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Turkish Press Review, 00-01-27
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From: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.tr>27 January 2000
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 ECEVIT IN DAVOSThe World Economic Forum which brings together leaders throughout the world has started in Davos, Switzerland today. A total of 133 leaders at the level of Heads of State and Prime Ministers including the US President Bill Clinton are attending the meetings. Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit will have the opportunity to talk about economic developments, new oppportunities for foreign investors and new legal arrangements in Turkey. Meanwhile, the meeting between Ecevit and the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in Davos has been cancelled. It is reported that Barak will not attend the World Economic Forum in Davos. /Milliyet/
 STATE MINISTER ONAL IN DAVOSState Minister Recep Onal stated that 23 projects were taken to the World Economic Forum in Davos where Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit will attend. In answer to a question Minister Onal said that the projects taken to Davos were generally concerned with foreign capital and privatization. He added that, that was why the Head of the Privatization Administration Ugur Bayar would be attending the meeting. Onal also said that, Turkey attached great importance to three points in the economic programme which were, "export, tourism and foreign capital inflow", the Anatolia News Agency reported.
 HARSH REACTION AGAINST ASALA THREATForeign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Sermet Atacanli stated that Turkey would overcome the recent threats made by the ASALA terrorist organization against it. Atacanli held a weekly press conference yesterday. Replying to a question concerning the statements issued by the ASALA organization on the 25th anniversary of its establishment that it would continue with its struggle against Turkey, Atacanli said, "We are not frighthened because of these threats". /Milliyet/
 MIRZABEYOGLU TRIEDSalih Izzet Erdis, under the nickname of Salih Mirzabeyoglu, who was accused of being a member of an illegal operation in 1998 and arrested by the State Security Court, went on trial yesterday. Mirzabeyoglu was taken from Kartal prison along with Saadettin Ustaosmanoglu and Mehmet Fazil Aslanturk to Istanbul's State Security Court yesterday. During the trial, these three defendants said that they would not be able to defend themselves and requested an additional period until the next trial. Then the trial was postponed as the defendants' lawyers stated that there was not the necessary environment for the defence. /Turkiye/
 PKK OPERATION IN BELGIUMIn an operation carried out by the Belgian security forces at the request of the German Prosecutor's Office eight German citizens who had connections with the terrorist organization PKK, were taken into custody and released following inquiry. Belgian officials stated that they could not find weapons in the houses which were raided but only some documents. The eight German citizens were said to have been militants of the former terrorist organization Red Army, the Anatolia News Agency reported.
 DIE WELT: "TURKEY WARS AGAINST THE DEVIL"The German press gives great coverage to the operations against the illegal Hizbullah organization in Turkey, the newspaper, 'Die Welt' wrote the following: "A series of murders carried out by the Hizbullah organization terrified Turkey. Ankara is currently struggling against the Hizbullah devil". /Milliyet/
 MILITARY: 'THE SOURCE OF THE REACTIONARY IS VP`The General Staff issued a statement harshly criticizing main opposition Virtue Party (VP) leader Recai Kutan's speech on the Hizbullah case at the weekly meeting of the VP in Parliament last Tuesday. Kutan had accussed the military of inactivity against the illegal terrorist Hizbullah organization. The statement said, "Despite the fact that the Turkish Armed Forces take care to remain outside the world of politics, unfortunately certain persons and institutions maintain their efforts to draw it into politics to the detriment of the national interest. The representatives of the mentality which made such remarks, are those who are the source of the reactionary in Turkey, those who have the biggest share in its reaching its current levels. It is quite apparent that those who represent this mentality are not justified at all to exploit and distort the Hizbullah incident, and for this reason they are reacting in haste and with feeling of guilt." It also emphasized the following: "The Turkish Armed Forces is the guarantor of the Turkish Republic founded by Ataturk, and of the Republic's characteristics as a 'democratic, secular and social state which upholds the rule of law,' which are expressed in the Constitution of the Turkish Republic." /Hurriyet/
 KUTAN STEPS BACKDue to the sharp criticism of the General Staff, Virtue Party Leader Recai Kutan stepped back. Kutan said that his remarks were not his own words but quotations from some columnists' statements. Asserting that the General Staff was incompletely informed, Kutan stressed, "My speech was only a quotation without saying anything that we share the same ideas." The General Staff's declaration caused disputes in the party. Salih Kapusuz said, "The General Staff is not our address" while Mehmet Bekaroglu, another VP deputy, stressed, "Kutan should not have mentioned about balance adjustment and briefings." /Cumhuriyet/
 WARNING BY MILITARYThe General Staff has warned about 'Hizbullah` at its meetings, which were held to inform the public about the struggle against reactionary activities, on April 29th and June 11st 1997. During the June 11st briefing, it was also stated that Libya, Saudia Arabia, Sudan and Iran were the supporters of reactionary terrorism. /Cumhuriyet/
 CRACKDOWN CONTINUESThe crackdown against the Hizbullah organization is continuing throughout the country. The number of people taken into custody is increasing day by day. Meanwhile, Abit Tasan, who was taken into custody in Istanbul, is being questioned by anti-terrorism department officials. It is asserted that Tasan was the person who secured the connection between the chief of the organization, Velioglu, and Mahmut Yildirim, nicknamed 'Yesil`, who is still at large. /Cumhuriyet/
 TERRORISM THREAT FROM ASALAThe Armenian Terrorist Organization, ASALA, declared that they would resume terrorist activities in order to take Armenian land away from Turkey. In a bulletin, issued in Yerevan to mark 25th anniversary of its founding, ASALA said, "Our aim was to take the West Armenian territory from Turkey and we are ready and determined to struggle for that." /Hurriyet/
 AGRICULTURE MINISTER GOES TO GREECEMinister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Husnu Yusuf Gokalp, will go to Greece on 28 January accompanied by a large delegation as the official guest of the Greek Agriculture Minister. In a statement made by the Agriculture Ministry, Gokalp will attend the "Agrotica 2000" Fair to be held in Salonica and speak at the conference on "Agricultural Development and Balkan Cooperation". The Minister will hold talks to improve agricultural relations between the two countries and attend a meeting where agricultural cooperation among the Balkan countries will be discussed, the Anatolia News Agency reported.
 TURCO-BULGARIAN RELATIONSThe meeting of the Turco-Bulgarian Cooperation Commission on Permanent Education will be held today. The National Education Ministry said in a written statement that the Commission which was decided to be formed within the framework of Turkish Education Minister Bostancioglu's visit to Bulgaria between December 5-8, 1999, will hold its first meeting, the Anatolia News Agency reports.
 ANNAN DUE TO GENEVAKofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, will go to Geneva, Switzerland, on January 29 to attend the second round proximity talks concerning the Cyprus issue. The second round proximity talks will start on January 31. Annan is expected to attend only the opening of the proximity talks, then he will return to New York, the Anatolia News Agency reports.
 FASSINO TO COME TO TURKEY ON FEBRUARY 15Italian Foreign Trade Minister Pietro Fassino will come to Turkey on February 15 for an official visit. Silvia Pellicciari from the Foreign Ministry told the Anatolia News Agency that Fassino will have meetings with diplomacy and business circles in Istanbul and Ankara during his visit which will last until February 17. Fassino will be accompanied by representatives from various business groups. It was stated that Fassino's visit aimed to develop trade and economic relations between Turkey and Italy.
 NARROW ESCAPE FOR THE BOSPHORUSA ship called 'Aleksandi Asafkin' flying the Ukranian flag, which was transporting a load of 740 tons from Mersin, collided with a passenger vessel called 'Ilker Karter' off Kabatas at about 18:15 yesterday. As a result of the crash, the passenger vessel was greatly damaged. No one was injured during the accident but the passengers were in great panic. The Ukranian ship was stopped off Sariyer and was brought to the Buyukdere Port and the passenger vessel was then taken to the Kabatas Port. /Turkiye/
 TURCO-GREEK JOURNALISTS' CONFERENCE TO TAKE PLACE IN ATHENS"The First Turco-Greek Journalists' Conference" will take place in Athens between February 5 and 6. Oktay Eksi, Chairman of Press Council, issued a written statement and noted that the conference will be held to boost dialogue between Turkish and Greek journalists, and to prevent misleading of the peoples of the two countries with misinformation. He said that Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou will participate in the conference, the Anatolia News Agency reports.
 PREFABRICATED HOUSINGThe government has decided to end the programme of giving hot meals and rent subsidies to the earthquake survivors to motivate them to leave their tents and take up residence in prefabricated housings. During his visit to the quake zone on the weekend, President Suleyman Demirel requested that the government solve the issue. Minister of Labour and Social Security, Yasar Okuyan said that the families, living in tents, prefer to stay there in order to benefit from being given meals and rent subsidies and they will stop to serving food at the beginning of next month. He also added that the Government will give certain dried-food to survivors who begin to live in prefabricated dwellings. Currently, about 10,000 prefabricated government dwellings, and one thousand prefabricated homes, constructed by the private sector, which have been completed, are still empty since there is no demand. /Star/
 TOSKAY FOUND INTEREST RATES VERY HIGHState Minister Tunca Toskay requested that necessary calculations be carried out to decrease Eximbank's credit interests to a number between 5 and 8. Toskay stated that Eximbank had targetted financing of a total of 8 billion dollars for exports in the year 2000 and issued a statement at the meeting of the Ankara Chamber of Industry (ASO) during which he said, "The bank will repay the credits that it had taken and ensure more financing. Therefore we are trying very hard and our discussion with the Treasury is continuing. We will discuss the realization of this fund structure at the meeting that will be held at the beginning of next week." /Turkiye/
 AUTOMOBILE GAS TO BE TAXEDThe Government attained the authority to increase the price of gas for autos proportionally to the price of fuel, if necessary. The draft law that made changes in some of the tax laws was discussed and accepted at the Planning and Budget Commission of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) and the oil taxing system has been changed. Thus, the proportional tax scheme was changed to the system of fixed tax. However, the prices that were set as the proportional tax will be increased monthly according to the wholesale price of index in order to prevent a possible depreciation in a proportional tax. /Aksam/
 NEW CONDITIONS FOR THE OPTIONAL INSURANCEThe draft law concerning 'The Reconstruction of the Social Security Organization (SSK)', which was being carried out by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, was completed. According to the draft law, it is compulsory to pay the premium for at least 1,080 days in order to continue the optional insurance, not to be insured by any social security institutions optionally or compulsory and to pay the premiums over 30 days each month optionally. Those who want to continue optional insurance will determine the insurance premiums themselves under the condition that the figure should be between the lowest and highest income based on the premium. As part of the draft law, it was envisaged that the system of Chairmanship will be established in the SSK and the health and insurance services will be seperated from each other. /Aksam/
 TURKISH AIR LINES BOUGHT 7 PLANESTurkish Air Lines, which has 15 planes of the 737-800 type in its squadron, will buy 7 Boeing planes in the year 2000. In a written statement by Boeing, the new Boeings that will be bought will fly faster more silently and have a greater flight capacity than the other 737 types. /Aksam/
 TURKISH CLOTH FOR THE GREEK FLAGTurkish cloth will be used for producing flags in Greece. A Greek firm has applied to the Foreign Trade Undersecretariat (DTM) to import polyster cloth for flag production. There was a notice published in the January issue of the Istanbul Textile and Ready-to-Wear Exporters Association's (ITKIB) Magazine, with regard to importation requirements. The following countries have made it known to the Foreign Trade Undersecretariat (DTM) through the General Secretary of the ITKIB, that they are interested in importing various categories of textile products from Turkey: Germany, Belgium, Iran, Israel, Taiwan, Kuweit, Poland, U.S.A., England, Greece, Denmark, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Singapore, Holland, France, Algeria, Australia, the Russian Federation and Egypt. Also 22 firms from Greece are among those who have become interested in Turkish products, Greece's Trans Mediterranean Textile Company applied to Turkey to purchase polyester textiles which will be used to produce flag. They also wish to import buckram and sewing and other tailing materials. /Turkiye/
 TURKISH TELECOMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION TO BE PRIVATIZEDThe draft law that envisages the changes to be made in some of the laws concerning telecommunications to ensure the privatization of the Turkish Telecommunications Corporation was accepted by the General Council of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA). With this law, the Turkish Telecommunications Corporation is being turned into being a company implicated in the Trade Law and its special judgements. As part of the new law, the 50% discount applied to deputies, press members and the Telecommunications officials will come to an end. /Sabah/
 SCHWEITZER INVITES FRENCH BUSINESSMEN TO INVEST IN TURKEYThe Chairman of the Renault Company, Louis Schweitzer, made a speech at the Turco-French Business Council that was held in Paris. His speech was very encouraging to French businessmen who want to invest in Turkey. Schweitzer stated that he hoped that the economic coorpertion between Turkey and France would increase and improve and that he wanted to tell the 'Renault-Turkey story': "This is a real success. We have not had any disagreement with our Turkish partners for 30 years. In spite of Turkey's experiencing critical periods, we have never doubted at any moment that our relations were very healthy and this situation is quite uniqe. We began our story with Turkey 30 years ago by considering that Turkey was a developing country. However, today we see Turkey as a developed country. We are exporting half of our Turkish production to the European Union (EU). In addition, Turkey is necessary for us as regarding cooperation with the neighbouring countries. Now, Turkey has begun her struggle against inflation and we want Turkey to be a member of the EU. This is how we see Turkey. I am inviting French businessmen to invest in Turkey." /Sabah/
 IBCA: "NO CHANGE IN TURKEY'S RATE"The Director of the International Rating Institution, Fitch IBCA, Paul Rawkins, said that it was too early to make a change in Turkey's credit rating. Rawkins described the rapid decrease in the interest rates and the optimistic atmosphere in Turkish markets as exaggerated and said that the programme had some risks. Rawkins added, "These kinds of programmes bring fluctuations. The growth rate can be lower than the expected one and there can be some problems in the balance of payments". /Milliyet/
 10-YEAR BORROWING IN EUROThe Treasury issued 10-year term bonds worth 750 million Euros in the Euro market. It has authorized the JP Morgan and Dresdner Bank for this purpose. The Treasury has previously issued 30-year term bonds worth $1.5 billion this month as part of the foreign borrowing programme for the year 2000. /Milliyet/
 FRENCH BUSINESSMEN CAUTIOUS ON TURKEY'S PROGRAMMEA Turkish economic delegation headed by Yuksel Yalova, State Minister Responsible for Privatization, explained the Turkish stability programme to a 60-person group consisting of French Businessmen's Union in Paris yesterday. The comment by French viewers was as follows: "There are very positive signals. Even though Turkey had made a very stable programme it could not have implemented it. We have to wait for six months". /Milliyet/
 TURKEY-EU RELATIONSThe Head of the Economic Development Foundation (IKV), Meral Gezgin Eris, wrote that "Turkey's integration with the EU was a criterion of success from the standpoint of the EU" in an article in a monthly magazine, 'Economic Forum', published by the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) yesterday. Eris in her article which focuses on Turkey-EU relations said political instability from which Turkey sometimes suffered was reflected to its relations with the EU and created problems in the past. "Following the positive decisions taken at the Helsinki Summit, Turkey will go through very important structural changes that will last for decades and these decisions will raise the Turkish economy and democratic standards to an unimaginable point even in the short term", Eris said, the Anatolia News Agency reports.
 TURKEY-IRAN JOINT ECONOMIC COMMISSION'S MEETINGMahmut Hucceti, Iranian Transport Minister said Iranian President Khatami's foreign policy was 'getting along well with its neighbours and not to interfere with their domestic affairs" when he spoke at the Joint Economic Commission's meeting between Turkey and Iran, the Anatolia News Agency reports. He stated that the trade relations between the two countries were not at an adequate level and added that Turkey and Iran should increase their trade volume and use their economic capacities to play a more effective role in the region.
 BUSINESSMEN SUPPORTS GOVERNMENTA 76.9% support emerged from the Istanbul Industry Chamber (ISO)'s 'Economic Situation Determination Poll` for the Government's economic programme of the year 2000. The Chairman of the ISO Executive Board, Husamettin Kavi, said that this percentage was important and it should be evaluated in best way possible. /Hurriyet/
 TURCO-GREEK WEEKOn the occasion of the Turco-Greek Week, the Presidential Symphony Orchestra will give a concert of a musical selection composed by the Greek composer Andreas Neseritis. During the concerts which are scheduled to be held tomorrow evening and on Saturday morning, a composition by Ferit Tuzun and a piece by Debussy will also be played. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 THE SPIRIT OF DAVOS BY VEYSEL GANI (TURKIYE)Columnist Veysel Gani comments on the meeting to be held in Davos. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Intense foreign relations which began with Ozal, contributed greatly to Turkey. These efforts, which led to our voice being heard at international platforms mainly based in the US, are increasing every day. The thirtieth "World Economic Forum will be held in Davos tomorrow. This summit, which attracts attention due to its being the first such meeting of the millennium, is important not only because of its economic nature but also from the political standpoint.
The world and especially our region cannot be viewed through pink glasses. It can be seen that our region is particularly in trouble. The Caucasus, the Balkans and the Middle East are boiling like a cauldron. This trivet which is the meeting point of all differences will form the basis of the agenda in Davos. This first summit of the millennium which will be attended by Heads of State and Government from over thirty countries, in addition to over a thousand businessmen, will be remembered for discussing firsts in the programme.
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and Foreign Minister Ismail Cem will attend this meeting to which Turkey has been officially invited. At the meeting where the Turkish economy will be comprehensively promoted to foreign investors, the country will be at the focus as a rising star. Nothwithstanding all these convenient conditions the incidents occurring within the country display a scandalous situation.
In fact, it is regretful that such an important meeting coincides with such dismaying news. Even the most neutral observers are concerned about the incidents taking place in Turkey, it is not enough to condemn these but we have to discover the truth of the matter and relieve the State and sincere believers from such shades of doubt."
 ECEVIT AND DAVOS BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's visit to Davos. A summary of his column is as follows:
"World Economic Forum meetings entered Turkey's agenda with the late President Turgut Ozal. His meeting with Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou in Davos in 1989 had left important marks on Turkey. However, the atmosphere Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou have created seems more productive than the 'Davos spirit' created at the time.
Another Davos meeting which held great importance from Turkey's point of view was the one held in 1992 attended by the then Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel. At this meeting the Turkish speaking countries came to the fore and former US Foreign Minister Henry Kissinger used the term "the Turkish world from the Adriatic to the Great Walls of China" for the first time.
The meeting Prime Minister Ecevit will attend in Davos is of importance due to its economic nature where investments will be taken up. The aim of Ankara is to attract foreign capital investments to Turkey. The economic package prepared will be presented to businessmen and Statesmen attending Davos. The enactment of the Arbitration Law before going to Davos was to make Turkey more attractive for investors. As the Prime Minister will explain the privatization and investments projects, he will also stress that the legal arrangements required have already been completed.
The speech the Prime Minister will deliver at meeting can be summarized thusly:"East and West are not opposed to each other in thought, but rather at a junction. The values that Europe has developed since the age of enlightenment do not discriminate between religions, languages, and races and should be accepted as the values of the entire world. Therefore, instead of isolation this approach should be adopted in opening up to the world. The new process can be termed as pro-Eurasian. Turkey has an important function in this process. Turkey is the connection in the integration between Europe and Asia."
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