|Monday, 20 January 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 00-01-04
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From: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.tr>
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 DEMIREL OPENS NEW TERMINAL AT ATATURK AIRPORT"Turkey will be at the top, one of the most-developed countries in the world in the next 20 years", President Suleyman Demirel declared. Speaking at the opening of the new International Departures Terminal at Ataturk Airport, he described the complex as a door to the world for Turkey as a player on the world stage, and for Istanbul as a global city. Demirel pointed out that it was the first working day of a new century, which brought with it both excitement and expectations. He called on all citizens to help develop the country and increase its wealth. He added that there was nothing that people could not do, and finishing a large venture such as this international terminal within just two years was one example of this example. Parliament Speaker Yildirim Akbulut also spoke, saying how happy he was that the new terminal was being opened in the new century. /All papers/
 MIDDLE EAST PEACE TALKSThe second round of the peace negotiations between Israel and Syria, which restarted last month after a break of three years, was initiated in Shepherdstown in West Virginia, America. The agenda of the meetings is expected to mainly concentrate on the distribution of water in the Middle East instead of the abandonment of the Golan Heights by Israel. Israel's former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Simon Perez, spoke to CNN and said, "This peace is very important. The resulting agreement will determine how to distribute the water. This issue has been discussed with Turkish officials. We suggest that the water should be collected in a reservoir and distributed to all countries equally." Furthermore, Israel's Ambassador to Istanbul, Eli Shaked, has revealed that an agreement between Syria and Israel will not be signed without informing Turkey. Shaked declared, "Israel promised that they would not sign any agreement which would not be to the advantage of Turkey. During the negotiations, contact will be made with Ankara." /Sabah/
 AMERICA BY TURKEY'S SIDE IN THE YEAR 2000It is expected the rapidly-developed relations between America and Turkey observed last year are likely to continue to become closer during the year 2000. However, at this point Turkey has many responsibilities. The American Congress last year removed obstacles to the sale of weapons and gave permission for the frigate and helicopter sale. Meanwhile, Turkey engaged in a series of human rights reforms and proved its determintation with the decision it took. The first visit to Washington in the year 2000 will be paid by President Demirel for the opening ceremony of Topkapi Museum. If Turkey does not execute the terrorist Abdullah Ocalan, in compliance with America's request, then it will not only advance on the road to the EU, but also meet America's concerns over this issue. Also this year, the financial funding needed for the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline will be moved on and the first improvement will be made on this issue. America, which supports Turkey's membership of the EU, will this time contribute to the series of reforms that is due to be implemented. The U.S.A. will use Turkey as a mediator in order to improve relations between Iraq and Iran. /Sabah/
 REFORMS IN DEMOCRATIZATIONOn the road to EU full-membership, Turkey is ready to launch some important steps on the path of democratization, the subject most critised by European countries. While efforts to gradually abolish the long-lasting Emergency Rule (OHAL) in the Eastern and South-Eastern region are continuing, the government is also trying to put into effect a re-population plan called 'return to the village`. Some villages, evacuated for security reasons, will be re-established by merging with each other and new settlement units will be constructed. It is stated that 55,000 houses in over 6,000 villages and hamlets had been abandoned and their inhabitants had migrated to other areas thanks to terrorism in the region during the last 15 years. /Milliyet/
 PAPANDREU IN TURKEY: JANUARY 20-21Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreu is expected to be in Turkey for January 20 and 21. The Greek daily newspaper 'To Vima' reported that Papandreu would visit Ankara and Istanbul during his trip and, together with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem, sign agreements prepared under the guidelines of the recent Turco-Greek talks. Half of the agreements will be signed in Ankara and the other half in Athens, when Cem visits Greece, 'To Vima' reported. The newspaper also revealed that since the Helsinki Summit, Athens has been more self-confident and optimistic in its relations with Turkey. /Turkish Daily News/
 FIRST TEST IN DAVOSThe World Economic Forum will be organized in Davos on Jan. 29th, attended by 140 leaders and more than 1,000 businessmen. During the first large Summit of the new Millennium, global political and economic issues will be taken up and discussed widely. Representing Turkey at the meetings are Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and Premier Bulent Ecevit. Ecevit is expected to meet with the American President, Bill Clinton, and the Greek Prime Minister, Kostas Simitis, while in Davos. /Turkiye/
 WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM MEETINGPrime Minister Bulent Ecevit is continuing with his research before the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos later this month. Ecevit organized a briefing attended by Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and economic and foreign affairs bureaucrats in Ankara yesterday. The Foreign Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister Umit Pamir issued a statement following the meeting to say that they had discussed the meeting to be held in Davos. Pamir stated that in addition to Ecevit, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, the Head of the Central Bank, Gazi Ercel, Treasury Undersecretary Selcuk Demiralp and Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Mithat Balkan would be present at the Forum in Davos, the Anatolia News Agency reports.
 TURKEY SEEKS EXTENSION OF NUCLEAR PLANT BIDSIn the wake of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's announcement that the government had failed to make a decision on the country's nuclear energy programme before the Dec. 31 deadline, the national power company, TEAS, has appealed to the bidders for an extension of their original offers, energy officials said on Monday. TEAS urgently called representatives of the three consortia bidding for the multi-billion dollar plan to its headquarters on Dec. 31, asking for one-month extensions. The venture is expected to cost up to $5 billion and is planned to be completed in 2007. The three bidding consortia are led by American Westinghouse Electric, Canada's AECL and the Franco-German group NPI. /Turkish Daily News/
 TURKEY TO CREATE QUAKE INSURANCE AGENCYThe Turkish government plans to create a special agency to manage what is publicly known as the earthquake insurance scheme, the Anatolia News Agency reported on Monday. Under a draft government decree, the Natural Disaster Insurance Agency will be responsible for the sale and administration of compulsory natural disaster insurance policy including earthquakes.
 OCALAN'S DOSSIER REACHES PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICEThe Justice Ministry sent a 90-volume dossier concerning the death sentence passed against the head of the PKK terrorist organization, Abdullah Ocalan, to the Prime Minister's Office yesterday. The government will now have to decide whether or not to abide by a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) appeal to stay the execution while it considers Ocalan's plea that the sentence breaches European law, in a process that could take some 18 months. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit disclosed yesterday afternoon that he has invited his coalition partners to a meeting on January 12 to discuss the issue. The Chairman of the Motherland Party (ANAP), Mesut Yilmaz, is inclined to postpone Ocalan's execution until the ECHR reaches a verdict on the case. /All papers/
 NEW CENTRE OF PKK: YEREVANForeign support for the PKK terrorist organization is on-going; Russia, Armenia and Iran are discovered to have been supporting the PKK terrorist organization. It is said that there are currently 4,000-5,000 terrorists in Iran, Northern Iraq, Russia and Armenia. Intelligence units have revealed that PKK terrorists who are trained in Russia and other Caucasian countries travel to Iran via Armenia and then on to Northern Iraq; the PKK centre in Caucasia is especially active in Yerevan. /Cumhuriyet/
 NEW APPLICATION TO ECHR FROM OCALAN'S LAWYERSThe four lawyers for the head of the PKK terrorist organization, Abdullah Ocalan, were unable to travel to Imrali Island yesterday due to bad weather. Ocalan is currently being held on Imrali Island, a top-security prison. One of the lawyers, Irfan Dundar, issued a statement to journalists and declared that now domestic legal paths had been exhausted, they would submit a new application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Ocalan's behalf. /Cumhuriyet/
 BANGLADESHI REFUGEE FOUND FROZENIn Edirne, many foreigners are trying to reach Greece and Bulgaria by crossing the border illegally in spite of the snow and bad weather conditions. In Saricaali, a village in the Ipsala area, soldiers found a corpse which was discovered, from the documents in his pocket, to have been a Bangladeshi who froze trying to cross the border. Furthermore, 181 refugees and the three Turks who were guiding them were detained. /Sabah/
 SECURITY FORCES SEIZE ILLEGAL ORGANIZATION'S STORESSecurity forces have seized three food caches belonging to an illegal leftist organization called TIKKO in Sivas, the Anatolia News Agency reports. Informer Veysel Aydin, a former active member of TIKKO, called on the terrorists to surrender to the security forces. Aydin also said that TIKKO had been in cooperation with the PKK terrorist organization.
 ERDEMIR HOPEFUL FOR THE YEAR 2000The General Director of the Eregli Iron and Steel Factories' Company (ERDEMIR), Tanju Argun, expressed the view that good days were waiting for ERDEMIR in the year 2000. He stated that 2.9 million tons had been produced in 1999 and added that they would try to increase the annual capacity of ERDEMIR to 4.5 million tons. /Aksam/
 MONETARY 'NEW ORDER' FAVOUREDThe Central Bank's reform decisions, taken as part of the new money and foreign exchange rate policy announced on 9th December 1999 by the World Bank, have yielded very successful results on the first day of their implementation. Yesterday, the movement of the dollar was in accordance with the set foreign exchange rate. Overnight interest, interest on bonds and bank's deposit interest rates also decreased. Overnight interest decreased from 65% to 44%; bond interest rates also decreased to 43.5%. /Hurriyet/
 IMKB PASSES Y2K TESTThe Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) successfully carried out a series of software tests to prove their systems were protected from the millenium bug, Stock Market officials have revealed. They said trading at the IMKB resumed yesterday, after being on holiday since last Wednesday. /All papers/
 INFLATION RATE REVEALEDThe State Institute of Statistics (DIE) declared that consumer prices in December rose by 5.9 %, sending the year-on-year (and year-end for 1999) inflation rate to 68.8 %, the highest during the year. The year-end rate, however, is slightly lower than the 69.7 % seen in 1998. The DIE disclosed that wholesale prices in December had risen unusually rapidly by 6.8 %, the highest monthly price rise of the year. It sent the year-on-year wholesale inflation figure to 62.9 %, also the year's peak rate. The DIE further revealed that the average consumer and wholesale inflation rates for 1999 had been 84.6 % and 53.1 % respectively. Monthly inflation rates in December, both retail and wholesale, appeared well above market expectations. /All papers/
 WORK BEGINS TO CLEAN OUT GROUNDED SHIP'S CARGOCoastguard General Director Hucum Tulgar stated yesterday that technical operations had started to discharge the oil which was the cargo of the Russian ship 'Volganeft 248', which ran aground off the Florya coast on account of heavy southwesterly winds. Tulgar disclosed that they had received a positive response from both the ship owners and insurance agencies to go ahead with the discharge of the oil from the tanker. Tulgar remarked that work on the sunken part of the ship was yet to begin and that there had not been any leakage of oil into the sea since it had frozen owing to the low temperatures. /All papers/
 TREASURY TO HOLD FIRST AUCTION OF 2000 TODAYThe Turkish Treasury is scheduled to hold the year's first auction today, according to its monthly borrowing schedule. At the auction, the Treasury will sell 13-month bonds, aiming to raise between 350 and 450 trillion TL. Today's transactions must be settled on January 5 and the bonds will mature on February 21, 2001. In January the Treasury must repay 1.896 quadrillion TL worth of capital and 1.921 quadrillion TL worth of interest, totalling 3.817 quadrillion TL, for bills that have matured from previous sales. /All papers/
 IMF: RECESSION WILL ENDRatifying the three-year, four-billion-dollar stand-by agreement with Turkey on Dec. 22nd, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), praised the government's anti-inflation policy which was the basis of the agreement: "Thanks to this plan Turkey will break out of the economic recession." A report by the IMF's Executive Directors Board comprising an evaluation of the Turkish economy discussed during their meeting on Dec. 22nd, has been issued. Accordingly, the Fund Directors declared that they found Turkey's anti-inflation policy to be 'strong` and 'reliable`. The report especially praised the 'previously-designated foreign exchange rates' policy.` /Milliyet/
 FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN KAZAKHISTANThe Kazakh 'AiF-Kazakstan` newspaper stated that last year Kazakhistan was privy to the greatest volume of foreign investment among the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), second only to Russia. Of foreign countries investing in Kazakhistan, Turkey is the third largest investor. According to the article, currently about 1,500 foreign companies are active in the country, America being the largest investor overall. /Turkiye/
 TOURISM GIANTS IN TURKEYFollowing the acceptance of Turkey's candidacy for full EU membership, the tourism sector is beginning to experience an upsurge. Many of the giants on the global tourism stage want to invest in Turkey. Officials said that they aimed to achieve $10 billion in income from the tourism sector in the year 2000. /Hurriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 OUR LEADERS AND THE OCALAN DOSSIER BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Fikret Bila is a columnist on the daily 'Milliyet' newspaper. This is an article written by him and published in 'Milliyet':
"The dossier on Ocalan's execution has been brought to the Prime Minister's Office. Normally, it is then taken to the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) from the Prime Minister's Office and from there to the Justice Commission. However, this dossier will be brought to the attention of our leaders' mini-summit prior to its perusal by the TGNA due to the European Court of Human Rights's (ECHR) current deliberations. Top-ranking officials are of a mind to keep hold of the file while waiting for the verdict of the ECHR. President Demirel, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP), Mesut Yilmaz, have agreed to put a hold on the debate over the files until after the ECHR has reached a verdict. However, Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli's manner has not been revealed as yet. While the documentation is being discussed at the leaders' conference, Bahceli's views will become more certain.
However, according to information received from staff close to Bahceli, the MHP is in no hurry for the leaders' meeting. According to the MHP, it would be more appropriate to hold the conference to discuss Ocalan after the end-of-Ramadan holiday. Within this period of time, the aims of the party organization will be checked. Therefore, the MHP demands some time to prepare for the Summit.
Bahceli's request for a postponement was taken to Premier Ecevit yesterday; Ecevit has also taken Yilmaz's opinion on board and has decided to hold the Summit on 12th January, that is, after the holiday. We asked Ecevit what sort of a stance he was expecting from Bahceli, to which he replied, "I think we should wait for the ECHR's verdict. I hope Mr. Bahceli will also agree with us."
Staff from the Democratic Left Party (DSP) and ANAP have pointed out that Bahceli often tries to comply with the State over national issues, and also underline that it is very likely during the Summit that it will be decided to 'keep the dossier on hold'. Meanwhile, MHP staff point out, "Mr. Bahceli is against being pressurized. Therefore, the request to keep the file on hold should not be on the agenda as a defininte. The important thing for the MHP leader is being convinced that such a decision would be more in line with benefits for Turkey. Therefore, the reasons given for this decision should be explained to him properly and thoroughly."
Another source of anxiety is the manner of the Chief of General Staff. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit seems to be pleased with the atmosphere created by the soldiers on the ground at the National Security Council. Also Ecevit underlines that the Army has not made any hints in the slightest over issues such as democratization. What is more, they reflect the opinion that these sorts of political issues are completely the government's and TGNA's business. To sum up, the main topics currently on the agenda are the provision of detailed information to Bahceli concerning the reasons for holding onto Ocalan's dossier and allowing the period prior to 12th January for its evaluation."
 THE BALL IS IN THE LEADERS' COURT..... BY ORHAN BIRGIT (CUMHURIYET)Columnist Orhan Birgit comments on the recent developments concerning the Ocalan case. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk sent 90 files of documents concerning the Ocalan case to the Prime Minister's Office on the first day of the New Year and so the initiative concerning the death sentence on Ocalan has passed firmly into the politicians' court. Coalition party leaders Ecevit, Bahceli and Yilmaz will meet on 12 January and decide whether or not to wait for the European Court of Human Rights verdict.
A difference of opinion on this death sentence is not only witnessed amongst the general public but also among the members of the PKK terrorist organization. There are some who believe that he has betrayed the organization and therefore the sentence must be carried out. On the other hand, there are those who wish the year 2000 to be a year of peace. There are some signals that Ocalan is aware of the confusion within the organization. He accepted that the strategy he followed during the trial contradicted the beliefs of some but he explained his point of view thus: "It seemed more correct to live for peace. Rough esistance is meaningless. This is not surrender. I cannot say 'be hostile to the Turks' even if I am executed. The party had slipped into using extreme means to achieve its ends and war was harming both parties. Wanting to stop the conflict has nothing to do with saving my skin."
The acceleration of the process concerning the Ocalan case and its submittal to a vote in Parliament is the expectation of many. However, the Coalition party leaders' conference is expected to lead to a decision to wait for the ECHR verdict, and this is of vital importance for the future of our country. Therefore, all eyes are on the second leader at the mini-Summit, the leader of the Nationalist Action Party, Devlet Bahceli.
It is known that Devlet Bahceli is among those who favour capital punishment. Therefore, he is faced with one of the most serious tests of his life. The Deputy Prime Minister had declared that they had always acted according to the principle that the country came first, then the party and then themselves. The important thing is to determine what is essential for the interests of the country. "
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