Dervis could create concrete benefits for Turkey which has been trying to find source from world finance circles.

    Peres who will pay an official visit to Turkey as the guest of Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, will be received by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

    Peres is expected to express Israel's willingness to purchase Manavgat water.

    The issue was first brought onto agenda during Peres' visit to Turkey in 1994.

    Although Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon defends solving water problem by purifying sea water, Manavgat Water Project is expected to be put into practice as a result of Peres' efforts.

    An Israeli delegation is expected to come to Turkey at the end of April to hold talks on the project.

    Peres will inform Turkish officials on new Israeli government's policy about the Middle East peace process.

    Peres is expected to call on Turkish officials to convince Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to put an end to the acts of violence in the region to resume peace talks.

    He would listen to the Turkish officials proposals for resuming peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian sides.

    Peres will stress that Israel attributed great importance to Turkey's contributions to the peace process.

    -TURKEY'S BECOMING AN OBSERVER MEMBER IN DANUBE COMMISSION
    -FOREIGN MINISTRY SAYS THIS MEMBERSHIP WILL ENABLE TURKEY TO
    CLOSELY FOLLOW AND CONTRIBUTE TO WORKS OF COMMISSION
    ANKARA - The Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Turkey, as an observer member of the Danube Commission, can closely follow and contribute to the works of the Commission.

    A statement of the Ministry said that Turkey was accepted as an observer member of the Danube Commission in the 59th Plenary Session held in Budapest on April 2.

    The statement noted that this observer membership status is considered as the first stage in becoming a full member to the Commission.

    This observer membership status indicates the importance that Turkey attributes to regional cooperation in the Balkans and Central Europe, the statement pointed out.

    The Danube Commission is an organization which is in charge of the implementation of the convention on traffic on Danube river which was signed in Belgrade in 1948. The Commission is based in Budapest.

    Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Ukraine and Yugoslavia are members of the commission.

    Although Turkey is not littoral to the Danube river, it is situated in the basin which is affected the most environmentally and economically.

    The Turkish Straits are the only access of the water, which reaches the Black Sea via all Europe through the Main-Danube channel, to the Mediterranean.

    [02] RAHMI KOC TO HOST DINNER FOR FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH

    ISTANBUL - Koc Holding Chairman Rahmi Koc will host a dinner tonight for former U.S. President George Bush and representatives of The Carlyle Group.

    The Koc Group's top officials, leading representatives of the Turkish business world and chairmen of a number of non-governmental organizations will attend the dinner.

    Former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and former Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci are among the executives of the Carlyle Group which will stay in Turkey until April 6.

    The Carlyle Group will explore cooperation opportunities with the Koc Group. The two sides are planning a long lasting partnership which would include several sectors.

    The executives of the two companies will have a meeting on Thursday and discuss cooperation on telecommunication, energy and defense fields.

    As the first step to Carlyle-Koc cooperation, the two groups agreed to make investment on inter-companies commerce on the internet. The internet site which will be formed will not only give service to Turkey but to other countries in the region.

    The Washington, D.C. based Carlyle Group is one of the biggest investment funds of the world. The company was founded in 1987 and its investments reached 5.8 billion U.S. dollars so far. The company invests mainly in defense, aviation, telecommunication, energy, data processing technologies, health and environment sectors.

    The company has 390 investors in 50 countries. Bank of America, Bankers Trust, Chase Manhattan and Credit Suisse are among these investors.

    [03] STATE MINISTER DERVIS (2):

    -''WE CAN SAY THAT A CURRENCY RATE AROUND 1 MILLION 100 THOUSAND
    TL WILL REFLECT THE REAL BALANCES BY THE END OF APRIL''
    ANKARA - State Minister Kemal Dervis said on Wednesday that they can say that a currency rate around 1 million 100 thousand Turkish lira (TL) will reflect the real balances by the end of April.

    Attending the regular working lunch of the Turkish Civil Engineers and Installers' Employers Union (INTES), Dervis said that a currency rate higher than this means a crisis.

    Dervis noted that the monetary prices do not reflect the realities for the time-being.

    Touching on the currency and Central Bank policies, Dervis said, ''the government announced that the Central Bank will not protect a certain currency rate as of February. To this end, the currency is free for the time-being. There is not a certain currency target. It is so natural that the markets are disturbed by the floating exchange rate regime. It is not easy to get used to this when the currency is floating freely.''

    Dervis continued, ''what can happen? we have to look at the experiences of other countries. When we look at the experiences of the countries which faced such crisis, firstly a confusion may occur. When the currency rate is free, the increase in foreign currencies is inevitable.''

    When February is taken as a base in respect of the currency rate, there was an extreme valuation because the inflation rate climbed over the currency changes, Dervis said.

    Dervis continued, ''the deficiency of the former program was this. When you take the currency before February crisis as a base and added 15-20 percent on it, the real currency was around 850-900 thousand TL by the end of February. When we take into consideration April, the inflation rate was high because of the crisis. If we think the inflation as cumulatively 20-25 percent in March-April, we have to put 20-25 percent on the currency by the end of April.''

    ''This means if we take action from the real currency, the rate which is around 1 million 100 thousand TL by the end of April can reflect the real balances. A rate higher than this means a crisis and a big risk,'' Dervis added.

    Dervis said that they do not have a target in currency and that every body should make his own calculations.

    ''Buying a foreign currency at a very high rate may not be lucrative,'' Dervis said.

    Dervis noted that similar situations occured in other countries but that the extreme valuation in the foreign currencies stopped as the program was put forward and the balances were restored.

    ''This happened in many countries. To this end, if we become successful, we expect the similar situation in Turkey. But, we do not exactly know what will happen,'' Dervis added.


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