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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 99-12-28

Anadolu Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Anadolu Agency Home Page at <http://www.anadoluajansi.gov.tr/>


[01] AA News

28 December 1999 Tuesday

[02] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on December 28, 1999. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their occuracy.

HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

PAY LIKE RENT AND OWN A HOUSE
Banks have new ideas like the ones in the U.S. due to the expectation of decrease in high inflation rate. You can buy the flat you like by bank credit and pay it in the very long run just like paying rent. For instance a person who wishes to buy a flat worth of 10 billion liras, will pay 195 million liras for 20 years in return to 7.5 billion liras of bank credit. Vakıfbank took the first step in this framework.

CLINTON INVITES DEMIREL TO U.S.
President Suleyman Demirel will pay his last important visit abroad at the end of February to the U.S. Demirel, who will visit the U.S. as the guest of U.S. President Bill Clinton, will meet with important persons in Washington D.C. Demirel's visit to the U.S. will last for one week.

MILLIYET (LIBERAL)

ASLITURK DOCUMENTS FOUND IN FOREST
Two cases full of documents belonging to Sisli munucipality when Gulay Aslıturk was the mayor of Sisli, were found in Beykoz forest in Istanbul. Many cheques, tender reports and title deeds issued in the name of Aslıturk and Altan Demirel, her assistant were found in the cases.

LEADERS SUMMIT
The leaders of the coalition parties will come together after the religious holiday to discuss the issue of the election of president. Mesut Yılmaz, the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP) said that the constitutional change which will let President Demirel to be elected again can come to the agenda after the holiday. ''President Demirel transferred the issue to the parliament. I proposed Mr. Ecevit to have a leaders' summit after the holiday,'' Yılmaz added.

SABAH (LIBERAL)

SABANCI:MAKE A MIDNIGHT'S OPERATION
Sakıp Sabancı, one of the famous businessmen of Turkey said that the government which adopted the Tax Law in one night, should follow the same method regarding privatization. ''The coalition parties should reach an agreement in one day, President Demirel should approve it and it will be published in the Official Gazette the other day,'' Sabancı added.

CAKICI IN DEPRESSION
Alaattin Cakıcı, the notorious mafia boss who was extradited to Turkey from France where he was captured, requested two of his men to be put in his ward as he is complaining of being alone. Cakıcı's request was conveyed to the Ministry of Justice. Cakıcı's health is also not very well. He has tooth decay and he suffers from high blood pressure.

CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

FINAL DECISION ABOUT RELIGIOUS HEAD SCARF
The application of the student who filed a suit against Kemal Alemdaroglu, the Rector of Istanbul University as she wasn't allowed to enter the class and exams with her headscarf in the university was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeals. The civil court of the Supreme Court of Appeals No. 4 decided that the policies of Alemdaroglu in the university were legal. The Supreme Court of Appeals also referred to the decisions of the Constitutional Court and Council of State about religious headscarf.

SUSURLUK CASE HEARD
The 18th hearing of Susurluk case was held yesterday. A total of 14 suspects including Ibrahim Sahin, the former acting chairman of the Special Deployment Department and Haluk Kırcı, one of the suspects accused of murdering seven members events of the former Turkish Labour Party (TIP), are tried in connection with Susurluk scandal. The hearing started at 10.15 local time at Istanbul State Security Court (DGM) No. 6. Aykut Cengiz Engin, the DGM Prosecutor requested the imprisonment of all the suspects changing from 3 to 10 years.

RADIKAL (LEFT)

EUROPEAN MAKE UP
The candidacy of Turkey to the European Union (EU) strengethened the desire of the government to undertake democratic reforms. The state supported the study of the Prime Ministry Supreme Council of Human Rights Coordination namely ''Human Rights-2000.'' National Security Council (MGK) proposed foundation of Western type independent investigation units to struggle with torture. General Staff said that the human rights training should be improved and the personnel should be inspected in an effective way. Foreign Ministry proposed: ''lawyer right to all criminals, doctor control in every 48 hours and exercise everyday.''

YURTBANK'S ACTIVITIES STOP IN TRNC
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) stopped the banking activities of Yurtbank Inc. till January 12, 2000 whose financial structure has weakened. The bank has 12 branches in TRNC.

TURKIYE (RIGHT)

WORLD IN Y2K PANIC
The fear of Y2K effected everything from planes to banks. The digital chaos is expected to cause a damage of 500 billion dollars worldwide.

MGK BUSY TOMORROW
The National Security Council (NSC) will take up issues like terrorism, developments about the European Union (EU), the status of village guards and lifting the emergency rule in its meeting tomorrow.

ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE)

GENERAL STAFF DENIES NEWS
The General Staff harshly reacted to certain news published in Radikal and Posta newspapers. The two papers had published news titled ''Message from Soldiers'' and ''Shocking Statements from Gen. Kıvrıkoglu.'' Secretariat of the General Staff said that the news doesn't reflect the truth, they are distorted.''

WE SHOULDN'T FORGET
The year 1999 has been a disaster year for Turkey, thousands of people lost their lives, homes and families in 1999. We can't behave as if nothing has happened during the new year celebrations. How can we smile, while many people cry?

[03] JUSTICE MINISTER TURK SPEAKS TO PRESS - TURK SENDS A LETTER TO HIS FRENCH COUNTERPART AND ASKS FOR SUPPORT TO TRY CAKICI FOR OTHER CRIMES IN TURKEY

ANKARA - Hikmet Sami Turk, the Minister of Justice sent on Monday a letter to French Justice Minister Elizabeth Guigou and asked for support to try Alaattin Cakıcı, the notorious mafia boss in Turkey for other crimes.

Turk told press that if the request of Abdullah Ocalan, the head terrorist regarding the ''correction of the decision given about him'' is rejected, the leaders will take up the precautionary judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in a summit meeting. Turk stressed that Turkey, as being the member of both the Council of Europe (COE) and a candidate country to the European Union (EU), has to review the death penalty in its legal system.

Turk stressed that the problem in prisons stems from the ''ward system'' and efforts are underway to have the ''room system'' in prisons.

The first meeting of the working group formed by the Istanbul State Security Court (DGM) Chief Prosecution, to investigate the crimes of Alaattin Cakıcı, the notorious mafia boss, including the Turkbank tender, will have its first meeting on December 30, Turk said.

Reminding that the Ministry of Justice sent the necessary documents to France asking permission from it to try Alaattin Cakıcı regarding four new crimes which were not included in the extradition file, Turk said he also wrote a letter to Elizabeth Guigou, the French Justice Minister.

''In my letter, I stressed the importance of Cakıcı for Turkey and the investigation carried about him and requested her to respond quickly to our demands. But the final decision about the issue will be given by the French court,'' Turk said.

Turk said that they also applied to Britain requesting them to extradite Gulay Aslıturk, former Sisli mayor to Turkey regarding three cases filed against her.

Later Turk responded to questions of journalists.

Responding to a question, Turk said that if the request of the head terrorist Ocalan regarding the correction of the decision given about him is rejected, the file will be submitted to the Ministry of Justice.

Turk said the ECHR gave a precautionary judgement on November 25 when the death sentence given to Ocalan was approved.

''A leaders summit was also held the same day, but no decision was given about the decision of ECHR. The leaders decided that firstly the internal remedies should be exhausted regarding Ocalan, the head terrorist. If the request of ''correction of decision'' is rejected by the Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecution, the precautionary judgement will be taken up in a leaders summit. After that it can also be taken up by the cabinet,'' Turk said.

''The death penalty has been an impediment that prevents Turkish justice from working effeciently,'' said Turk adding that the legal system in Turkey should be in line with the developments in Europe which tends to abolish death penalty.

Turk stressed that ECHR can give its final decision about the head terrorist Ocalan at least in 1,5 years, adding Turkey and other European countries usually abide by the precautionary and final decisions of ECHR.

Responding to questions asking whether the term in office of President Suleyman Demirel can be extended by a constitutional change, Turk said that the issue is a comprehensive one.

Turk said that the request of Cakıcı who wants the transfer of two prisoners to his ward can't be accepted at the moment.

Istanbul State Security Court (DGM) Chief Prosecutor will decide whether Cakıcı will be questioned in police office or in prison, he added, noting that the judicial police system should be founded to end torture claims.

Turk said that Ocalan can't benefit from the Repentance Law, reminding that 55 other persons were sentenced to death penalty and 15 of them were given death sentences under Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code like Ocalan.

Turk added that the army has the control in Southeastern Turkey and the terrorist organization dissolved in a considerable extent.

[04] GERMAN GOVERNMENT TO CONSTRUCT 1,558 PREFABRICATED HUTS AND A HOSPITAL IN QUAKE-STRICKEN AREA

BOLU - The German government has pledged to construct 1,558 prefabricated huts, and an emergency hospital in quake-stricken area.

Representatives of the German Technical Cooperation Institution (GTZ) paid a visit to Bolu province on Tuesday.

Horst Valentin Kreuther, the Representative of the GTZ, and Andreas Gies, the Undersecretary of the German Embassy Economical Cooperation, made observations in the area where 504 prefabricated huts are being constructed.

Kreuther and Gies told the A.A correspondent that prefabricated huts would be handed over on January 10, 2000.

They noted that assembly of other 454 prefabricated huts was continuing, and huts would be finalized in mid-January.

German representatives pointed out that social infrastructure such as school, nursery, health center, market and administration center, in prefabricated campsites would also be concluded.

Meanwhile, the German government will also construct an emergency hospital having capacity of 48 beds, in the quake-stricken area.

The hospital will become operational in January.

Kreuther stressed that the German government had allocated 3 million German Marks with the aim to assist quake survivors, and had charged GTZ to carry out the works.

Kreuther noted that half of the financial aid would be used to provide medical equipment, tents and foodstuff, and the other half would be used to construct a hospital.

The Public Works and Settlement Ministry and Germany signed a protocol on October 21, 1999 to this end.

[05] PRESIDENT DENKTAS OF THE TRNC AND CEM, FOREIGN MINISTER, STAGE A JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE (1)

LEFKOSA - Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister, said on Tuesday, ''as we approach to a new century, Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) are some more optimistic about continuity of the Cyprus case. Our longstanding struggle is drawing near to its target gradually.''

Cem who is in the TRNC for holiday, met with President Rauf Denktas of the TRNC; Ertugrul Hasipoglu, the Speaker of TRNC Republican Parliament; Salih Cosar, the Acting Speaker of TRNC Parliament; Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu; Ertugrul Apakan, the Turkish Ambassador to TRNC; and Tahsin Ertugruloglu, the TRNC Foreign Affairs and Defense Minister.

Following the meeting, Cem staged a press conference together with President Denktas.

Addressing the press conference, Cem noted that they had evaluated the developments in 1999.

Cem noted, ''we will voice the rightful Cyprus case in the European Union platforms more effectively with Turkey's candidacy to the EU. We will bring the confederation proposal onto agenda of the EU for the first time. There can be no excuse to justify the embargo imposed on the TRNC. We are determined to continue our initiatives for the embargo to be lifted.''

Noting that Turkish team was very successful in proximity talks in New York, Cem said, ''the EU's decisions have encouraged the Greek Cypriot side to digress from the negotiation table. We have concerns that the Greek Cypriots could withdraw from the negotiations by making excuses in a period when proximity talks have begun.''

He stressed, ''we underlined two years ago that the TRNC was a state. President Denktas proposed confederation on the island. We also prevented the Russian-made S-300 missiles trouble with the same determination in the same period. Decisions further improving the relations between Turkey and the TRNC, were signed. As we approach to the end of this year, the proximity talks started in New York. President Denktas had an opportunity to express rightful Cyprus case in a more clear and effective manner during the proximity talks.''

''The United Nations Security Council said in its last resolution that Cyprus was formed by two sovereign states in the basis, and that the TRNC's approval was necessary for any activity in northern Cyprus.

As we approach to a new century, Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) are some more optimistic about continuity of the Cyprus case. Our longstanding struggle is drawing near to its target gradually.''

Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said a new period and new conditions were existing, adding that a new period started which is full of new parameters, hopes, problems, and facilities.

Pointing out that Turkey's EU formal candidacy was an important development, Cem said Turkey, which is stronger than it was in the past, will be more powerful in the future.

Cem said Cyprus case was a mutual one, adding that strengthening of Turkey will create a new facility for the strengthening of TRNC, and that nobody should feel doubt about it.

Underlining that Turkey separated the EU and Cyprus case from each other, Cem said they have mentioned this almost in all the contacts, adding that they did not mislead anybody. ''Nobody should think or expect us to change our position regarding Cyprus issue even if we solve our problems with the EU.

Referring to the statements of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, Cem said, TRNC was standing still, and will continue to do so. He said TRNC continued to develop despite all these obstacles, and became an example state with its parliament and democracy.

Cem pointed out that Turkey and TRNC did not oppose to a solution based on the compromise of the two sides on Cyprus, adding that ''if a solution based on compromise will be obtained, Turkey and TRNC proposed confederation.''

Cem said they will do their best to prepare the best conditions to Turkish and TRNC people. He said the year 1999 was a positive one for Turkey and TRNC, and expressed belief that they will conclude next year in a better way.

Pointing out that Turkish side spoke about the truths in proximity talks held in New York, Cem said, ''I hope Greek Cyprot side will not create a pretext from the proximity talks and enter into tactics to digress.''

Cem said the embargo imposed on TRNC will not have an excuse, and stressed that this was an uncivilized implementation. He said, ''we expect support and effort from everybody to lift this embargo. We want this unjust implementation to end. We are resolved to bring the issue to the world and especially to EU platforms in the year 2000.''

[06] PRESIDENT DENKTAS OF THE TRNC AND CEM, FOREIGN MINISTER, STAGE A JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE (2)

LEFKOSA - President Rauf Denktas of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Tuesday, ''the only way for a reconcilitiation on Cyprus is to accept the truth about the island.''

President Rauf Denktas staged a press conference together with Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister, who is in the TRNC for holiday.

Addressing the press conference, President Denktas said, ''Cyprus was divided into two because Turkey and the TRNC did not allow Greece and the Greek Cypriot side to colonize the island.''

Denktas stressed, ''in its decision about the Greek Cypriot side's membership, the European Union (EU) considered Cyprus as the island of Greek Cypriots and deemed unilateral application as valid. If the EU want Cyprus to become a member as a whole, it should recognize the TRNC's status and sovereignty.''

He noted, ''the EU gave the Greek Cypriots the right to colonize and to reduce the Turkish Cypriots to the level of minority by deeming them as the legitimate government. The EU which turned a blind eye to armament of the Greek Cypriots, is not aware of that the Greek Cypriots were preparing for a war.''

''We went to New York as two equal sides. But the Greek Cypriot side assumed an uncomprimising attitude because they are being deemed as the 'only government' of Cyprus. The Greek Cypriots will not compromise with us unless these are changed,'' Denktas added.

Calling out to Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides, Denktas said they were the two equal sides establishing a joint republic on Cyprus. He said Greek Cypriot side can not dominate on Turkish Cypriots, adding that guarantee system will continue.

Refferring to the statement of Bill Clinton, the U.S. President, which said ''there could be no return to the status quo on Cyprus to the pre-1974 period'', Denktas said, ''if we want improvement, we should start from where we are. There is not only one Cyprus government and only one Cypriot people in the position where we are. Development with the concept of two democracies, two peoples, and two states is a starting point.''

Denktas expressed readiness for this. He said, ''we are ready to form bridges. We are ready to show Cyprus as one confederate state in the U.N. and in the EU. Our way is a uniting one, but the way of Greek Cypriots is a one which posseses, and which divides Cyprus.''

Denktas said although the world said ''your are the Cyprus government'' to Greek Cypriots, adding that ''some words and expressions should change.''

Denktas said they believed that Turkey will defend the case in EU platform in a more stronger way.

Foreign Minister Cem departed TRNC after the joint news conference.

[07] BUDGET TALKS (1) - PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT: ''WE SHOULD BE DETERMINED, BECAUSE ECONOMY CAME TO THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF''

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Tuesday that the government has to recover its current position, reduce budget deficits, and bring the inflation down. He said, ''we should be determined, because economy came to the edge of the cliff.''

Responding to the criticisms on the last day of budget talks, Ecevit thanked to all the parliamentarians who contributed to the efforts on budget and legislation works.

Prime Minister Ecevit pointed out that the first budget of the year 2000 was significant as it contributed to the targets of the economic program which the government implemented. Ecevit said the developments that were recorded before the year 2000's were important for Turkey.

Recalling that Turkey's formal candidacy to European Union (EU) was adopted in Helsinki Summit which took place in the last days of 1999, Ecevit said, ''the route of Turks was always towards the West since they began to immigrate from Central Asia. Turks, who had come to the doors of Anatolia 1000 years ago, are European for 600 years.''

Ecevit said Turkey's formal candidacy to EU was more important and has other meanings from the candidacy of other countries. Because Turkey belongs to Asia, Caucasia, and the Middle East as well as Europe. He said, ''Turkey at the same time is an influential country of Eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the Balkans. Now that Turkey will become an energy terminal country where oil and gas riches of Caspian Basin and Caucasia will be marketted to the world.''

Ecevit said, ''Turkey is a live link between Europe and Asia, as well as between Christianity, Jewishness, and Islam. Most of the population of Turkey is Moslem. At the same time it is the pioneer country in democracy, modernism, and secularism in Islam world.''

Ecevit said he believed that Turkey will reach its goal to become a full member of the EU as he relied on Turkish nation. Pointing out that Turkish economy was the 16th biggest economy of the world, Ecevit recalled that Turkey was included in the newly formed G-20 Group with its effectiveness in the region.

Ecevit said Turkish economy had a great change in the past 20 years, Ecevit said modern market economy was replaced with the economy basing on the state. He said the economy, which was based on agriculture, was changed into economy focusing on industry.

Prime Minister noted that economy was opened to foreign markets, and realized important developments in foreign sale, tourism, and transportation. ''However,'' Ecevit added, serious structural problems of economy continued. Turkey was the only country who could not solve high inflation problem for 25 years.''

Responding to the statements of Recai Kutan, leader of Virtue Party (FP), that inflation hit 90 percent this year, Ecevit said, ''this is not realistic. We consider official figures. According to these figures the inflation in their period reached to 100 percent. Public finance deficits increased every day.''

Ecevit said, ''our economy began to recover in the second half of the year 1997, and rate of inflation was reduced to 50 percent from 90 percent. Investments were speeded up. Yet, crises in the world, especially the crisis in Russia, negatively effected Turkish economy. There were extraordinary increases in prices of world oil. We have experienced two massive earthquakes. The quakes brought a heavy burden on our economy. The government put a comprehensive program into effect that will solve the structural problems of the economy, and that will enliven economy.''

Prime Minister Ecevit said, ''high inflation and heavy debt burden are among the most serious economic problems. Unhealthy structure of public finance is the main reason of these problems. The government is determined to reduce budget deficit and to bring the inflation down.

We have to be determined because the economy came to the edge of the cliff.''

Ecevit stressed that they aimed at reducing inflation 25 percent in 2000, 10 percent in 2001 and to single digit numbers in 2002 with the three-year programme.

Ecevit called on everyone to contribute to reach this target, adding, ''If we succeed in reducing inflation, well-being of the society will increase and Turkey's full membership to the European Union (EU) will become easier. Many important structural reforms have been realized. We are preparing a transparent and coherent budget. Public spendings will be taken under control. We have signed the Stand-by agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Our credit note has recovered. The IMF gave loan to Turkey.''

Recalling that all the shares of the Yurtbank, the Egebank, the Sumerbank, the Esbank, and the Yasarbank to the Savings Account Insurance Fund of the Central Bank, Ecevit said, ''these banks will continue their normal activities under their new administrations and under the ownership of Savings Account Insurance Fund of the Central Bank. Overall deposits of our citizens in these banks are under guarantee of the State. These banks will be privatized in coming days.''

Noting that the government accelerated works to make the agricultural reform with the aim of reconstruction of the agriculture sector, Ecevit said, ''farmers and peasants will directy reach the State's support. We will make production planning and agricultural insurance system.''

He added, ''new arrangements will be made regarding border trade.

The border trade is in favour of Turkey in regard to foreign trade balance.''

[08] BUDGET TALKS (2) - PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT: ''WE WILL HAVE TROUBLES FOR SOME TIME, YET THIS WILL NOT BE IN VAIN''

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Tuesday that one of the main targets of the budget was to prevent the the increasing trend in public deficits.

Responding to the criticisms on draft budget in Parliamentary General Assembly, Ecevit said one of the basic targets of the budget was to stop the increasing trend in public deficits.

Noting that the rate budget surplus was foreseen to be 5.6 percent of the Gross National Product excluding the interest payments, Ecevit said, ''thus the difference between the state revenues and spendings will be tried to be removed. To this end, the increase in spendings will be kept at a specific rate, and the the revenues will be increased more.''

Ecevit said the budget for the first time brought a mechanism into the agenda that will prevent the civil servants and retired people from suffering inflation. He said the salaries of these sections will not be below the inflation, adding that a draft bill has been submitted to the Parliament that will prevent renters to suffer.

Ecevit said, ''we will have problems for some time till the inflation is reduced with the economic program, and till the financial structure reaches a healthy structure.'' Ecevit said, ''the important thing is that this concession should be distributed in a just way between the sections of the community. There will be problems for some time, but this will not be in vain. The goal is to enliven economy, to produce more, to create more employment facilities, and to increase prosperity of our people to compete in world markets. Positive outcomes of the program are began to be seen as inflation began to reduce, interests were brought down, and stock exchange increased.''

Prime Minister Ecevit pointed out that extraordinary efforts were exerted to overcome the damages caused by the two massive quakes. He said measures towards the quake zone were implemented quickly, adding that Turkey proved that it was not a country that will not be smashed under such a strong natural disaster.

[09] BUDGET TALKS (3) - PRIME MINISTER ECEVIT: - ''AS TURKEY GAINS EU CANDIDACY RIGHT, SHE DID NOT MAKE ANY CONCESSIONS ABOUT HER OWN NATIONAL RIGHTS OR TURKISH CYPRIOTS' RIGHTS''

ANKARA - Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said on Tuesday that as Turkey gained the European Union (EU) candidacy right, she did not make any concessions about her own national rights or the Turkish Cypriots' rights.

Responding to the criticisms on the last day of the budget talks,

Ecevit said, ''Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen of Finland, the Term President of the EU, sent a letter to Ankara on December 10, saying, 'in Article 4, the date of 2004 is not a deadline for the settlement of the Aegean disputes through the International Court of Justice, but the date at which the EU Council will review the situation relating to any outstanding dispute. Regarding Cyprus a political settlement remains the aim of the EU. Concerning the accession of Cyprus, all relavant factors will be taken into account when the Council takes the decision.' The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Turkish Cypriot's indispensable rights are among these relevant factors.''

Ecevit noted, ''when we were in Helsinki, we underlined that there were two separate states on Cyprus. The EU has accepted Turkey as a candidate country by being aware of that Turkey did not change her policy regarding the Cyprus question. Therefore, there is no need to worry about the Cyprus issue. Proximity talks were held between the sides in New York at the beginning of December. Although these talks did not come to a conclusion, they were useful to express the TRNC's views to the world public opinion.''

Recalling that the proximity talks would resume in January, Ecevit said that it would be easy to reach compromise between two sides in case of recognition the fact that there were two separate independent states on the island.

Stressing that the TRNC's presence was also important for security of Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean region, Ecevit said, ''I want to stress once again that as Turkey gained the European Union (EU) candidacy right, she did not make any concessions about her own national rights or the Turkish Cypriots' rights.''

Ecevit noted, ''our EU candidacy is the success of the whole nation including government, opposition parties and non-governmental organizations. Turkey will determine acceleration of the transition period into full membership to the EU. I believe that we would fulfil overall commitments in the fields of human right, democracy and economy, in a short period of time by cooperating. I hope that dialogue atmosphere between Turkey and Greece which improved in the wake of the earthquake disasters, will ease solution of the Aegean dispute.''

Referring to the Chechnya crisis, Ecevit said that Turkey was among the most sensitive countries regarding the issue.

Ecevit pointed out that Turkey was the first country sending humanitarian aid to Chechnya.

He stressed, ''I called on Russia to put an end to bloody attacks on Chechnya because of the holy month of Ramadan. I am reiterating my call once again.''

Ecevit added, ''Turkey experienced grave disasters besides the pleasing developments in 1999. She has gained political stability for the first time in years. Separatist terrorism was nearly eliminated.

In the year 2000, we will accelerate improvement in Southeastern and Eastern Anatolia regions. We will also make important reforms in the field of agriculture which provides 45 percent of employment. We will remove deficiencies in democracy and juristiction system. Ataturk, the founder of modern Republic of Turkey, led the country to westernize without distancing from the East. In 2000, we will accelerate steps to this end.''

[10] PREMIER ECEVIT SIGNS BOOK OF CONDOLENCE FOR SHARMA, FORMER INDIAN PRESIDENT

ANKARA - Premier Bulent Ecevit signed on Tuesday the Indian Embassy's book of condolence for Shankar Dayal Sharma, former Indian President.

Ecevit was welcomed by M.K. Bhadrakumar, the Indian Ambassador to Ankara.

After signing the book of condolence for Sharma who died on Oecember 26, 1999, Ecevit had a meeting with Bhadrakumar.

Shankar Dayal Sharma served as the Indian President between 1993 and 1996.

Sharma who was considered as one of the leading statesmen of India due to his contributions to the national struggle, died at 81.

[11] PARLIAMENT APPROVES 2000 FISCAL YEAR BUDGET DRAFT LAW

ANKARA - The Parliament approved on Tuesday the 2000 Fiscal Year Budget Draft Law.

After the talks on the budget, a total of 366 parliamentarians attended the open voting.

Parliament Acting Speaker Murat Sokmenoglu announced that the 2000 Fiscal Year Budget was accepted by 276 votes to 88 votes while a deputy used an abstaining vote.

The total spendings are foreseen to be 46 quadrillion 968 trillion Turkish Liras (TL) and the total revenues are foreseen to be 32 quadrillion 585 trillion TL in accordance with the approved bill. The 14 quadrillion 383 trillion TL of budget deficit is targeted to be removed with borrowings.

[12] TURKISH NEWS CHANNEL NTV SIGNS COOPERATION AGREEMENT WITH ENEX

ISTANBUL - The NTV, a Turkish private news channel, signed on Tuesday a cooperation agreement with the European News Network ENEX.

Nuri Colakoglu, the General Coordinator of NTV, and Nec Jakob, the Secretary General of ENEX, signed the agreement via satellite.

Colakoglu said that after signing this agreement, they would have the opportunity to inform Turkish people about the developments with more detailed news.

A total of 26 broadcasting organizations are the members of ENEX.

[13] LEADERS' SUMMIT ENDS

ANKARA - The summit of the leaders of the political parties that formed the coalition government ended late on Tuesday.

Premier Bulent Ecevit and the leader of the Democratic Left Party (DSP); Devlet Bahceli, the Deputy Prime Minister and the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP); and Mesut Yilmaz, the leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP); participated in the meeting.

Husamettin Ozkan, the State Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister; Cumhur Ersumer, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Energy and Natural Resources Minister; Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu, the Industry and Trade Minister; and Yasar Okuyan, the Labour and Social Security Minister, also attended the meeting.

Following the meeting, Ecevit told reporters that they discussed the nuclear power plants and the minimum wage in the meeting.

Ecevit noted that they did not reach any result regarding the nuclear power plants, and that more researches should be made regarding the nuclear power plants.

[14] RUSSIA'S OPERATION AGAINST CHECHNYA

ANKARA - The members of Turkish-Chechen-Caucasian Culture and Solidarity Committee will leave Ankara for the Sarp Border Gatein Artvin province in eastern Black Sea region to lay a wreath to protest the Russia's military operation against Chechnya.

The Committe issued a statement saying that Russia ''was killing innocent civilians'' and ''was carrying out a mass genocide''.

The statement said the ''Convoy to Curse Oppression on Chechnya'' would gather in Tandogan district in Ankara on Oecember 30, and leave for Sarp Border Gate region the same day.

It said the convoy would leave a black wreath including a letter to Russian officials to the Black Sea from Samsun on December 31.

It added that a wreath including a ''letter to Chechnya'' and Turkish and Chechen flags would be laid in front of the entrance to the Sarp Border Gate on January 1, 2000.

A.A


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