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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 02-02-21

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

21 February

2002 Thursday

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 21, 2002. The Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

    HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

    ''PLEASE RECALL THIS LADY''
    Although the Foreign Affairs Ministry stated that it did not take any action to request the European Union (EU) to recall EU Commission Representative to Turkey Karen Fogg, it sent a message to the EU to recall Fogg. A series of meetings were held in Ankara about Fogg. Consequently, Ankara decided that EU's recalling Fogg would be more beneficial for the relations between Turkey and the EU.

    TURKISH MEMBER OF TALIBAN CAPTURED IN ANKARA
    Aytac Polat, a Turkish citizen who joined Taliban together with his 15 friends, was captured in Ankara. Polat was in Taliban's Bagram Camp when terrorists attacked the twin towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York, the United States, on September 11, 2001. Polat told security forces that he fled to Pakistan after Taliban regime was overthrown.

    MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

    ''WE SHOULD BE MORE COURAGEOUS''
    State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP), said, ''I do not agree with the opinion saying that

    if education in Kurdish is allowed, Turkey will be separated. I believe that unnecessary bans and preventions constitute material for PKK's propaganda. When we allow education in Kurdish, probably just a few people will benefit from it. If we lift the ban on Kurdish, we will destroy an important material of the terrorist organization. Turkey needs some courage and self-confidence in order to take this step.''

    OLD TESTAMENT CONFISCATED IN TRABZON
    Security forces confiscated four-thousand-year-old Testament in Akcaabat township of northern province of Trabzon. Acting on a tip-off, undercover security officials contacted with Georgian citizen Gia Kahidze, and Turkish citizens Leyla Yazgan, Omer Ali Ozturk, Goksen Sonmez and Cemil Yamak who attempted to sale the ancient book in return for 2 thousand U.S. dollars. They were captured and detained. The Testament written in Hebrew is composed of 51 chapters and 263 pages.

    SABAH (LIBERAL)

    PRODI: ''PLEASE FIND RESPONSIBLES''
    Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit held a telephone conversation with European Union (EU) Commission President Chairman Romano Prodi. Prodi called Ecevit on the phone. Prodi discussed the leaking of EU Commission's Representative in Turkey Karen Fogg's e-mails to the press. Prodi asked Ecevit to take necessary action to find the responsibles. Prime Minister Ecevit expressed sorrow over leaking of Fogg's e-mails to the press, added that they had been paying careful attention to the issue.

    YILMAZ: ''TURKEY WILL NOT HOLD GENERAL ELECTIONS BEFORE AUTUMN 2003''
    State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP), said, ''I do not suppose that Turkey would hold general elections before autumn 2003.'' Yilmaz noted, ''according to my point of view, there are serious difficulties in making some changes. Reconstruction in politics may be made probably after the next general elections.'' ''I do not see any chance of elections before autumn 2003. General elections are usually held in the autumn in Turkey and the polls in spring 1999 had been unusual. Turkey may hold an early election in autumn of next year. But it should not be described as an early election. According to my point of view, early election will not be beneficial for Turkey. I believe that differences of opinion among coalition partners would not reach the point of early election,'' he said.

    CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

    SECURITY FORCES DETAIN 16 PEOPLE
    Security forces detained a total of 19 people including Human Rights Association (IHD) Provincial Chairman Eren Keskin, who attempted to hold an illegal demonstration in Istanbul's Sultanahmet district to protest F-type prisons. A group of members of IHD and relatives of prisoners gathered in Mehmet Akif Ersoy Part in Sultanahmet district, and wanted to make a press release to protest F-type prisons. Security forces warned members of the group to disperse immediately. However, members of the group insisted on making a press release. Security forces intervened in the group, and detained 16 people.

    CEM SPEAKS TO PERES AND ARAFAT ON PHONE
    Foreign Minister Ismail Cem held telephone conversation both with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Huseyin Dirioz said that the latest situation in the Middle East had been discussed during Cem's telephone conversations with Peres and Arafat. Dirioz said that Cem had stressed importance of ending of clashes immediately and focusing on efforts for peace and reiterated that both sides should act with common sense and expend every effort to this end.

    RADIKAL (LEFT)

    LONG LINE OF PENSION CLAIMS TWO LIVES
    Retired people joined a long line in front of banks to get their pensions before the five-day religious holiday. 67-year-old Serif Colak and 45-year- old Havva Yagci died of hearth attact while waiting in the line.

    TURKEY AND SPAIN SIGN MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
    Turkey and Spain signed a memorandum of understanding for economic and financial cooperation. Treasury Undersecretary Faik Oztrak and Spanish Economy Ministry Trade and Tourism State Secretary Juan Costa Climent signed the memorandum of understanding. The Treasury Undersecretariat said, ''under the memorandum of understanding, a total of 400 million U.S. dollars of finance has been provided. The finance is composed of 200 million U.S. dollars of government loan and 200 million U.S. dollars of export loan. This finance will be used to finance projects in Turkey won by Spanish firms.''

    TURKIYE (RIGHT)

    TUSIAD DELEGATION TO MEET WITH SPANISH PRIME MINISTER
    A delegation of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) headed by Tuncay Ozilhan will meet with Spanish Prime Minister Jose-Maria Aznar. TUSIAD said that the delegation would have contacts in Spain regarding EU-Turkey and Turkey-Spain relations. TUSIAD delegation will come together with the Spanish Employers Confederation (CEOE), which represents the Spanish private sector. TUSIAD delegation will also meet with Prime Minister Jose-Maria Aznar of Spain, the EU Term President, and Foreign Minister Joseph Pique. Turkish-EU relations will have priority in the meetings. The Turkish side will particularly stress the contribution of Turkey's full membership to the EU's political stability and global competition power.

    ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

    YILMAZ: ''IF WE DO NOT FULFILL OUR COMMITMENTS,
    WE WILL BECOME EU'S IMAGINARY MEMBER''
    State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said, ''if we do not fulfill our commitments till March 19, we will become an imaginary member of the European Union (EU).'' Yilmaz added that March would be the most critical month for relations between Turkey and the EU.

    -TREASURY TO REPAY USD 126.2 MILLION OF EXTERNAL DEBT NEXT WEEK
    ANKARA - Treasury will repay 126.2 million U.S. dollars of external debt next week.

    According to the Treasury Undersecretariat statistics, Treasury will repay 99.7 million U.S. dollars on February 26, 21.9 million U.S. dollars on February 27, 1.4 million U.S. dollars on February 28, and 3.2 million U.S. dollars on March 1.

    Treasury repaid 416.6 million U.S. dollars of foreign debt this week.

    Treasury has repaid 1 billion 260.8 million U.S. dollars of external debt so far since the beginning of the year 2002.

    -TURKEY REPAYS USD 6.8 BILLION IN FOREIGN DEBT BETWEEN FEB 1-20
    ANKARA - Turkey repaid a total of 6 billion 809.26 million U.S. dollars in external debt between February 1 and 20, 2002.

    The Central Bank data show that the Treasury repaid 487.70 million U.S. dollars; the Central Bank repaid 7.47 million U.S. dollars; 6 billion 287.33 million U.S. dollars was paid to International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the administrations with general and consolidated budget paid the remaining 26.76 million U.S. dollars.

    Turkey has repaid 7 billion 312.91 million U.S. dollars in external debt since the beginning of 2002.

    The total external debt repayments in 2001 had been 13 billion 53.9 million U.S. dollars.

    -PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT SAYS TERRORISM CONTRADICTS WITH MEANING OF ISLAM
    ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Wednesday, ''the Islam is a religion of peace. Therefore, terrorism contradicts with the meaning of the Islam.''

    Releasing a statement to mark the religious holiday, Prime Minister Ecevit said, ''the Islam is a religion of peace. Therefore, terrorism contradicts with the meaning of the Islam. As a result, Islamic countries have assumed a joint attitude against circles trying to show the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 as a necessity of the Islam. Such an attitude is a pleasing development in regard to both the Islam and the whole humanity. I wish that Islam world and whole humanity would live in peace.''

    -PRESIDENT SEZER DUE TO SLOVAKIA AND CZECH REPUBLIC
    ANKARA - President Ahmet Necdet Sezer will pay official visits to Slovakia and Czech Republic.

    Releasing a statement, the Presidential Press Center said on Thursday that President Sezer would pay an official visit to Slovakia between March 5 and 6, 2002 as the guest of his Slovakian counterpart Rudolf Schuster.

    Later, President Sezer would visit Czech Republic between March 6 and 8 upon the invitation of President Vaclav Havel of Czech Republic.

    Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and State Minister Tunca Toskay will accompany President Sezer during his visits.

    During President Sezer's contacts in these countries, bilateral relations, and regional and international developments will be taken up.

    -PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT HOLDS TELEPHONE CONVERSATION WITH KARZAI
    ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit held a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Hamid Karzai of interim government in Afghanistan.

    Sources told the A.A correspondent on Thursday that Karzai called Prime Minister Ecevit on the phone late on Wednesday.

    Karzai thanked Prime Minister Ecevit for sending a military troop to join the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

    Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ecevit said that he would be pleased with hosting Karzai in Turkey.

    Prime Minister Karzai said that he could come to Turkey at the end of March.

    -CEM SAYS IT IS A PERSONAL PREFERENCE TO WEAR BADGE OF POLITICAL PARTY
    ANKARA - Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Thursday about allegations saying that his wearing of a badge of the Democratic Left Party (DSP) as a preparation for DSP leadership, ''it is personal preference of all politicians, deputies and ministers to wear a badge of their political party.''

    Responding to an interrogation motion submitted to the parliament by Azmi Ates, an independent deputy from Istanbul, saying, ''whether or not Cem's wearing political party badge is unconvenient in regard to foreign policy that should be followed with a national understanding'', Cem said, ''role and importance of political approaches in formation of national policies cannot be ignored. However, claims saying that political approaches would play an important role in implementations like foreign policy, can mislead the public opinion.''

    Enumerating factors determining Turkey's foreign policy as Turkey's geographical, historical and cultural position, Cem said, ''foreign policy implementations are national values giving us more strength. Public opinion's support encourage us in our external relations. As Turkey's foreign minister, my mission and responsibilities are the most important symbols I have. It is personal preference of all politicians, deputies and ministers to wear badge of their political party''

    ''Turkey's foreign policy has recorded a considerable progress since June of 1997 when I have undertaken my mission. This progress proves that we have determined true targets. It is very pleasing to see that our national public opinion has begun to show more interest in foreign policy issues, and that importance attributed to Turkey in the international platform has increased. Having regard to situation in our region and in neigboring countries, Turkey's stability depends mostly on sound foreign relations. In order to feel ourself sound in our external relations, we need support of our public opinion. Each further step and each positive development in our external relations increase our self-confidence as a result of support of our public opinion,'' he stressed.

    -PRESIDENT AKAYEV OF KYRGYZSTAN IN ISTANBUL
    ISTANBUL - President Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan who is currently paying an official visit to Turkey attended a meeting organized by Turkish-Kyrgyz Business Council in Istanbul on Thursday.

    Speaking at the meeting, President Akayev said, ''Turkey has achieved great successes, and we have inspired from Turkey's successes. This meeting is an opportunity for me to thank Turkish businessmen.''

    Noting that Turkey was the biggest investor country in Kyrgyzstan, President Akayev said, ''Turkey's investments in Kyrgyzstan reached 350 million U.S. dollars. More than 400 Turkish companies have been acting in Kyrgyzstan. I want to call on Turkish businessmen to maintain their cooperation with Kyrgyz companies.''

    ''I believe that my visit to Turkey would make a positive contribution to further improvement of our bilateral relations. In order to develop the atmosphere of investment in Kyrgyzstan, we should remove preventing factors in our economy. We want to establish a maximum open economic model, and we want Turkey to play an important role in this model. We hope that we would benefit from experiences of Turkish businessmen. I have charged my bureaucrats to create the most appropriate conditions for Turkish businessmen. We expect Turkish businessmen to come to Kyrgyzstan,'' he said.

    Meanwhile, State Minister and Turkey-Kyrgyzstan Joint Economic Commission Co-President Resat Dogru said, ''economic and commercial relations between the two countries are far away from the desired level. Our businessmen have a great responsibility to this end. And our duty is to remove obstacles in front of our businessmen.''

    Dogru noted that they aimed at increasing the trade volume between Turkey and Kyrgyzstan up to 500 million U.S. dollars.

    Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Trade and Industry Minister Arzimat Suleymankulov of Kyrgyzstan said that Kyrgyzstan had had the most liberal regulations among other member countries to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

    Sulaymankulov noted that economic and commercial relations between Turkey and Kyrgyzstan should be increased to the level of political relations between the two countries.

    -TOURISM MINISTER TASAR SAYS TURKEY TARGETS TO HOST 14 MILLION TOURISTS
    MILAN - Tourism Minister Mustafa Tasar said on Thursday that Turkey targeted to host 14 million tourists in 2002.

    Tasar who is currently in Milan, Italy, to attend the International Tourism Fair, held a press conference.

    When asked, ''during your meeting with Cardinal Carlo Marini Martini, you proposed to organize a whirling dance performance in Milan's Duomo Church on December 17 within framework of activities to commemorate Mevlana. Can this proposal cause some polemics?'' Tasar said, ''religious places are houses of the God. Musicians can give concerts in churches. Mevlana is one of the leading personalities of humanism. Therefore, I believe that it would be beneficial to organize a whirling dance performance in Duomo Church. In inter-religious dialogue, different societies should support each other.''

    Tasar said that they would invite Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Martini to attend Santa Claus activities in Turkey this year.

    He stressed that Turkey targeted to host 14 million tourists in 2002.

    ''Last year, Turkey hosted 11 million 596 thousand 950 foreign tourists. We aimed at increasing this number up to 14 million in 2002,'' he said.

    Tasar said that a source of 1 million U.S. dollars had been allocated to promote Turkey in Italy.

    ''Number of Italian tourists visiting Turkey increased 44 percent to 314 thousand in 2001. We will launch initiatives to open a tourism representation in Milan,'' he added.

    -PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT SAYS KARZAI CALLED HIM ON PHONE
    ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Thursday, ''Prime Minister Hamid Karzai of interim government in Afghanistan called me on the phone overnight. Karzai said that he would be pleased with Turkey's taking over command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. He also noted that he would come to Ankara at the end of March.''

    Responding questions of journalists at the Prime Ministry Office, Prime Minister Ecevit said, ''we held a meeting at the Prime Ministry Office at 01:00 p.m. today Foreign Minister Ismail Cem; General Yasar Buyukanit, the Deputy Chief of General Staff; my military adviser General Koksal Karabay; Foreign Affairs Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal; and Foreign Minister Cem's Special Adviser Engin Sosyal were in attendance at the meeting which focused on Afghanistan.''

    ''Prime Minister Hamid Karzai of interim government in Afghanistan called me on the phone overnight. Karzai said that he would be pleased with Turkey's taking over command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Karzai stressed that he attributed great importance to Turkey's presence in Afghanistan. He also noted that he would come to Ankara at the end of March. We will be pleased to host him in Ankara. We attribute great importance to Karzai's opinions,'' he added.

    -PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT SAYS EU MEMBERSHIP IS A NATIONAL MATTER
    ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Thursday, ''membership to the European Union (EU) is a national matter. It is not the matter of only government or coalition partners. It is directly a matter of our nation and state.''

    Prime Minister Ecevit responded to questions of journalists at the Prime Ministery Office.

    Question: Have you taken a decision about undertaking command of the Peace Force in Afghpanistan and some expenses?

    Answer: We have been assessing the issue and will continue to do so in the future. I cannot give detailed information at this point. At the same time, we cannot take a decision on the issue on our own. The United States and Britain are also interested in the issue of Afghanistan. Also, there are several other relevant countries, the United States and NATO. We ask their opinions. If Turkey will undertake such a mission, it should determine the conditions under which it will carry out its mission in a perfect way. This issue will become clear soon.

    Question: Karen Fogg matter has turned into a e-mail crisis. Did Ankara ask the EU to recall Fogg?

    Answer: No, we did not make such a request. However, it is a distressing incident. As you know, crimes committed through internet are widespread in the whole world. Legal measures against these crimes could not be taken adequately in any part of the world. Some guarantees are required to this end. Source of the incident in Turkey is not clear. We have still been searching it. The issue was brought to the judgment. We cannot intervene in the judgment. We hope that the incident would come to a conclusion soon.

    Question: State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said that Fogg's e-mail could be leaked from the EU. What do you think?

    Answer: The e-mails could be leaked from anywhere. As I said before the source of this crime is not clear.

    Question: You held a telephone conversation with EU Commission President

    Romano Prodi. What did he say?

    Answer: He expressed the EU Commission's sensitivity. He requested us to pay attention to the issue.

    Question: Did Ankara send a message to the EU to express its uneasiness about content of Fogg's e-mails?

    Answer: It is a distressing incident. We have been taking all necessary measures.

    Question: Did content of Fogg's messages insult the state?

    Answer: According to my point of view, it will be not correct to give detailed information, because the issue was brought to the judgment.

    Question: Do you think that an anti-EU lobby has been raising its voice in Turkey?

    Answer: There are different poinst of view about conditions of the EU membership. For instance, annulment of death sentence is one of the conditions of the EU. However, there are some circles who want Turkey to become a full member of the EU, but cannot be satisfied with the annulment of death sentence. I think it is not correct to describe them as lobby. Meanwhile, annulment of death sentence is a condition for extradition of offenders who are captured in foreign countries. We want measures to be taken to remove obstacles in front of Turkey's EU membership. Membership to the EU is a national matter. It is not the matter of government or coalition partners. It is directly a matter of our nation and state.

    Question: Is a constitutional amendment necessary to lift death sentence?

    Answer: Jurists have been discussing the issue, but they could not come to a conclusion yet. The Democratic Left Party (DSP) has been opposed to death sentence since 1970s. It is not regarded with recent developments in Turkey. As I said before, annulment of death sentence is a condition of the EU membership. Therefore, we should remove this obstacle soon.

    Question: True Path Party (DYP) leader Tansu Ciller said that first file about capital punishment given to Abdullah Ocalan, the head of terrorist organization PKK, should be debated at the parliament, then death sentence should be lifted. What do you think?

    Answer: I will not make such a bargain.

    -PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT SAYS IT IS NOT CORRECT TO HOLD EARLY ELECTIONS
    ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Thursday, ''according to my point of view, it is not correct to hold early elections in Turkey at this point.''

    Prime Minister Ecevit responded questions of journalists at the Prime Ministry Office.

    Question: There are some statements about elections. State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said that general elections could be held in autumn of 2003.

    Answer: According to my point of view, it is not correct to bring the date of general elections onto agenda of Turkey. We have an intense legislative programme. We have been launching serious initiatives to save Turkey from long-neglected problems. We have recorded an important progress. We have taken significant steps in structural changes, preparations for the European Union (EU) membership, and in our relations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. There are still steps to be taken. It will be totaly wrongful to hold early elections by interrupting them. According to my point of view, it is not correct to hold early elections in Turkey at this point.

    Question: Is education in Kurdish among indispensable conditions of the EU membership?

    Answer: No. According to my point of view, it is not correct to make Kurdish language an element of the education in Turkey. However, everyone has the right to explain their views. The issue has not been discussed by the coalition partners yet.

    Question: Leaders of three political parties forming the coalition government stress the harmony among themselves in every occasion. Will annulment of death sentence create problems for the future of the coalition government?

    Answer: Sometimes, coalition partners can reach an agreement not to compromise. We cannot reach an agreement on the issue of annulment of death sentence. But, we can overcome this problem at the parliament.

    Question: Uncertainty over the issue of Iraq has still been continuing. Iraqi Vice President Tariq Aziz said that Turkey should put forward its clear attitude, and that they expected Prime Minister Ecevit to make a statement that Turkey would not allow use of its military bases and territories.

    Answer: We will act in accordance with Turkey's national benefits.


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