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Anadolu Agency: News in English, 99-12-29

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

29 December 1999 Wednesday

[02] TURKEY-PRESS SCAN

These are some of the major headlines and their brief stories in Turkey's press on December 29, 1999. The Anadolu Ajansi does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their occuracy.

HURRIYET (LIBERAL)

GIANT LEAP IN HUMAN RIGHTS
The government took a significant step in human rights. The government set up a 'Human Rights Solidarity Council' which will unite the state and the human rights organizations. The government will also set up a Human Rights Directorate and a Human Rights Coordination Supreme Board. The decree regarding the human rights organizations, was opened to signature of the Council of Ministers.

FOUR IMPORTANT DECISIONS
The leaders of three coalition partner parties took four historic decisions yesterday. The leaders decided to end the Merve Kavakci crisis, to accelerate the initiatives for the nuclear power plants, the implementation of arbitration and 25 percent increase in the minimum wage.

MILLIYET (LIBERAL) LOOK WHO IS SAVING US!
Selcuk Baran, who was appointed to the Yurtbank on behalf of the Treasury, was previously convicted of fake documents. It was revealed that lawyer Baran, who was charged to determine the ''illegal'' transactions in the Yurtbank and to save the bank, was earlier tried by Ankara Heavy Criminal Court on charges of swindle. Baran had earlier withdrawn money from Guven Sigorta, an insurance company, by arranging fake traffic accident reports. However, Baran was not sentenced to any punishment due to the statute of limitations.

LAST NSC MEETING OF THIS CENTURY
The National Security Council (NSC) will convene today for the last time in 1999. The participants are expected to discuss the Emergency Rule application during the meeting. The participants will evaluate the developments in Chief of the General Staff, te National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Interior Ministry, Foreign Ministry in 1999.

SABAH (LIBERAL)

MAGNIFICENT FINAL
The Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) gained 243 percent in 1999 and finished this year as becoming the world champion. The stock market which broke 49 records in two and a half months, led the investors to gain wealth which they could not imagine of. The IMKB became the world champion for the fourth time in its 14-year history.

ORAL: ''THE STATE WILL ALSO TIGHTEN BELTS IN 2000''
Sumer Oral, the Finance Minister, said that now it is the state's turn, and listed the tightening belt measures. Oral said that the appointments to the state institutions will be limited. The number of janitors and the drivers will be decreased. The oil and repair expenditures will be reduced, Oral noted. Oral added tat new standards will be imposed for the inventory stocks.

NEW YEAR CELEBRATION ON PHONE
Rauf Denktas, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), celebrated the new year of Glafcos Clerides, the leader of the Greek Cypriot side. Denktas called Clerides on the phone and celebrated his new year. Clerides had earlier called Denktas on the phone to celebrate his new year but could not talk with him since Denktas was in Ankara. To this end, Denktas called Clerides back to celebrate his new year.

CUMHURIYET (LEFT)

ARGUMENT OF LEADERS
Harsh discussions took place during budget talks which was adopted in Parliamentary General Assembly. Tension was escalated because of harsh arguments between Tansu Ciller, leader of True Path Party (DYP), Mesut Yilmaz, leader of the Motherland Party (ANAP), Recai Kutan, leader of the Virtue Party (FP), and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

''WE ARE OPTIMISTIC FOR CYPRUS IN THE THRESHOLD OF NEW CENTURY''
Ismail Cem, the Foreign Minister, said, ''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 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.''

RADIKAL (LEFT) THE STORM WHICH TERRORIZED EUROPE, EFFECTS TURKEY
Storm and heavy rain, which is effective in most of the regions, paralyzed daily life. More than 100 tents have been demolished in Bolu province. Electricity was cut against the danger of fire. More than 100 tents have been collapsed in Kocaeli province. Bolu and Kocaelý had earlier been devastated by massive earthquakes.

NSC TO HOLD THE LAST MEETING OF THIS YEAR
National Security Council (NSC) will hold the last meeting of this year in Cankaya palace. General Staff, Foreign and Interior Ministries, and National Intelligence Organization (MIT) will evaluate the developments in 1999.

TURKIYE (RIGHT) 15 PERCENT INCREASE TO SALARIES
Increase that will be made on the salaries of civil servants becomes definite. According to 2000 Fiscal Year Budget Bill, additional 2 percent increase will be made to salaries if inflation is more than the increase of the salaries. Thus, annual increase will reach 27 percent.

SUPPORT FROM DCR TO STAND-BY
Prof. Dr. Selcuk Abac, the Acting Chairman of DCR Turkey, said on Tuesday that they support government's all practices and the policies which are implemented within the framework of the stand-by agreement signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Abac noted that they expect the private bond and other borrowing markets will restart functioning by the end of this year in parallel with the decrease in the inflation and the interest rates.

The DCR Turkey will continue to support the Turkish financial organizations and companies, Abac stressed.

''We have played an important role in providing a 4.8 billion U.S. dollar foreign support to the Turkish banks and companies in last three years,'' Abac said.

ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE) THERE IS NO MORE HOLE IN THE BELTS
Sakip Sabanci, owner of Sabanci Holding, warned the government, and said people having low income can no more bear the burden of economy. Sabanci said, ''rich people, working people, every body should make sacrifices.'' Sabanci said people should be treated equally, and noted that the one who made the mistake, should account for it.

HEADSCARF ON THE WAY TO ECHR
Appeals Court approved of the ban on headscarf, and this has almost exhausted internal legal ways. If a negative decision is issued from the request for correction of decision, cases will be opened to European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Non-governmental organizations, students and parents reacted to the decision of Appeals Court supporting the ban on headscarf.

[03] TURKISH AND ISRAELI TOURISM AGENCIES TO SET UP ''DEMRE-JERUSALEM BELIEF BRIDGE'' IN 2000

ANTALYA - The Turkish and Israeli tourism agencies will set up ''Demre- Jerusalem Belief Bridge'' as of April 2000.

Muammer Karabulut, the Chairman of the Executive Board of the Santa Claus Foundation, told A.A correspondent on Wednesday that the European pilgrims used this route between 500 and 1000 to reach Jerusalem.

Demre, which was named Myra those days, was the first stopping point of the Christian pilgrims in their journey to the holy land; Karabulut said.

Karabulut noted that the Christian pilgrims used to visit the St. Nicholas Church and his tomb those days.

They held contacts with the officials of the Israeli airline company El-Ar, Karabulut stated.

Karabulut stressed that the pilgrimage of the Christians will start again in the 21st century.

Karabulut said, ''the tourists who will arrive in Antalya via airway, will be transfered to Demre by busses. Here, they will visit St. Nicholas Church and tomb. Later, they will fly to Tel Aviv and will proceed to Jerusalem.''

They also plan pilgrimage tours for the Russians, and the Russians will arrive in Demre via sea and later proceed to Israel, Karabulut emphasized.

Karabulut added that the definite route of the pilgrimage tourism will be determined during his visit to Israel in January.

[04] FINANCIAL STABILITY FORUM SETS UP OFF-SHORE FINANCIAL CENTERS WORKING GROUP

WASHINGTON D.C./ANKARA - The Financial Stability Forum (FSF) that is bound to the G-20 group of which Turkey is a member, set up Off-Shore Financial Centers Working Group.

The officials said on Wednesday that the working group was set up to control the off-shore centers more efficiently.

John Palmer, the Chief Auditor of Canadian Financial Centers, runs the chairmanship of OFC, the officials noted.

The officials stated that Andrew Crockett, the chairman of the International Payment Bank, runs the chairmanship of FSF.

Crockett asked OFC to control the off-shore centers to protect the global financial stability, the officials stressed.

The officials emphasized that the activities of the OFCs should be closely revised and the results of the auditing should be announced.

The OFC plans setting up international standards and arbitration institution in the off-shore centers, the officials added.

[05] RUSSIAN TANKER RUNS AGROUND - RUSSIAN TRANSPORTATION MINISTER: ''800 TONS OF FUEL OIL LEAKED TO MARMARA''

MOSCOW - Russian Transportation Minister Sergey Palikhov said on Wednesday that the amount of fuel oil leaked from the Russian-flagged ''Volganeft 248'' tanker to the Marmara Sea was almost 800 tons.

The tanker ran aground and split into two due to strong southwest winds.

Palikhov said Turkish and Russian officials were jointly expending great efforts to remove the effects of the accident but the heavy storm was preventing a full-capacity operation.

The Russian Emergency Ministry said the tanker was carrying 4,300 tons of fuel oil.

The Ministry said the tanker split into two due to a strong wave.

[06] DIPLOMACY TO REGAIN MOMENTUM IN JANUARY

ANKARA - The Turkish foreign diplomacy will regain momentum as of mid- January 2000.

Ankara is expected to host Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and European Union (EU) Term President Portugal's Foreign Minister Jaime Gama after mid-January.

Within the framework of these visits, it was foreseen that Kharrazi will hold contacts in Ankara on January 17.

Kharrazi will be received by President Suleyman Demirel and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and meet with Foreign Minister Ismail Cem.

Bilateral and regional relations, and Iran's compensation demands for the bombardment which was claimed to be staged by Turkish planes on border are expected to be taken up at the meetings.

Iran demanded compensation from Turkey claiming that five people were killed and 15 others were injured during the incident happened on July 18.

Another important guest will be King Abdullah who became the King of Jordan when his father Hussein Bin Tallal died on February 7, 1999. King Abdullah visited several Middle eastern countries in previous months. Suleyman Demirel met with King Abdullah during his tour to Middle East that started on July 16. King Abdullah is expected to pay a visit to Turkey in February or March 2000.

The meetings which will start with the EU Commission following declaration of Turkey's EU candidacy will be another important issue on the agenda of January 2000.

Follow-up activities with the EU Commission experts are foreseen to start in Turkey within the framework of the new process started between Turkey and the EU following the Helsinki Summit.

Within this framework, the Turkish and EU experts are foreseen to start activities regarding the 31-article EU jurisprudence and harmonization of Turkish regulations.

Turkey will host Jaime Gama, the Foreign Minister of Portugal, which will be the EU Term President on January 1, 2000 in the second half of January.

Gama is expected to come together with Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and to be received by President Suleyman Demirel and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

Gama said recently in a press briefing held in Brussels that they would attribute importance to broadening of relations with Turkey. Enlargement, structural reforms, foreign policy, European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI) and economic reforms are on the agenda of Portuguese programme.

Portugal plans of convening the Turkey-EU Association Council in April.

Another important visitor of the first days of 2000 will be Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who will come to Ankara on January 20 upon the official invitation of Foreign Minister Cem. The two Foreign Ministers will sign the draft agreements on which experts and diplomats of the two countries have been working for months.

The delegations between Turkey and Greece had come together to discuss issues like struggle against terrorism, regional cooperation, culture, trade, tourism and environment within the framework of the dialogue that continues between the two countries for a certain period of time.

Papandreou, who recently said that they would sign totally 8-9 agreements with Turkey, had paid a visit to Istanbul for an unofficial meeting namely Taksim meetings.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit will leave for Davos, Switzerland for the 30th annual meetings of World Economic Forum. Ecevit can come together with U.S. President Bill Clinton in the meetings.

Ecevit is expected to stay in Davos for two days and be accompanied by Foreign Minister Ismail Cem.

[07] FM:''THERE IS NO REASON FOR US TO BE UNEASY ABOUT SYRIAN-ISRAELI PEACE TALKS''

ANKARA - Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that there is no reason for Turkey to be uneasy about Syrian-Israeli peace talks.

Speaking in a weekly press briefing, Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Sermet Atacanlý reminded that Turkey has always extended support to the Middle East Peace Process.

''Israeli-Syrian talks are part of this process and as President Suleyman Demirel said in his visit to Israel, there is no reason for us to be disturbed by these talks,'' said Atacanlý.

Responding to a question asking whether or not a ''bargaining for water'' will take place between Turkey and Syria, Atacanlý pointed out that ''there is no water bargain we will carry out with any country.''

A new period started in Turkish-Syrian relations following the Adana Accord, he said, adding certain positive steps were taken between the two countries to further improve the relations.

[08] FOREIGN MINISTRY ENLARGES EU DIRECTORATE GENERAL IN ITSELF

ANKARA - Foreign Ministry decided on Wednesday to enlarge its Directorate General of European Union (EU) within the framework of the harmonization process with the EU.

Speaking in a weekly press briefing, Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman

Sermet Atacanlý said that the Directorate General will be broadened in respect of personnel and capacities.

Certain units are planned to be transferred from central office of the Ministry in Balgat district of Ankara to a new building.

Atacanlý stressed that the process of harmonizing the Turkish law with the EU law started earlier and an important progress was recorded in that process.

When asked about the division of labour between State Ministry headed by Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik responsible for the EU and the Foreign Ministry, Atacanlý said that this ministry was present before Helsinki summit and there is nothing that has changed. Atacanlý added that these issues are government issues.

[09] DENKTAS: ''POSTPONEMENT OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IS OUT OF QUESTION''

LEFKOSA - Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas said on Wednesday that postponement of presidential elections was out of question.

Speaking to reporters, Denktas said, ''the elections will be held in April in accordance with the TRNC Constitution. There is not a reason to delay the elections. Elections can only be postponed in case of an extraordinary situation. Today, there are talks between the two sides on Cyprus and these talks will also be in the future.''

TRNC President Rauf Denktas, TRNC Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu, Republican Turkish Party leader Mehmet Ali Talat, and businessman Ramadan Guney who is living in London, earlier announced that they would run candidacy for the Presidency.

[10] TURKEY-GREECE - 10 AGREEMENTS TO BE SIGNED BY TWO COUNTRIES

ANKARA - Following the visit of Greek Foreign Minister Yorgo Papandreou to Turkey at the end of January, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem is also expected to visit Athens.

Speaking in a weekly press briefing, Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Sermet Atacanlý said that there is progress in Turkish-Greek relations. Atacanlý reminded that a series of meetings were held among diplomats and experts of the two countries within the dialogue process.

Atacanlý said that many agreements, which were prepared at the end of these meetings, will be signed in the first months of 2000 between these two countries.

Atacanlý noted that these agreements will be on tourism, environment, trade, culture, regional cooperation, organized crime, illegal immigration, drug trafficking, struggle against terrorism and prevention of double taxation, adding the latter will be ready in January.

Responding to questions about the news published in press saying that Greece would help Turkey in her adaptation process to the EU, Atacanlý said ''the main thing is the fact that we must help ourselves.''

Atacanlý stressed that a new period started in Turkey-EU relations by Helsinki summit, adding Turkey has to take steps to benefit from the opportunities given to her.

''However Turkey has been preparing for that for a long time, we can certainly thank our friends and allies who will contribute to Turkey's integration with Europe. But Turkey will continue to walk in the path she had drawn many years ago,'' Atacanlý added.

[11] RESTORATION OF RESIDENCE OF TURKISH AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE

ANKARA - The Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the residence of the Turkish Ambassador to Paris is an old and precious palace belonging to the 18th century, and the restoration of historical buildings in France in specific time periods was obligatory.

Addressing a weekly press conference, Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Sermet Atacanli said the building in question was one of the important and national historical buildings that were under protection in France.

Atacanli said the building might be useless if the restoration was not made in a short time.

Atacanli said the building which had housed the Turkish Ambassadors to Paris since 1974 was not exposed to a serious restoration.

''The restoration of such buildings are very difficult and sometimes costly. This building represents Turkey's prestige abroad so this restoration must be made as soon as possible,'' he said.

[12] HEALTH MINISTER DURMUS IN THE TRNC

LEFKOSA - The ''Additional Protocol in the Field of Health'' was signed on Wednesday between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
The protocol envisaging further impromevent of existing cooperation between two countries, was signed by Osman Durmus, the Health Minister, and Gulsen Bozkurt, the TRNC Health and Environment Minister.

Ertugrul Apakan, the Turkish Ambassador to the TRNC, was also in attendance at the signing ceremony.

Meanwhile, within framework of his visit to the TRNC, Durmus paid visits of courtesy to TRNC Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu; Mustafa Akinci, the TRNC Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State; Gulsen Bozkurt, the TRNC Health and Environment Minister; General Sukru Sariisik, the Commender of the Turkish Cypriot Peace Forces; and General Ali Nihat Ozeyranli, the Commander of TRNC Security Forces.

Durmus is expected to return to Turkey on Thursday.

[13] TURKEY-ISRAEL STRATEGICAL NEGOTIATIONS END

TEL AVIV - Annual strategical negotiations between Turkey and Israel ended on Wednesday.

The 30-member Turkish delegation headed by General Edip Baser, the Deputy Chief of General Staff, departed Israel after the negotiations were finalized.

A Jordanian monitor was also in attendance at the negotiations which were held at the Israeli Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv.

At the negotiations, peace talks which were resumed between Israel and Syria, were taken up in detail.

Israeli officials briefed Turkish officials about the peace talks.

Israel has assured Turkey that a peace agreement between Israel and Syria would not damage Turkey's interests.

Consequences of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit which was held in Istanbul last month, radical movements in the Middle East, and the ''Third Reliable Mermaid Manoeuvres'' which will be organized by Turkey, Israel and the U.S. next year, were also discussed at the negotiations.

Meanwhile, Turkish officials thanked Israel for her contribution to quake survivors who were left homeless and destitude by two earthquake disasters on August 17 and November 12.

A.A


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