|Sunday, 17 January 2021|
Turkish Press Review, 00-01-31
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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
 SCIENTISTS ENCOURAGED BY SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF TURKEY
 ERCEL: "FOREIGN EXCHANGE POLICY WILL NOT BE CHANGED FOR THREE YEARS"
 ISTANBUL CHAMBER OF INDUSTRY TO FOLLOW UP GOVERNMENT'S ECONOMIC PROGRAMME
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 PRESIDENTIAL FORMULA: 5+5Following a four-hour-long meeting with the leaders of the three coalition parties, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit disclosed on Sunday that a consensus had been reached on a constitutional amendment concerning procedures for the election of the President. Accordingly, the presidential term will be reduced to a five-year term from the current seven, and it will allow re-election for a second term in office. If the amendment is carried out, President Suleyman Demirel will have the chance of re-election for another 5 years. /Turkiye/
 COMMON RESPONSIBILITY FOR EUROPEAN UNIONA disagreement between Minister of Foreign Affairs Ismail Cem and State Minister Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik over issues related to the European Union (EU), how they will be managed and by whom, came to an end during the leaders' conference. The government partners adopted the 'multiple' system instead of the 'totalitarian' system that had been suggested by State Minister Irtemcelik, who is responsible for issues related to the EU. As part of this brand-new system, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit gathered together all those involved in relations with the EU, appointed one representative from each of the parties and, thus, distributed the responsibility. As a result, it was decided that the EU Internal Economic and Technical Coordination Council and the Consultants' Group are to be dependent upon Ecevit. /Aksam/
 ECEVIT GIVES SPECIAL MISSION TO TANTANPrime Minister Bulent Ecevit has given the Minister of Interior Affairs, Saadettin Tantan, the duty of establishing a special investigation and inquiry into the fire at Sait Halim Pasha Residence, gangland activities and animal smuggling. Afterwards, Tantan set up investigative and research boards under the auspices of the Civil Service's Head Inspectors. The Prime Ministry, the National Intelligence Organization, the General Staff, the Directorate-General of Security's Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Department, the Fraud Squad and representatives from other Ministries involved are represented on these boards which have already begun to work. As part of their work, the commissions will be able to ask for information from scientists, experts and public officials. In addition, special funding has been appropriated by the Prime Ministry for this work. /Milliyet/
 ISMAIL CEM TO VISIT ATHENSFollowing the visit of George Papandreu to Ankara, for the first time in 40 years a Turkish Foreign Minister is going to pay an official visit to Athens. The visit will take place on Feb. 4th-6th and Minister Cem is expected to sign agreements concerning five different subjects: cultural, economic and technical, scientific and technological and customs admiministration cooperation agreements as well as a maritime trade agreement. /Cumhuriyet/
 SECOND ROUND OF CYPRUS MEETINGS IN GENEVAThe second round of the Cyprus meetings held under the auspieces of the United Nations (UN) is beginning in Geneva today. The first round of indirect meetings were held in New York. President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Rauf Denktas commented, "The aim of the indirect meetings is to prepare the ground for face-to-face meetings. Therefore, an immediate result should not be expected from them." The Geneva meetings are expected to last nearly ten days and will be inaugurated under the watchful eye of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. After this, Annan will transfer his duty to the UN Special Representative to Cyprus, Alvaro De Soto. The UN Secretary-General is aiming to prepare the ground for the comprehensive discussions that will lead to a final solution, and will invite both parties to listen to all concerning security, the distribution of authority and wealth and all issues of importance including that of the land. /Aksam/
 HIZBULLAH-VIRTUE PARTY CONNECTIONWhile the crackdown is continuing against Hizbullah, the confessions of the captured militants have revealed a connection between the closed Welfare Party and the Virtue Party. Three brothers of the now-defunct Welfare Party's Chairman of the town of Hilvan, Izzettin Toprak, were disclosed to be members of the reactionary Hizbullah organization. His other brother, Kemal Toprak, the former Branch Chairman of the Hak-Is Union, was the murderer of three people whose corpses were discovered three years after their murder. Up to now, 13 graves have been exhumed throughout Turkey, and 48 corpses have been unearthed. /Cumhuriyet/
 NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL CONVENESThe National Security Council (MGK) convenes today at the Presidential Palace, presided over by President Suleyman Demirel. At the meeting, domestic and foreign developments will be evaluated. Terrorism and the illegal Hizbullah organization's recent murders are expected to be the main topic of the discussions. /Turkiye/
 POSITIVE REPORT ON RENT DRAFT LAWThe draft law that limits any increase in rents will be discussed at a meeting of the Justice Commission of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA). The sub-commission, which discussed the draft law yesterday, agreed with the target imposed by the draft law and prepared a report that supports rent increases at 25% in the year 2000 and 10% in the year 2001. In the report it was written: "This draft law, which will be an important step in the fight against the inflation which has unbalanced the nation's welfare and public order, turned the economic balance upside down and forces our poorer citizens into difficulties, is in no way against the Constitution". /Milliyet/
 SCIENTISTS ENCOURAGED BY SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF TURKEYFive thousand, five hundred and eighty-four scientists made good use of the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey's (TUBITAK) publications printed in journals last year. These articles were scanned by the Scientific Citation Index organization as part of TUBITAK's primary incentive policy so as to increase its standing in the categorization of scientific publications. According to targets, the number of scientists involved is expected to reach 8,000. As part of this plan, scientists received incentives totalling 178 million TL from TUBITAK for the 2,475 publications that they had scanned. Under the scheme, TUBITAK will pay out if articles are scanned either during the year of publication or no more than one year after the article is released. /Cumhuriyet/
 ERCEL: "FOREIGN EXCHANGE POLICY WILL NOT BE CHANGED FOR THREE YEARS"The Chairman of the Central Bank, Gazi Ercel, has stated that there will be no change to or irregularity in the foreign exchange policy that was recently announced. The Government is implementing the policies one by one as outlined in its letter of intention to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The results of these policies, that is, the decrease in interest rates within the markets, the slowing-down of the rise in foreign exchange rates and increased turnover on the Stock Exchange, have seen a corresponding increase in confidence both within the government and in the enforcement of these policies. /Aksam/
 TURKISH MARK ON 21ST CENTURY PLANETurkey has been invited to participate in the production phase of the Allied Attack Plane (JSF) which has been by the U.S.A. and England to replace the F-16s, F-18s and Harriers in their Naval and Air Forces. The American Defence Secretary is expected to present the letter of invitation, prepared for the Turkish Government to the Deputy Chief of General Staff, General Edip Baser, who is to visit the U.S.A. shortly. After the letter has been received, representatives of American defence giants Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Electric and Pratt-Whitney will arrive in Ankara on 14th and 15th February, meet 26 Turkish defence industry firms and discuss Turkey's possible contributions to JSF production. /Milliyet/
 ISTANBUL CHAMBER OF INDUSTRY TO FOLLOW UP GOVERNMENT'S ECONOMIC PROGRAMMEIstanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO) will follow up the government's economic programme. The ISO reached an agreement with the Minister of Finance, Sumer Oral, concerning the establishment of a common commission that will watch over developments on a provincial basis. This is in order to follow up changes concerning the targets within the government's agenda. The idea to establish such a commission came to the fore during 150 Chairman Husamettin Kavi's meeting with Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, State Ministers Recep Onal and Tunca Toskay and the Minister of Finance, Sumer Oral. /Star/
 AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION WITH THE BALKANSThe Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Husnu Yusuf Gokalp, stated that they were willing to play an active role in cooperative ventures to be organized in the field of agricultural development in the Balkan countries. Minister Gokalp pointed out the necessity of cooperation with the Balkan countries to implement environmentally-friendly agricultural development programmes in areas such as cattle-breeding, crop production, plant and animal health, fishing, irrigation, agricultural mechanization, agricultural research, biotechnology, food processing and forests. Gokalp further added that it had been decided that the Balkan Countries' Agriculture Ministers' Meeting will be held in Turkey next year. /Sabah/
 DECREASE OF 25% IN RATE OF SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISE LOANSThe Minister of Industry and Commerce, Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu, has stated that the annual interest rates on loans being used in the organized industrial regions will be reduced from 40% to 15% as part of the economic stability programme. Tanrikulu declared that the interest rate, which stands at 40% in normal provinces, had been decreased to 15%. In the special priority development regions it is down to 25%, and in the developed provinces it has been decreased from 50% to 20%. Tanrikulu pointed out that industrial investments will be encouraged to a great extent thanks to the fall in these interest rates and that there had been no change made to loan repayments. /Star/
 AMERICAN 6TH FLEET INVITED TO BUILD BASETurkey has important links with the American 6th Fleet's history. During this Fleet's visit to Istanbul in 1969, it received many bad reactions from Turkey. Now, Iskenderun wants the 6th Fleet with its 50,000,000 staff to be located there as it is looking for a base in the Mediterranean. The Chamber of Naval Trade's Chairman in Iskenderun, Bulent Kavsak, stated that the U.S.A.'s floating defence mechanism was in search of a place in the area and that, if it is found to be suitable, the Fleet could be located in the Iskenderun Gulf. Kavsak further added that the Chamber has completed all preparations within their responsibility. /Hurriyet/
 POWER CUTS ENDThe Energy and Natural Resources Ministry declared that the scheduled power cuts will be abolished as from tonight. Minister Cumhur Ersumer stated that due to certain negative circumstances, they had to implement power cut. However, failures caused by freezing weather at power plants had been mostly resolved and the length of time needed for maintainance had been minimized. The breakdown at Eskisehir Pump Station was solved in a short time and by releasing water from Ozluce Central powerstaion, the water level of the Keban Dam reservoir has risen. /Hurriyet/
 AID FOR EARTHQUAKE DAMAGEFollowing the Aug. 17th and Nov. 12th earthquakes, the amount of real and monetary aid to Turkey has reached $3.7 billion. The biggest loan support for Turkey, whose economy was also hit badly, arrived from the World Bank. Up to now, a loan of about $1 billion has been received from the World Bank, which previously financed many ventures in Turkey, in particular in the energy, education, and health sectors. Work is also on-going to obtain a 600-million-Euro loan from the EU. /Hurriyet/
 ACTIVE FUND MARKETThe fund market is experiencing a period of intense activity due to the decline in interest rates for local borrowing and accounts. On one hand, the banks and brokers are trying to form funds, and on the other, to increase the amount of the current funds in order to meet investors' demands. /Hurriyet/
 KOC ASPIRES TO CANAKKALE STRAITS BRIDGEThe Canakkale Straits Bridge venture is once again on the agenda, having been made part of the General Directorate of Highways' plan last year. However, it cropped up temporarily, since no bid had been received for it. A consortium, comprised of the Garanti Construction and Koza Construction firms, subsidiaries of the Koc Holding Company, with the Spanish Dragados firm, have aspired to the construction of the bridge which will be longer than those crossing the Bosphorus. The General Director of Highways, Dincer Yigit, said that a $500-million investment is required to construct the bridge and its link-roads, which is planned to be constructed according to the 'build-operate-transfer' system and will be 2,296 metres long. /Hurriyet/
 AVALANCHE DISASTER IN SIRNAKAs a result of the heavy snow and billizards which have continued unabated for a week, an avalanche hit 20 houses in the village of Uzungecit in the district of Uludere. According to initial reports, two children have died, the avalanche burying 60 people. Because of the blizzards and fog, search and rescue teams, gendarmes and highway teams cannot reach the disaster area. /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 IS TURKEY EVADING THE LAW? BY SUKRU ELEKDAG (MILLIYET)Former Ambassador Sukru Elekdag writes on the state of relations between Turkey and Greece. A summary of his column is as follows:
"There are many questions concerning Turco-Greek relations in the mind of the general public. One of the most frequently asked question is, 'Why does Greece who for a long time accepted the existence of problems in the Aegean, now say that we have no other problem than that concerning the continental shelf?
Until 1980 there was no disagreement over the troubles in the Aegean between Turkey and Greece. In 1978, during the discussion between Ecevit and Karamanlis in Montreux, issues such as air space, a 'flight information region', otherwise known as the FIR line, flight corridors, disarmament of the Eastern Mediterranean islands, and the Turkish minority in Western Thrace were discussed. However, Andreas Papandreou, who became Prime Minister in 1981, began to follow a high-tension policy towards Turkey and stated that there were no bones of contention between the two countries other than that involving the continental shelf. According to Papandreou, the issues Turkey was presenting were already within the scope of Greek sovereignty and Ankara had no right to question them. He accepted the continental shelf as a problem because the International Justice Tribunal at the Hague and the United Nations' Security Council had defined it as such.
The International Justice Tribunal at the Hague had stated that no boundaries had been drawn on the Aegean continental shelf and, therefore, Greece had no right to make such a claim. As for the United Nations' Security Council, it invited both parties to solve the dispute through direct negotiations and suggested that they take the issues they did not agree on to the International Justice Tribunal at the Hague. However, despite Turkey's initiatives, a meaningful negotiation process was not started.
The second most frequently asked question is," why does not Turkey take this continental shelf issue to the Hague? There are two main reasons for this, one being that the problems stemming from the Aegean are all inter-related and form a whole. It is not possible to solve them either technically or legally by separating them from each other.
Secondly, while searching for a solution in the Aegean, the balance of interests as mentioned in the Lausanne Peace Agreement has to be protected. The Lausanne Peace Agreement, in addition to registering Turkey's independence and sovereignty, formed this balance of interests between Turkey and Greece. However, it is based on political and strategic criteria rather than legal ones. A striking example of this could be cited as the giving-up of Western Thrace to Greece, although Turkish population formed the majority there, because of Greek security concerns. However, when the Northeastern Aegean islands came into question all strategic and security concerns on Turkey's part were left aside, the majority population was taken into consideration and they were handed to Greece. Therefore, if this issue is discussed by an international body like the Hague from a legal point of view, it can lead to negative results. Therefore, Turkey is not against exhausting all the legal ways laid down in the United Nations' Charter. She is acting logically.
The third question is, "Athens is trying to push Turkey into a corner with her veto; Turkey cannot begin full-membership negotiations without the approval of Athens. How will Turkey move forward in such a situation?" The concerns in this question are realistic. One does not have to be a fortune-teller to say that Athens will use the veto card in her hand until she gets what she wants on those issues concerning the Aegean and Cyprus. However, the EU has a say in the matter too. So long as Turkey can bring reasonable, constructive and fair solutions to the problem and can benefit from the support and positive evaluation of the EU, her move on the path to EU full-membership will be easier."
 CRISIS IN THE MAIN OPPOSITION BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on the recent speech delivered by the Chairman of the Virtue Party, Recai Kutan, and the reply of the Turkish Armed Forces. A summary of his column is as follows:
The Republic of Turkey does not permit the formation of a theocratic state, separatism and hostility towards Ataturk. We have mentioned these principles many times. In fact, our readers have reacted to the frequency of such articles.
The Turkish Armed Forces is one of the leading institutions which has adopted these principles. If one accuses the Turkish Armed Forces of ignoring a spearatist group and top it all with a theocratic terrorist organization at that, it is clear that you will receive a stern reaction. If the same accusation is made against the US Army, the Pentagon has the right to answer it.
However, it is not pleasing to see the main opposition party face to face with the Turkish Armed Forces. Such events are not seen in democracies. This could delay the growth of our democracy and our entrance to the EU.
We have defended Recai Kutan from time to time in this column. He inspired in us the hope that he could bring his party to a moderate line. We recently listened to what an experienced, wise and cultured politician, as he himself is, has said without being able to believe our ears. (And they were not his opinions at that). These words were applauded by his party's parliamentary group.
However, the party may slide towards a radical line of thinking if Kutan leaves office. The closure of the main opposition party would be a bad omen for our democracy. Today, there are those who believe that some moles are working to have the party closed.
It is not good policy to show off against the Army. It will, in the end, harm those following it. "
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