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Turkish Press Review, 00-01-19
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From: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.tr>19 January 2000
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS
 DEMIREL: 'BE PATIENT`Receiving a group of martyrs' relatives at the Presidential Palace, President Suleyman Demirel said, "Your pain is also our pain. The martyrs who died for this country are the sons of the whole nation too. Whatever the standards of the law are, you can be sure that they will be followed to the letter. Trust the Parliament and the government. There is no need for fuss." Reaffirming their sorrow at the loss of their sons, the Kirikkale Martyrs' Families' Association administrators critized the decision on the Ocalan case taken by the coalition government on Jan. 12th. Referring to the 'Return of State Medals` issue, in other words the bereaved relatives decision to return the dead soldiers' medals if the documentation on Ocalan is not to sent to Parliament for consideration as soon as possible, Demirel stated, "Those medals were awarded to those men who were killed in the service of the State by the State and they belong to them. Your attitude in giving these medals back saddens not only us but also your sons." /Turkiye/
 NEW PAGE IN TURCO-GREEK RELATIONSA new page in relations is being opened with George Papandreu's official visit to Turkey. Papandreu will be the first Greek Foreign Minister to pay an official visit to Ankara in 38 years. Terrorism, cooperation in the area of tourism, investment incentives, double taxation,and the protection of the environment are the main topics which will be discussed during the talks. /Hurriyet/
 SCHOOLS ON HOLIDAY DUE TO HARSH WEATHER CONDITIONSThe Governor of Ankara has decided to allow nursery, primary and secondary schools a one-day holiday due to the heavy snow. It was disclosed that the decision would cover the districts of Altindag, Cankaya, Etimesgut, Golbasi, Kecioren, Mamak, Sincan and Yenimahalle. In addition, schools in the towns of Amasya, Yozgat, Kirikkale and Corum have been permitted to stay closed for two days. /Milliyet/
 MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT'S SCHEMEThe Ministry of the Environment has been working on an 'Environmental Control System Plan' in order to reach its targets in the protection of our surroundings. 'Urgent Action Plans' will be prepared at a departmental level in order to forestall contamination and, during spot-checks to test for and prevent pollution, the 'Environmental Supervisors' will carry out certain duties. As part of this scheme, particularly in the supervision and control of those establishments guilty of causing pollution, a new system will be implemented for the first time. Accordingly, information concerning these companies and individuals will be entered into Ministry computer systems and a 'Environmental Registration Card' will be issued. Using these procedures, the situation of commercial enterprises with regard to their "environmental-friendliness" will be determined. /Cumhuriyet/
 RENT LAW ON THE AGENDA OF THE TURKISH GRAND NATIONAL ASSEMBLYThe draft law concerning rent increases was on the agenda of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) yesterday. The draft, which limits any rent increase to 25% in the year 2000 and 10% in the year 2001, was accepted by the Planning and Budget Commission of the TGNA. This draft will be discussed at the Justice Commission tomorrow. /Aksam/
 INVESTIGATIONS INTO HIZBOLLAH TO CONTINUEInterior Minister Saadettin Tantan said that the leader of the illegal terrorist organization Hizbollah in Turkey had been killed and two of its senior commanders captured, moreover investigations were still in progress throughout Turkey. During searches, cellular phones, passports and identification belonging to the businessmen and a picture of Konca Kuris, who was kidnapped two years ago, were found. It was stated that the weapons used by the organization were obtained from Russia and smuggled into Turkey through Iran. In addition, it was claimed that many terrorists were trained in both military theory and practice in Iran. /Turkiye/
 KURIS KILLED BY HIZBOLLAH MILITANTSIt was revealed that Pan-Islamic feminist Konca Kuris, five of the ten businessmen and the man accused the Malki Murder case, Mehmet Sumbul, were killed by the Hizbollah organization after being questioned. Police are trying to trace the corpses. During the surprize raid yesterday on the Hizbollah organization, many documents and other information were found. In addition, a hit-list was seized in which some university rectors, businessmen and high-ranking bureaucrats were named. /Aksam/
 BELGIUM TO EXTRADITE FEHRIYE ERDALBelgium has given the go-ahead to Fehriye Erdal's extradition to Turkey; Erdal is one of the suspects in the Sabanci murder case. Bruges Court has extended the period of detention of Fehriye Erdal and DHKP-C members Musa Asaoglu and Hasan Saz for another month. The Court considered the request of Fehriye Erdal's extradition to Turkey to be valid. Following the Court's decision, the opinion of Gent High Court, its superior, will be looked for. It is expected that this process will come to an end in another two or three months. The final word concerning the extradition will be given by the Belgian Minister of Justice, Mark Verwilghen. Meanwhile, Fehriye Erdal's lawyers stated that they would appeal against Bruges Court's extradition decision. /Aksam/
 TURKISH PILOTS VISIT `TOP GUN'This weekend, some members of the Turkish Air Force will attend a display at the world's most advanced flight training school, 'Top Gun`. Only the world's most distinguished Air Forces have been invited to take part in the "Red Flag 2000 Manoeuvres". In addition to the Turkish pilots, only the American and British elite are participating in these manoeuvres which will be held between January 22nd and February 5th in the U.S. Ten Turkish planes, 39 officers and 53 non-commissioned officers will be present. The "Red Flag Manoeuvres" are arranged regularly every year and are designed to be a rehearsal for a real war. /Hurriyet/
 SUPPORT FROM IRAN FOR CAUCASUS PACTIran's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kemal Harrazi, and the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ismail Cem, made contact in Ankara yesterday, meeting at the Foreign Ministry in the morning. During yesterday's meetings, regional and international problems were discussed. The two Ministers of Foreign Affairs exchanged opinions on a meeting to evaluate and reach a solution to the problem in Afghanistan. They also discussed the Middle East peace process, Iraq's future and the Caucasus. The Iranian Administration has stated its willingness to make every kind of contribution to ensure security in the Caucasus, for which Turkey has suggested the setting-up of a regional stability and peace pact. Harrazi did not accept that there are terrorists from the PKK organization in his country and pointed out his worries concerning Turco-Israeli cooperation. In addition, Cem stated that Turkey desires to improve political and economic relations between the two countries and that within this framework, it wishes to decrease customs tariffs. The two countries then signed an agreement to hold regular political meetings. /Cumhuriyet/
 SYRIA INFORMS TURKEYThe Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Faruk El Sara, briefed the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ismail Cem, on the Syria-Israeli Middle East peace process negotiations. It was revealed that during the telephone conversation between Sara and Cem, Sara told Cem his opinions about the point that the discussions had reached. The process to normalize relations between Syria and Turkey, which started after Abdullah Ocalan's exit from Syria, is slowly making progress. A delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected to go to Damascus at the end of this month. /Cumhuriyet/
 CHHIBBER: 'A GOOD START`The World Bank's Representative in Turkey, Ajay Chhibber, attended a meeting at Ankara Chamber of Industry. During his speech, stressing that the Turkish government had put into effect a very forceful economic agenda and that its first-fruits appeared to be positive, Chhibber said that the negotiations with the government are beginning to ensure financial support for Turkey. The results of discussions with the World Bank are expected to be implemented in the middle of February. /Turkiye/
 GREEK TOURISM OFFICIALS TO ARRIVE IN TURKEYGreece, which has not attending any fairs organized in Turkey for many years, will attend the International Eastern Meditarrenean Tourism Fair (EMITT) that will be held in Istanbul between 17th and 20th February. Greece will introduce the city of Serez located at the foot of the Rodop Mountains. General Director of the Ekin Registration Centre, Halim Bulutluoglu, which organizes the EMITT Fair, issued some information about Serez: "Serez is the city in which Sheikh Bedrettin, the one that was depicted in the 'Sheikh Bedrettin Legend' by the poet Nazim Hikmet, lived." /Cumhuriyet/
 INDUSTRY INCREASES ITS CAPACITY: 75.5%It was disclosed that at the end of December 1999 the percentage capacity used in the production industry was, on average, 75.5%, a rise of 1.1% when compared to the previous year's figure of 74.4%. In a statement issued by the State Planning Organization (DPT), the average began to decrease in the months following June falling to 68.8% in September; however, it then rose on average by 6.7% during the final three months of the year. /Sabah/
 NEW CUSTOMS LEGISLATIONThe Customs Law and legislation regarding its implementation have been made ready. The 500-page legislative document, which was been worked on for more than three months, is expected to be published in the Official Gazette in the next few days. With this legislation, some new regulations which are accepted as standard by leading international establishments are now reflected in Turkish legal rulings. /Turkiye/
 TURKEY ON "TIME" COVER"Time" magazine has put 'Turkey's Treasures` on the cover of its latest issue. Pointing out that Turkey is an open air museum in which many ancient cultures have converged, the magazine revealed that archaeologists have been trying to discover how human beings lived in the ages after the Stone Age with their excavations. One of the investors in New York's Metropolitan Museum, Oscar White Muscarella, declared, "Regarding the variety of its archeological artefacts, Anatolia is perhaps the richest region in the world. Her history extends right from the early period of the Stone Age to the time of the Ottomans." "Time" also emphasized that, on the other side of the coin, Turkey had also been the stage for the smuggling of some of the largest ancient artefacts. /Hurriyet/
 OTTOMAN ART IN AUCTIONThe first auction of the new Millennium will be held in Istanbul. Two hundred and sixty-two valuable works of art from the Ottoman period will be sold during the 'Ottoman Art and Picture Auction` on January 23rd at the Conrad Hotel in Besiktas, Istanbul. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS
 TURCO-IRANIAN RELATIONS BY SEMIH IDIZ (STAR)Columnist Semih Idiz analyzes relations between Turkey and Iran. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Diplomacy is a peculiar art. It works differently among various countries. To give an example, we can say that the US recognizes Libya and Iran as countries which support terrorism and stays far away from them. However, even though Syria is one of the countries encouraging terrorism, America shows great care to enjoy diplomatic relations with that country at the highest level. The reason for this policy lies in the logic of US Middle Eastern politics. That is to say, there is no inconsistency or conflict with what has gone before.
Turco-Iranian relations have a similar character. For years these relations have continued to be stormy. However great the problems were, diplomatic relations were never cut as they had a special place in the lives of these countries, an importance peculiar to themselves.If we look at Iranian Foreign Minister Kemal Harrazi's visit to Ankara as reflected in the newspapers in both Iran and Turkey, we could say that this visit has been paid to two different countries! While the Turkish press wrote of the warning to Iran concerning the PKK, the leading Iranian newspapers mentioned the words of the Foreign Minister Harrazi to the effect that a joint security commission would be a good mechanism to examine the changes occurring on the border.
From our historic friendship, which has provided an opportunity for the development of mutual relations, to the Prime Minister's thanks for the understanding Iran has shown over the delays in the natural gas project; from President Demirel's expression of gratitude for Iranian help during the earthquake disasters, to the joint policies of Iran and Turkey, both influential Moslem countries in the region, and also as far as the Caucasus was concerned, all these subjects were mentioned in the Iranian press with the notable exception of the PKK issue. In Turkish papers, the Turco-Israeli relations which were extensively analyzed in the Iranian press are notable for their absence.
The Turkish press published statements voicing the opinion that both sides see their mutual relations as being of great importance. There was also news about President Demirel's planned official visit to Tehran, and various political negotiation mechanisms and joint ventures. That is to say, there is nothing to suggest that there are any serious problems in existence between the two. One could even say that both countries are talking about certain subjects so as to satisfy particular circles, and then are passing on to the real issues. This shows that relations between these two countries are peculiar to themselves."
 ANKARA-MOSCOW BY YALCIN DOGAN (MILLIYET)Columnist Yalcin Dogan comments on relations between Turkey and Russia. A summary of his column is as follows:
"As the Caucasus is getting colder, Turco-Russian relations are becoming warmer. The coming to power of the former Head of the KGB, Vladimir Putin, after Yeltsin has led to different interpretations in the West. At first the Western powers embraced Putin, but lately they prefer to place some distance between themselves and the Russian leader. This tendency has been observed both in the US and Europe.
The Western press, which formerly applauded Putin, launched an attack against him last week, referring to him as the "hawk" in Moscow. What sobered up the West's initial enthusiasm was the Russian Army's show of strength in Chechnya. Putin wants to return the region to Russian sovereignty, as the area previously belonged to the Soviet Union. The warmth of the Ankara-Moscow connection starts with this policy. The first indication of it was given in the Caucasus and, accordingly, led to President Demirel's announcement of the Caucasus Stability Pact.
The interests of Turkey and Russia clash in the Caucasus. For economic and political reasons, Turkey is an influential country in the region. Putin has his eye on the same spot. When the Caucasian countries, including Armenia, are in need, it is Turkey which finds solutions to their problems. This infuriates Putin.
Caucasian countries are learning from their own experiences. In the past, they not only lost their independence, but also were hampered by Moscow in developing their own economic strength. Therefore, they view any moves by Russia with caution. Ankara is only too well aware of the fact, but does not want any problems with Russia. This is a time of political fine-tuning. Turkey has to continue its assistance in the Caucasus but must be careful not to find itself at odds with Russia. This is a delicate balance which needs protection."
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