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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 02-02-15

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

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

Anadolu Ajansı

ANADOLU AJANSI

NEWS

15 February

2002 Friday

Türkiye

Dünya

Parlamento

Ekonomi

Spor

Sanat-Magazin

Sağlık

T

urkey


CONTENTS

  • [01] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

  • [01] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

    These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on February 15, 2002. The Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

    HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

    ''WE WANT CAPITAL PUNISHMENT TO BE ABOLISHED AND EDUCATION IN MOTHER
    TONGUE''
    The European Union (EU) notified its sine qua non conditions to Ankara. Guenter Verheugen, the EU Commissioner for enlargement, told Ankara in a clear way that full membership negotiations would be opened in case all the political criteria were fulfilled. Verheugen asked a question to Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, impliying the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) if ''there was a compromise in the government on the adjustment laws.'' Foreign Minister Ismail Cem asked for a negotiation date from Verheugen.

    TURKISH UNIT LEAVES FOR AFGHANISTAN TODAY
    The first Turkish troop will go to Afghanistan today. The Turkish unit compromised of 261 personnel will join the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The unit will be seen off by a ceremony held in 28th Mechanized Brigade Command in Ankara.

    MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

    THERE IS NO MORE DISMISSAL FROM WORK DISCRETIONARY
    The employer can no more dismiss his or her employee without putting forth a valid reason. The draft labour security law has been presented to the parliament. When the draft law is enacted, a lawsuit filed by an employee dismissed by the discretion of the employer can be finalized within three month. If the employer cannot put forth ''a valid reason'' at the court, he or she has to recruit that employee again. If the employer does not recruit the earlier dismissed employee, he or she has to pay a compensation equal to 6-month wage.

    JUDGE: ''FORGERY''
    The U.S. court will give a verdict about the lawsuit filed by Motorola and Nokia requesting the court to impose precautionary measure to shares of Telsim on Friday. Judge Rakoff told the lawyers of Uzan family, the owner of Telsim, that if the things claimed to be done really happened, it was forgery.

    SABAH (LIBERAL)

    SHAMEFUL TABLE
    In the most comprehensive bribery survey of recent years, this result was gained: 46 out of 100 people have to bribe to have his or her work done. The Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) carried out the survey in 1,250 companies. ''Bribery and corruption'' which was ranked the eighth ten years ago in the list of ''Turkey's most important problems'' climbed to the second stage today. Inflation is ranked the first while unemployment is the third. The companies mostly bribe policemen controlling traffic and customs officials. Here is the rate of bribes given by companies: 53 percent to traffic, 49 percent to customs, 38 percent to title deed, 33 percent to police, 23 percent to municipalities, 16 percent to hospitals and 16 percent to tax offices.

    SINCERE CONFESSION OF EU COMMISSIONER: ''WE HAVE NOW UNDERSTOOD TURKEY'S
    VALUE''
    European Union (EU) Commissioner Guenter Verheugen for enlargement said that the Istanbul Summit that brought together the Islam countries and the West showed Europe that there were things in Turkey which could not be offered by anybody else. the EU Commissioner said that those values were standing there, but they were more visible today. Verheugen noted that Europe saw what it could gain from Turkey as a member.

    CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

    LINN: ''STRUCTURAL REFORMS INSUFFICIENT''
    World Bank Vice President Johannes Linn said that he had listened to similar speeches and delivered a similar speech when he visited Turkey in November 2000 and put forth that he did not like one and a half years of Turkey's foreign capital performace. Linn claimed that Turkey's initiatives were not enough to encourage direct foreign investments although it was taking steps for structural reforms.

    EU RETOUCHING ON CONSUMER LAW
    The Law on Protection of Consumers that was adopted in 1995 is being re- shaped in line with European Union (EU) criteria. The draft law which foresees amendments in the current law on protection of consumers in order to limit the interest rates taken due to delay in repayment of credit card use and prevention of commission in credit card use was sent to the Office of Parliament Speaker. The draft law broadens the definition of faulty goods.

    RADIKAL (LEFT)

    WHAT A MISFORTUNE
    Aksit family which moved to Kocaeli province following an earthquake which hit central Dinar township in 1997, was rescued alive from the rubble in the devastating earthquake that hit Marmara Region in 1999. The family later turned to central Afyon province while they also experienced the earthquake which rocked this province on February 3.

    BOSS OF EU ASSISTANCE IS DERVIS AND YILMAZ
    European Union (EU) Commissioner Guenter Verheugen and Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz signed the memorandum of understanding on the financial assistance of the EU to Turkey. The memorandum of understanding foresees the formation of necessary institutional structures for the transfer of technical and financial management of the EU programmes to be made in Turkey to Turkish government. State Minister Kemal Dervis, who would have the title ''national authorization official'' will be responsible to take under guarantee the harmony of tendering, reporting and financial management of programmes with EU rules and methods. Secretariat General for EU will be responsible for the ''central financial tender department'' to be formed within the framework of the memorandum.

    TURKIYE (RIGHT)

    SHAME OF CORRUPTION
    World Bank rebuked Turkey for unsound proceedings in public sector. World Bank Vice President Johannes Linn said that the hurdles before the foreign investors could not be lifted. For example, Linn noted, buying a land lasted for four years in Turkey while it could be bought in a few months in Mexico. Linn said that he would like to stress once more that Turkey had to end corruption.

    KORAY AYDIN ACQUITTED
    Former Public Works and Housing Minister Koray Aydin was not sent to the Constitutional Court. The Parliamentary General Assembly discussed the report of the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission which was set up to investigate the claims that Aydin made corruption in tenders. The parliament decided that Aydin was not guilty in the secret ballot and did not send him to the Constitutional Court.

    ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

    NSC: ''WE DID NOT LEAK OUT E-MAILS OF FOGG''
    National Security Council (NSC) Secretariat General said on Thursday that news stories were published in certain papers the same day hinting that the information about the e-mail messages of EU Commission's Representative to Turkey Karen Fogg was obtained from NSC Secretariat General. ''NSC Secretariat General has never been involved in such activities,'' said the Secretariat General issuing a written statement on the issue. ''Such claims which were covered by certain press organs on Feb. 14 are totally baseless, '' it was noted.

    WORKS RE-START ON SECOND CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BILL
    Interparties Compromise Commission re-started on Thursday works on a second bill that would cover amendments to some articles of the Constitution. The commission convened on Thursday under the chairmanship of Deputy Parliament Speaker Yuksel Yalova. The commission withdrew from only changing the article 175 of the Constitution regulating the amendment of the Constitution, participation in elections and referendums and decided to take up all the other articles, the amendment of which were in question. The commission will re-meet following the Feast of Sacrifice and take up the amendments.

    -FOREIGN MINISTRY COORDINATOR FOR AFGHANISTAN MEETS U.S. OFFICIALS
    WASHINGTON D.C. - Aydemir Erman, the Foreign Ministry Special Coordinator for Afghanistan, has taken up the role that Turkey can undertake in restructuring of Afghanistan during his contacts with officials of World Bank and U.S. administration in Washington D.C.

    Sources said on Friday that Erman, who was in Washington D.C for two days, met with U.S. President George Bush's Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Representative for coordination with Afghan groups James Dobbins and World Bank's officials responsible for Afghanistan.

    The sources noted that Turkey's and Turkish companies' role in restructuring of Afghanistan was taken up during the contacts.

    Turkey is also representated in the group of experts set up for the restructuring of Afghanistan within the framework of the World Bank.

    The sources added that Erman's contacts were the continuation of the contacts that Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit held during his visit to the United States regarding the future of Afghanistan.

    -U.S. CONGRESS DELEGATION DUE TO TURKEY
    WASHINGTON D.C, Feb 15 (A.A) - A delegation comprised of members of U.S. House of Representatives will visit Turkey in order to develop Turkish- American relations.

    The delegation will be headed by Democrat Party deputy Robert Wexler and comprised of Republican Party deputy Kay Granger, Democrat Party deputy Jim Moran, Republican Party deputy Cliff Stearns and Tom Tancredo.

    The congress members are expected to meet with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Parliament Speaker Omer Izgi, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and other high-level officials during their visit between February 16-22.

    The U.S. parliamentarians will focus on the fight against terrorism and improvement of bilateral relations, particularly in defense and energy and take up Afghanistan, Turkish-Israeli relations, Iraq, Middle East, Balkans, Central Asia and Caucasus.

    The delegation is also foreseen to hold contacts related with the Turkish- U.S. Economic Partnership Commission meeting scheduled to be held in Ankara between February 26-27.

    The U.S. Congress delegation is expected to visit Incirlik base and meet with American officers there.

    Wexler is expected to meet with religious leaders of Greek, Armenian and Jewish societies.

    Robert Wexler presented a resolution to the U.S. Congress calling for improvement of all dimensions of Turkish-American-Israeli relations this week.

    -TURKEY ASKS FOR AIR SUPPORT AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR AFGHAN FORCE
    NEW YORK - Turkey, which is expected to take over the command of peace force in Afghanistan mid-April, has asked for air support and financial assistance.

    Since the international force in Afghanistan is not in mission under the United Nations (U.N.) command, the countries taking part in the force meet their expenses by themselves.

    U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said that he thought that Afghan peace force should continue its mission for at least 18 months. Annan and high- level U.N. officials are trying to convince Bush administration about this issue.

    Sources from the United Nations said on Friday that when Annan had a meeting with U.S. President George Bush on Wednesday, he drew the attention that the term of mandate of peace force under command of Britain was six months.

    The sources quoted Annan as stressing that there was a need for at least 18 months to establish a reliable army and peace force in Afghanistan.

    When Hamid Karzai, the head of the interim government in Afghanistan, had a meeting with Bush last month and addressed the U.N. Security Council in New York, he requested that the soldiers of peace force be increased and its term of mission be extended.

    Bush was not away from that thought but he noted that general Tommy Franks, who was conducting the war in Afghanistan, was the person to say the last word, the sources said.

    The sources noted that Franks was against the views that the peace force should also work outside capital Kabul.

    Annan's Special Envoy for Afghanistan Lahkdar Brahimi for Afghanistan held contacts with the countries sending troops to Afghanistan like Britain, France, and Germany and asked those countries to provide the mission of peace force also outside Kabul, the sources stated.

    The sources claimed that despite this, many countries refrained from giving extra units to be deployed outside Kabul because they did not want to intervene in the internal conflicts among Afghan tribe leaders.

    U.N. sources said that some countries put forth their view that there was need for at least 7,000 soldiers to be deployed in seven regions in Afghanistan outside Kabul.

    Around 3,000 soldiers are deployed in Kabul for the time being.

    Britain, which is currently commanding the peace force, is expected to hand over the mission to Turkey mid-April.

    -PRESIDENT SEZER SAYS CORRUPTION CONSTITUTES IMPORTANT PART OF TURKEY'S
    PROBLEMS
    ISTANBUL - President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said on Friday that corruption constituted an important part of Turkey's problems.

    Sezer attended a meeting in which the results of the second survey of Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) on corruption were presented.

    Speaking at the meeting, Sezer said that people had put forth their views about the reasons of corruption and solution proposals in the first survey carried out by TESEV.

    The results of the survey reflected the sensitivities of the people, Sezer noted.

    Sezer stated that TESEV was announcing the results of the second part of the survey and expressed belief that TESEV's surveys and initiatives would contribute to fight against corruption.

    It was a necessity that Turkey had to renew itself and take more steps in many fields in the changing conditions of the world, Sezer said.

    All parts of the society was in a consensus of opinion about the things that Turkey had to do to become an efficient countries in the modern world, Sezer pointed out.

    Sezer said that a strong and brilliant Turkey, which had solved its main problems like corruption, illiteracy, and corruption, which had upgraded its national prosperity to the level of developed countries, which had taken under guarantee individual rights and liberties, which had become an esteemed member of the modern community, which had completed its democratization, is a country that all Turkish people wanted to see.

    There was no doubt that Turkish nation would support their determination to achieve that goal and their reforms and steps, Sezer noted.

    Sezer stated that corruption constituted an important part of Turkey's problems and said that corruption, which was one of the common problems of the globalizing world although it changed according to conditions of every country, should not be allowed to change the economic balances.

    One of the criteria of being a developed country was the success marked in fighting corruption and ensuring transparency in management, Sezer said.

    Sezer stated that fight against political, administrative and economic corruption was an issue which should be dealth with seriously.

    To this end, on one hand Turkey had to accelerate its searches to make its administration more efficient on the other hand it should be determined to continue the fight against corruption that led to economic problems.

    -WORLD BANK VICE PRESIDENT SAYS MANY CORRUPTION PROBLEMS IN TURKEY
    STEM FROM STRUCTURE OF PUBLIC SECTOR
    ISTANBUL - World Bank Vice President Johannes Linn said on Friday that many corruption problems in Turkey stemmed from structure of public sector like in other countries.

    Speaking at a conference held by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) in which the second survey on corruption was announced, Linn said that TESEV's survey was a model for the region and strengthened the dialogue between the non-governmental organizations and the government regarding corruption.

    Linn noted that the government had developed a strategy for fight against corruption and noted that it took determined steps to implement structural and institutional reforms for better government.

    It was inspiring the hopes that these efforts were synchronous with the efforts of the non-governmental organizations, Linn said.

    Linn stated that ''the national strategy to increase transparency and improve efficient public administration'' which was prepared by a steering committee a short time ago and expected to be put to practice soon, constituted a consistent frame for fight against corruption.

    The relations between the public and private sector indicated that corruption problem in Turkey stemmed from the structure of the public sector, Linn said.

    Linn stressed that this strategy was complemental for ongoing reforms in energy, telecommunication and financial sectors, reforms in state procurement system, and reforms in public sector.

    Reforms had to be made in public employment system, Linn said.

    -WORLD BANK VICE PRESIDENT SAYS MANY CORRUPTION PROBLEMS IN TURKEY
    STEM FROM STRUCTURE OF PUBLIC SECTOR
    ISTANBUL - World Bank Vice President Johannes Linn said on Friday that many corruption problems in Turkey stemmed from structure of public sector like in other countries.

    Speaking at a conference held by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) in which the second survey on corruption was announced, Linn said that TESEV's survey was a model for the region and strengthened the dialogue between the non-governmental organizations and the government regarding corruption.

    Linn noted that the government had developed a strategy for fight against corruption and noted that it took determined steps to implement structural and institutional reforms for better government.

    It was inspiring the hopes that these efforts were synchronous with the efforts of the non-governmental organizations, Linn said.

    Linn stated that ''the national strategy to increase transparency and improve efficient public administration'' which was prepared by a steering committee a short time ago and expected to be put to practice soon, constituted a consistent frame for fight against corruption.

    The relations between the public and private sector indicated that corruption problem in Turkey stemmed from the structure of the public sector, Linn said.

    Linn stressed that this strategy was complemental for ongoing reforms in energy, telecommunication and financial sectors, reforms in state procurement system, and reforms in public sector.

    Reforms had to be made in public employment system, Linn said.

    -FOREIGN TRADE UNDERSECRETARY SAYS TURKISH PRODUCTS COMPETE IN
    WORLD MARKETS THANKS TO THEIR QUALITY
    SALONICA - Foreign Trade Undersecretary Kursad Tuzmen said on Friday that Turkish products were competing in the world market thanks to their high quality.

    Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of Infacoma 2002 Fair in Salonica, Tuzmen said that Turkey's exportation was increasing every year and that this increase would also continue in the following years.

    Tuzmen noted that it was the right of both Turkish and Greek businessmen to have more share in world trade.

    Their common goal should be reaching better days and conditions, Tuzmen said.

    Tuzmen stated that they aimed to improve commercial and economic relations with Greek enterpreneurs.

    The quality and advanced technology of products of almost 40 companies joining the fair would not only increase reciprocal trade volume but also contribute to further improvement of cooperation in production and marketing, Tuzmen pointed out.

    Tuzmen said that foreign trade figures between Turkey and Greece were very low when the potential of the two countries was taken into consideration.

    Kursad Tuzmen expressed belief that Turkish and Greek businessmen would exert efforts needed to increase the trade volume, adding that recent developments were encouraging.

    -EU COMMISSIONER VERHEUGEN SAYS EU WILL NOT CHANGE ITS ENLARGEMENT SCHEDULE
    FOR TURKEY AND CYPRUS
    ANKARA - European Union (EU) Commissioner Guenter Verheugen for enlargement said on Friday that the EU would and could not change its enlargement schedule for Turkey and Cyprus.

    Speaking at a conference on Turkey-EU relations held at Middle East Technical University (METU), Verheugen said that the union had to give a decision if a solution was not reached on the island till the end of 2002.

    Verheugen said, ''whether or not you liked, Cyprus government (Greek Cypriot government) is legally representing the island in international arena.''

    This was neither his personel nor the EU's view, Verheugen noted.

    Verheugen said that the United Nations (U.N.) resolutions about this issue were very clear and noted that the EU's candidates were not only Turkey and Cyprus and there were some East European countries.

    Those countries had recorded significant progress in a short time under more difficult conditions when compared to Turkey, Verheugen noted.

    Verheugen said that if they changed the enlargement schedule for Cyprus, the progress marked with those countries would be in vain.

    They would provide economic support for Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) if a solution was found on Cyprus, Verheugen stated.

    Verheugen said that allocation of a total of 100 million euro in this respect at the end of 2006 was on their agenda.

    -TURKISH UNION TO LEAVE FOR AFGHANISTAN
    ANKARA - Chief of General Staff Gen. Huseyin Kıvrıkoglu said on Friday that the Turkish Armed Forces will continue to support all kinds of initiatives and the fight with terrorism which will contribute to the regional and world peace together with the armed forces of friendly countries.

    A ceremony was held at the 28th Mechanized Infantryman Brigade in Ankara upon the departure of the Turkish Union to take part in the International Security Assitance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

    Sending a message to the ceremony, Gen. Kıvrıkoglu said that the basis of the Turkish foreign policy is the directive of Ataturk which is ''peace at home and peace in the world.''

    ''The basic aim of the Turkish Armed Forces is to support this peaceful policy. Therefore, the Turkish unit has been charged to contribute to the installation of peace in friendly Afghanistan and to help the ISAF which is in Kabul,'' he said.

    Noting that the the terrorist attacks on September 11 in the U.S. showed once again that terrorism could only be prevented by the total resistance of all world countries against terrorism, Gen. Kıvrıkoglu said that ''Turkish Armed Forces which is one of the basic elements in ensuring peace and security and installation of stability in its region, has been charged in many regions from Korea to Somali from Bosnia to Kosovo to contribute to installation and continuation of international peace and security.''

    Calling on the Turkish soldiers, Kıvrıkoglu said that ''you will contribute to the installation of peace in Afghanistan with your discipline, physical and spiritual strength and objective practices. I wish you health and success in this historical mission which has been given to the Turkish Armed Force.''

    -VERHEUGEN SAYS TURKEY'S STARTING FULL MEMBERSHIP NEGOTIATIONS
    DEPENDS ON ITS FULLFILLING ACCESSION CRITERIA
    ANKARA - Guenter Verheugen, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement said on Friday that Turkey's starting full membership negotiations depends on its fulling accession criteria, which is valid for all candidade countries.

    Speaking in the conference held in the Middle East University on ''Turkey- EU Relations,'' Verheugen said that ''Turkey says from time to time that the EU has to give a clearer perspective regarding its membership. I can understand the reason of that. However, our commitment is clear. Helsinki and Laeken summits are important milestones in this respect.''

    Noting that they don't expect Turkey to carry the burden on its own in the EU process, Verheugen said that ''considerable work needs to be done to comply with the Accession Partnership priorities.''

    Verheugen said that the establishment of macroeconomic stability is an immediate priority, adding that significant restructuring is still needed in various sectors, such as banking, agriculture and in state enterprises.

    The year 2002 will also be the year to build on constitutional reforms year, said Verheugen and noted that ''the important amendments adopted on October 3, 2001 need to be translated into real improvements in practice so as they are felt by Turkish citizens. This is particularly the case in areas such as the freedom of expression, the fight against torture and usage of languages other than Turkish.''

    He said that the content of the harmonisation package adopted by the parliament falls behind than the European standards, but he also expressed pleasure over the discussions that was made in the Turkish public opinion about the package.

    Referring to the ongoing process between the two sides in Cyprus, Verheugen said that ''It is the EU Commission's view that bearing in mind the Helsinki European Council conclusions, it would be highly desirable to reach a comprehensive settlement on the island by June, 2002, and in any event before the end of the accession negotiations. The EU has made clear on a number of occasitions that there is no question of delaying the calander of EU enlargement.''

    Verheugen said that if demanded the EU Commission is ready to provide advice about the acquis, if requested, adding that ''it is obvious however that there is no question of the EU seeking to become involved in the negotiations for a settlement. The parties themselves have full ownership of this process.''

    Verheugen noted that the EU Commission is ready to do its best to facilitate the integration of Turkish Cypriots into the enlarged Union and is envisaging substantial financial support for the northern part of the island, following accession to promote economic, social and regional development.

    ''The financial package will reach 100 millions by 2006, under current proposals,'' he added.

    -FM CEM MEETS WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF BUSINESS WORLD
    ANKARA - Rifat Hisarcıklıoglu, the Chairman of Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) said on Friday that they wanted to get shares from the textile market in the U.S.

    Hisarcıklıoglu, Chairman of Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen Association (TUSIAD) Tuncay Ozilhan, Turkey Exporters Union (TIM) Chairman Oguz Satıcı and Foreign Economic Relations Council official Serif Egeli met with Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal and Foreign Minister Ismail Cem to discuss economic issues before the meeting of Turkey-U.S. Economic Partnership Council decided to be formed between the two countries during the visit of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit to the U.S.

    Hisarcıklıoglu said after the meeting held in the Foreign Ministry that they evaluated the studies undertaken to date, adding that ''we evaluated the information gathered reciprocally. The technical studies will also continue in the afternoon.''

    Upon a question, TOBB Chairman said that the textile issue has to be definitely sorted out with the U.S., adding that the private sector invested 50 billion dollars in five years in the textile sector.

    ''We invested 150 billion dollars in textile to date. We wish this sector should not be ignored. In fact, we don't get much share, we want to get shares from our rivals' share in the market. We don't aim to enlarge the American market, but on the contrary, we want to increase our share in the American market,'' Hisarcıklıoglu said.

    The technical studies of the public institutions on this issue will continue in the afternoon.

    -VERHEUGEN:''TURKEY PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE AS A MEMBER OF
    BROAD ANTI-TERRORIST COALITION''
    ANKARA - EU Commisioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen has said that Turkey was playing an important role as a member of the broad anti- terrorist coalition.

    Veheugen stated that after Sept. 11, some observers expressed a fear of a shift of emphasis from democracy to security all over the world. ''Fortunately, this did not happen either in Turkey or elsewhere in the world. Turkey has confirmed this by continuing to pursue reforms designed to strengthen democracy and the protection of human rights,'' he maintained.

    Drawing attention to the list of terrorist organizations prepared by the EU and Turkey's concerns regarding this list, Verheugen said the EU was revising this list every six months.

    Verheugen congratulated Turkey for organizing OIC-EU Joint Forum and thus greatly contributing to harmony between civilizations.

    Answering questions, Verheugen said that Turkey's present situation was not any worse than the situations of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland before these countries became EU members and added that population and financial issues should not constitute a big obstacle in front of Turkey. He said that Turkey's development in these fields was also for the EU's interest. He indicated that the EU carried out a number of programs in less developed countries to close the gap between them and the developed countries and obtained good results from these programs. He also pointed out that Turkey's joining the EU should not be regarded as only an economic issue but it should be regarded as a project that would bring peace and stability to Europe.

    Responding to a question about Cyprus' EU membership, Verheugen said ''The Northern Cyprus is not recognized in the international arena. This is not my personal view, nor the EU's. This is clearly stated by the U.N. Whether you like it or not, the Cyprus Republic (Greek Cypriot administration) represents the island of Cyprus in the international arena.''

    Verheugen said that when he visited Cyprus last year, he observed that there was a significant economic gap between people living on two sides of the island.

    ''I'm not expressing my own personal views here,'' he went on to say. ''Helsinki results are clear. According to this, an agreement in the island is not a precondition, but it is a desired result. Verheugen stated that there were other EU candidate countries other than Turkey and Cyprus and certain Eastern European nations made significant progress in a short time although their conditions were worse than Turkey's.''

    When one of the participants asked what would happen if a solution is not found in Cyprus before the end of 2002, Verheugen said ''I'd rather not answer that question at this stage.''


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