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Turkish Press Review, 99-11-26

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.tr>

26.11.99

Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning


CONTENTS

  • [01] BELGIAN RADIO: "NO EXECUTION HAS BEEN CARRIED OUT IN TURKEY SINCE 1984"
  • [02] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
  • [03] 15,000 PREFABRICATED HOUSES ARE READY
  • [04] ECEVIT: "OUR MEMBERSHIP OF THE EU IS INDISPUTABLE"
  • [05] DEATH SENTENCE TO BE VOTED ON IN PARLIAMENT
  • [06] OFFICIAL STATEMENTS ON OCALAN'S VERDICT
  • [07] FOREIGN REACTIONS
  • [08] ALL EYES FOCUSED ON ANKARA
  • [09] FOREIGN COUNTRIES OPPOSE OCALAN RULING
  • [10] "DEATH SENTENCE CANNOT BE ACCEPTED"
  • [11] BELGIAN RADIO: "NO EXECUTION HAS BEEN CARRIED OUT IN TURKEY SINCE 1984"
  • [12] GERMAN SUPPORT FOR EU MEMBERSHIP
  • [13] CEM-SOLANA MEETING
  • [14] CEM IN SKOPJE AND BUCHAREST IN DECEMBER
  • [15] POSITIVE SIGNALS FROM SWEDEN TO TURKEY
  • [16] YILMAZ: "TURKEY'S CANDIDACY WILL ACCELERATE REFORMS"
  • [17] PAPANDREU IN SOUTHERN CYPRUS
  • [18] HANNAY TO ATTEND INDIRECT NEGOTIATIONS ON CYPRUS
  • [19] UN'S RELIGIOUS INSPECTOR DUE IN TURKEY
  • [20] TERRORISM ACCORD READY
  • [21] CONFUSION IN HOLLAND
  • [22] 5 PKK MEMBERS KILLED
  • [23] DHKP-C MEMBERS CAPTURED
  • [24] NIHAT AKGUN KILLED
  • [25] CASPIAN OIL WILL FLOW IN 2004
  • [26] PARLIAMENT LIFTS IMMUNITIES
  • [27] IMKB DONATES 60 TRILLION TL TO VICTIMS
  • [28] EU APPROVES DUPONT-SABANCI PARTNERSHIP
  • [29] "EU AID TO COME AFTER THE YEAR 2000"
  • [30] IMF LOANS WILL RISE TO $6 BILLION
  • [31] TOROS'99 MILITARY MANOEUVRES BEGIN
  • [32] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
  • [33] OCALAN BY HIKMET CETINKAYA (CUMHURIYET)
  • [34] THE TIME FOR FINE TUNING BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)

  • [01] BELGIAN RADIO: "NO EXECUTION HAS BEEN CARRIED OUT IN TURKEY SINCE 1984"

    [02] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...

    [03] 15,000 PREFABRICATED HOUSES ARE READY

    President Demirel, who attended the celebrations of the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Edirne from enemy occupation, arrived at Tunca Barracks by helicopter from Corlu Airport. Then President Demirel visited the Governor's Office and was briefed by Governor Mehmet Canseven on the problems in the province. Demirel said, "We will try to set up 25,000 houses, which will be handed over to the victims of the earthquake, before 30th November. Now, 15,000 houses are ready and some have already been given to those in need. I am closely watching developments concerning the temporary houses built by the State." /Hurriyet/

    [04] ECEVIT: "OUR MEMBERSHIP OF THE EU IS INDISPUTABLE"

    Turkish Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit has stated that membership of the EU is Turkey's indisputable natural right but that the EU, however is not the only alternative for Turkey. Ecevit further added, "Turkey is expanding, opening up to the world very rapidly." Ecevit delivered a speech at the opening session of the Democratic Left Party's (DSP) Group meeting in which he said, "Turkey was very successful during the OSCE Summit. Although, during recent years, some have been trying to humiliate the Turkish State, our State's greatness was displayed once more before the whole world. Istanbul once more proved that it is the natural capital of all Eurasia. On the threshold of the new millenium, the horizons of a new century were revealed. A more stable path to peace was made clear both for Europe and Asia thanks to the decisions taken and the declarations made. In addition, the Blue Stream venture will transport the Black Sea to the middle of Anatolia. In a few years, Turkey will become one of the most important of energy centres." /Turkiye/

    [05] DEATH SENTENCE TO BE VOTED ON IN PARLIAMENT

    The Ninth Criminal Department of the Court of Appeals upheld the ruling on the head of the PKK terrorist organization, Abdullah Ocalan, yesterday. Now, the decision to ratify the death sentence will be endorsed by political will. However, even if the decision is approved by the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), the assessment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will be binding for Turkey. /Aksam/

    [06] OFFICIAL STATEMENTS ON OCALAN'S VERDICT

    President Suleyman Demirel said in a statement yesterday that the Court of Appeals had issued its conclusion but there were further stages to go through before any death sentence could be carried out. He added, "The final decision is to be made by the Turkish Parliament following the completion of the legal procedure. Of course, this issue has a European aspect and is being considered in detail". Meanwhile, Speaker of the Turkish Parliament Yildirim Akbulut said that both the trial and the judicial process had been fair, and added that everyone would abide by the verdict of the Court of Appeals.

    Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit stated that no one could doubt the fairness of Ocalan's trial process. He said, "Both the State Security Court (DGM) and the Court of Appeals have issued their verdicts completely impartially. However, if there are aspects of this under the authority of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), we will give them due consideration". Deputy Prime Minister Devlet Bahceli pointed out that Turkey was a state with traditions which abided by the rule of law. He remarked that the process would continue as it should. Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk said that it was out of the question to wait for the ECHR conclusions. He added, however, if the ECHR gave its verdict, that would also be evaluated. /Aksam/

    [07] FOREIGN REACTIONS

    To the verdict by the Court of Appeals upholding Abdullah Ocalan's death sentence, foreign countries have reacted as follows:

    Amnesty International: Amnesty International has demanded that the TGNA stop the execution. In a declaration issued by the Organization in London, it was stressed: "In the case of his execution, Turkey violates the obligations stated under international laws."

    EU Commission: One of the spokesmen of the EU Commission, Christophe Flori, expressed the EU's expectation that capital punishment would not be enforced for Ocalan.

    France: The French Foreign Ministry Spokesman said, "The legal procedures have not been completed yet."

    Denmark: The verdict was announced as the top story in Denmark. A liberal newspaper 'Berlingske Tidende' stated on its Internet page: "The Court of Appeals has verified the sentence and the Leader of the PKK is getting closer to the rope."

    Russia: In a statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry, it said: "Moskow hopes that Turkey will not execute Ocalan". The Official ITAR-TASS News Agency issued the news without any comment. The Russian official TV channel, ORT, announced the news live from its Ankara correspondent. In the news, it is stated that the verdict arouse enthusiasm among the relatives of the people who were killed in clashes with the PKK. Russia also has capital punishment in her penal code. /Mİlliyet/

    [08] ALL EYES FOCUSED ON ANKARA

    Many foreign news agencies and TV stations announced the ruling of the Court of Appeals concerning the head of the PKK terrorist organization, Abdullah Ocalan, yesterday. International news agencies Reuters, AFP and AP published the decision on Ocalan in a news flash. CNN, CBS and ABC also devoted space to the verdict on Ocalan on their Websites. The ruling could play a key role in the decision on Turkey's EU candidacy, and it was added that there was no capital punishment in EU member countries. /Aksam/

    [09] FOREIGN COUNTRIES OPPOSE OCALAN RULING

    Finnish Parliamentary Member Gunnar Janson, who observed the trial in the Court of Appeals on behalf of the Council of Europe, said that the decision to uphold the death sentence was unacceptable. Janson added that the European Court of Human Rights had been applied to on Ocalan's behalf. The Prime Minister of Finland, the EU President, Paavo Lipponen, stated that Ocalan's fate had connections with Turkey's hopes for Europe. The Head of the EU Commission, Gunter Verheugen, expressed his disappointment over the ruling.

    Britain: Britain is opposed to capital punishment and this position has been conveyed to Turkey during talks both within the guidelines of the EU and bilateral meetings. Italy: Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema and Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini issued joint statements desiring that the verdict not be implemented. Greece: The ruling concerning Ocalan will affect the decision of the EU on Turkey. Sweden: We do not support the death sentence on Ocalan and we are concerned by it. Holland: We are against execution in principle. However, in this case it is valid, not only for Turkey but for other countries. Germany: We are sorrowful at the decision and we hope that the Turkish government will prevent its being carried out. Austria: We know that Turkey is aware of EU sensitivity on this issue. Russia: Russia hopes that the highest principles of mankind will be considered during the legal process concerning Ocalan. /Aksam/

    [10] "DEATH SENTENCE CANNOT BE ACCEPTED"

    The European Council's Parliamentary Assembly, stated that they respected the procedure concerning the right to defence of the terrorist chief during the session at the Court of Appeals. They further added, "However, the death sentence is wholly unacceptable. It was also revealed that the European Court of Human Rights will next month discuss the application submitted by Ocalan's lawyers. Amnesty International stated that if Ocalan is executed, then it shows Turkey does not obey international law. /Cumhuriyet/

    [11] BELGIAN RADIO: "NO EXECUTION HAS BEEN CARRIED OUT IN TURKEY SINCE 1984"

    While broadcasting news of the ratification of the verdict upholding the death sentence for the head of the PKK terrorist organization, Abdullah Ocalan, the Belgian radio station RTBF said that no execution has been carried out since 1984 in Turkey. The broadcast stated that Ocalan would address himself to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and, at the same time, the judicial procedure in Turkey would continue and the approval of the Turkish Parliament would be sought. RTBF pointed out that the final word on the matter would come from President Suleyman Demirel, and also added that discussions of the probable execution were likely to negatively affect Turco-EU relations and Turkey's image abroad, the Anatolia News Agency reports.

    [12] GERMAN SUPPORT FOR EU MEMBERSHIP

    During the German Foreign Ministry's budgetary debates at the Federal Assembly, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said, "Membership status should be granted to Turkey at the Helsinki Summit and if we don't do that we will push Turkey to aloneness." The German Minister also emphasized that the change in the EU policy towards Turkey has caused an improvement in Turco-Greek relations. /Milliyet/

    [13] CEM-SOLANA MEETING

    Foreign Minister Ismail Cem met with the Supreme Representative of EU Foreign Policy and Common Defence, who is also the WEU's Secretary-General, Javier Solana, in Brussels yesterday. Following the meeting, Solana's Spokesman, Christina Gallach, briefed the press and said that Cem had been informed that the EU was disappointed by the decision of the Court of Appeals to uphold the ruling on the death sentence handed down to the head of the PKK terrorist organization, Abdullah Ocalan. Gallach stated that Solana had pointed out during the meeting that the EU saw the abolition of capital punishment as of great importance and is waiting for this to be done in all its candidate countries. Gallach remarked that Solana had signalled that the steps taken over Ocalan's sentence, whether negative or positive, would affect the Helsinki Summit in the same way. Moreover, Solana noted that he would also take Turkey's concerns over the European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) into consideration, and promised that the WEU would be open and above-board with those of its NATO Allies who are not EU members, the Anatolia News Agency reports. Afterwards, Cem attended a banquet with the Head of the EU Commission, Gunter Verheugen.

    [14] CEM IN SKOPJE AND BUCHAREST IN DECEMBER

    Foreign Minister Ismail Cem will leave for Skopje and Bucharest at the beginning of December. He is scheduled to visit Macedonia on December 1, following his tour of Europe and Scandinavia covering Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium. The Foreign Minister will inaugurate an exhibition in Skopje in which works of art from the Ottoman Empire will be displayed before proceeding to Romania to participate in the Southeastern European Countries' Cooperation Process' Foreign Ministers' meeting, the Anatolia News Agency reports.

    [15] POSITIVE SIGNALS FROM SWEDEN TO TURKEY

    Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh said that they wanted to see Turkey as a candidate country during the EU Summit in Helsinki. Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem met Lindh during his official visit to Sweden. She stated that she was now more optimistic about Turkey's EU candidacy. Following the meeting, Cem declared that Turkey was bored of delays in the announcement of its EU candidacy and said, "I have explained Turkey's position concerning the EU and Swedish officials told me of their concerns. However, they mentioned some conditions which were previously put forth. Turkey will achieve positive development either with or without the EU". Concerning the approval of Ocalan's death sentence, Lindh pointed out that Sweden did not agree with this decision. /Hurriyet/

    [16] YILMAZ: "TURKEY'S CANDIDACY WILL ACCELERATE REFORMS"

    The 'Die Welt' newspaper published in Germany devoted wide coverage to an interview with the Chairman of the Motherland Party (ANAP), Mesut Yilmaz, who said that Turkey's EU candidacy would accelerate the reforms in Turkey. He added that Turkey's EU candidacy would be achieved. Yilmaz pointed out that German Cancellor Gerhard Schroeder supported Turkey on this issue.

    Yilmaz also replied to questions regarding the sale of tanks from Germany to Turkey and said, "I believe that the Federal Government has decided to market tanks to Turkey. Other issues are related with the domestic policy of Germany and I do not want to engage in talk of them". /Aksam/

    [17] PAPANDREU IN SOUTHERN CYPRUS

    Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreu left for Southern Cyprus yesterday prior to the indirect meetings to be held between the two sides on the Island in New York on December 3. Papandreu said that they wanted to see Turkey in Europe, and added that Turkey should take steps proving that it really is ready for EU membership. Papandreu remarked that the Cyprus issue was not a matter between Turkey and Greece, but an international one. He added, "Maybe good relations can be established between Turkey and Greece without solving the Cyprus problem. However, they would not be sincere. Therefore, Turkey should take steps to solve the Cyprus question". /Hurriyet/

    [18] HANNAY TO ATTEND INDIRECT NEGOTIATIONS ON CYPRUS

    The British High-Commissioner in Lefkose, Edward Clay, said that Sir David Hannay, Britain's Special Representative to Cyprus, would attend the indirect negotiations to begin in New York on December 3. In a statement following his meeting with Greek-Cypriot Leader Glafkos Klerides, Clay noted that Hannay could also offer his proposals and ideas concerning a solution to the Cyprus problem if needed or requested by the UN Secretary-General, the Anatolia News Agency reports.

    [19] UN'S RELIGIOUS INSPECTOR DUE IN TURKEY

    Abdulfettah Amor, the United Nation's Human Rights Commission's Religious Intolerance Reporter, will visit Turkey between Dec. 1st and 9th at the Turkish Government's invitation. Amor will also visit Midyat and Mardin in addition to Ankara and Istanbul. Amor will meet with religious leaders, representatives of the religious minorities, non-governmental organizations and people who wish to meet him personally. At the end of his nine-day visit, Amor will submit his report first to the UN Human Rights Commission, based in Geneva, then, will present it to the UN's General Board in New York. The UN has resolved to demolish every kind of discrimination and intolerance against religion and beliefs, according to a declaration issued in 1981. /Milliyet/

    [20] TERRORISM ACCORD READY

    The second leg of the fourth round of Turco-Greek meetings ended in Athens yesterday. During the meeting, issues concerning the environment, regional cooperation and the fight against terrorism were discussed. It is reported that the meeting was held in a friendly, positive atmosphere. The 'Ta Nea' newspaper published in Athens said that close cooperation and an exchange of information had been achieved on many points, particularly that of terrorism, during the meeting. /Aksam/

    [21] CONFUSION IN HOLLAND

    The application by Murat Karayilan, a member of the PKK's Leadership Council for political asylum, has caused confusion in Holland. Politicians within the coalitian government parties, the Workers Party (PVDA), the liberal VVD and centre-left DGG, expressed their anxieties over the Karayilan's asylum application. Van Oven, a member of the PVDA, said that those kind of applications for asylum had a negative effect on the views of Dutchmen towards refugees. /Milliyet/

    [22] 5 PKK MEMBERS KILLED

    During military operations lasting three days in Mardin's district of Nusaybin, five more terrorists were killed. The day before yesterday, seven terrorists were killed. It was stated that operations were still underway without interruption. /Cumhuriyet/

    [23] DHKP-C MEMBERS CAPTURED

    During raids carried out by members of the Anti-Terrorism Department of Istanbul Security Office on November 18-25, three DHKP-C members, including two women, who were going to carry out terrorist attacks in Istanbul were seized. Officials said that the raids would continue. /Sabah/

    [24] NIHAT AKGUN KILLED

    The owner of the Akgun Hotel, businessman Nihat Akgun, was assassinated yesterday evening. Akgun, fatally wounded by eleven bullets from his two assailants, was rushed to the International Hospital. In spite of every medical attention, Akgun could not be saved. An investigation into the incident is underway. /Turkiye/

    [25] CASPIAN OIL WILL FLOW IN 2004

    Energy and Natural Resources Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Cumhur Ersumer said that that the Baku-Ceyhan project was envisaged to start construction on January 1, 2000, and oil would begin to flow through the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline in April 2004. Ersumer stated that the project would be implemented in four stages including basic engineering, detailed engineering, land allocation and construction. Meanwhile, the 'Vremya Po' newspaper published in Kazakhstan has described the Baku-Ceyhan agreement as an 'achievement for the US' and claimed that the Caspian countries have proven that they prefer to deal with the West. /Aksam/

    [26] PARLIAMENT LIFTS IMMUNITIES

    The Constitution-Justice Joint Commission has ruled that Motherland Party (ANAP) Istanbul Deputy Aydin Ayaydin, True Path Party (DYP) Sanliurfa Deputy Sedat Edip Bucak and Van independent deputy Mustafa Bayram be stripped of their parliamentary immunities. The Constitution-Justice Joint Commission refused to hear the files of complaint against Elazig independent deputy Mehmet Agar to allow him a chance to defend himself. The commission ruled that the suspension of parliamentary immunity was not necessary as far as another 62 case files were concerned. /All papers/

    [27] IMKB DONATES 60 TRILLION TL TO VICTIMS

    The Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) has decided to donate 60 trillion TL to help those affected by the earthquake of August 17 in the Marmara Region. The decision was approved unanimously by those attending the Extra-Ordinary General Council meeting headed by Bedii Ensari. /Aksam/

    [28] EU APPROVES DUPONT-SABANCI PARTNERSHIP

    The European Commission has approved a joint initiative concerning polyester between the Sabanci Holding Company and the US chemicals giant, Dupont. The Commission stated that neither company holds a share of more than 15 % of the polyester resin, fibres and yarn market. The Commission added that even though it was known that Dupont had a 20-30 % share of the polyester by-product market in Western Europe, there are other major producers in the area and, therefore, this did not constitute a monpoly. /Hurriyet/

    [29] "EU AID TO COME AFTER THE YEAR 2000"

    The economic advisor to the EU Commission's representative in Turkey, Oscar Benedikt, stated that EU financial aid, currently hindered for political reasons, will be handed to Turkey each year in fixed amounts until the year 2006. As part of the "EU-Turkey Business Partnership" program, a meeting was held in Istanbul during which Benedikt said that they were expecting the funding to begin to be sent to Turkey as from the year 2000. /Turkiye/

    [30] IMF LOANS WILL RISE TO $6 BILLION

    It is reported that the $4 billion of IMF loans including $500 million for the victims of the earthquake might be increased to $6 billion during the Executive Directors' Council meeting on December 22. Until this meeting takes place, dialogues with countries such as the US, Japan, Britain, France and Germany will be accelerated. Officials say that the technical delegation headed by Carlo Cottarelli, who arranged an IMF loan amounting to a 100 % increase in the Turkish quota, will act according to IMF rules on the loans. Therefore the amount of the loans to Turkey cannnot be determined until the meeting of the Executive Directors on December 22. /Aksam/

    [31] TOROS'99 MILITARY MANOEUVRES BEGIN

    One of the Turkish Armed Forces' planned exercises, Toros'99, started yesterday. The manoeuvres, organized on international waters near Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean, is being dispatched and managed by the Commander of the Cyprus Turkish Peace Forces, Lieutenant Sukru Sariisik. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus's (TRNC) security forces and Turkish battle ships and war planes are taking part in the Toros'99 manoeuvres, aimed to develop coordination and cooperation between the land, naval and air forces. The current stage of the manoueuvres is expected to come to an end on 27th November. The 'attact stage' of the manoeuvres, during which defence techniques will be tested and which will be organized in Guzelyurt, will be open to the public. /Turkiye/

    [32] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...

    [33] OCALAN BY HIKMET CETINKAYA (CUMHURIYET)

    Columnist Hikmet Cetinkaya comments on the verdict on Ocalan. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "The High Court of Appeals has upheld the ruling on the death sentence for Ocalan. Now, it is the turn of the Turkish Grand National Assembly to decide on this decision. The legal procedure is about to be concluded and the political procedure is beginning.

    I saw the grief etched on the faces of the families of those who were killed during the fight against terrorism. I witnessed the same sight at the port of Mudanya and in the course of Ocalan's trial on Imrali island.

    During the first session of the initial trial, Ocalan had said that Western imperialist states had always been behind the Kurdish uprisings in the Southeast. Abdullah Ocalan clearly stated who had supported the PKK. As Turkey is entering the new Millenium she is passing through a difficult time. The bloodshed which has continued in the Southeast for years should not be the fate of our people. I know that the number of Turkish citizens of Kurdish descent who are against terrorism and ethnic discrimination is high and that they are against the PKK threat which has continued for many years.

    As we are entering a new century, the imperialist States hope to gain from the bloodshed caused by the emergence of ethnic and religious identities in under-developed or developing countries. The incidents witnessed in the Balkans and the Caucasus are typical examples of this. Does it not help the multi-national companies and States with strong economies to provoke people living on the same lands to fight by bringing their ethnic or religious identities to the fore?

    Who were those who hoped to gain from the bloodshed in Southeastern Anatolia? Who lined up to visit Ocalan but the so-called human rights defenders and exploiters of religious emotions? The Kurdish question damaged the rights of the workers more than anyone else. The game was played according to rules.

    As the Alevite citizens of Turkish and Kurdish descent in Germany were pitted against each other and their hostilities were fanned, the bonds of brotherhood between Turkish and Kurdish Sunni Muslims were broken. In the Southeast a single religion, single sect or a single language had never been dominant. However, the winds of "discrimination" brought Kurds against Turks and Turks aginst Kurds.

    What has the PKK been doing in the Southeast since 1984? Prosecutors, judges, teachers, officicials and businessmen were gunned down in their homes. The PKK, with blood on its hands, was increasing its armed actions in the region. Then began the killing of those of Kurdish origin. The perpetrators of these crimes could not be determined. It was not known who killed whom.

    Turkey needs peace and brotherhood. Right-wing parties have based their policies on the bloodshed which has continued in the Southeast for years. Would carrying out Ocalan's sentence help democratization in Turkey? I believe that to make a hero out of him by executing him will not be to the advantage of Turkey. Turkey should await the decision of the European Court of Human Rights. Certainly, there is no obligation to wait for it. However, as we are entering a new Millenium our only expectation is the flowering of our hopes, bringing peace to the Southeast.

    The time has come to solve all problems within a democratic structure. Ocalan is not alive in anyone's conscience. Let him live alone on Imrali. The PKK was a terrorist organization and the Turkish Armed Forces ended its actions. If the Kurdish intelligentsia had come out against the PKK ten years ago, saying that the only solution lay in democracy and if Turkish and Kurdish workers had been able to unite, we would not have been lef talking about this issue today. Let us move towards peace and brotherhood!"

    [34] THE TIME FOR FINE TUNING BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Ferai Tinc writes on the upholding of the verdict on Ocalan by the High Court of Appeals. A summary of her column is as follows:

    "We have entered a critical fifteen-day period. An important decision and two vital issues are affecting our fate. In fifteen days' time, the decision on Turkey's candidacy to the EU will be announced. At present, the subject of talks taking place not only in European capitals, but also in Washington, New York and on Cyprus, is the relations between the EU and Turkey.

    Turco-Greek relations, Cyprus and human rights issues are the topics facing us open to provocations and demagoguery. Certain circles claim that Turkey has been forced to face pressure on these issues because of her insistence on becomingcloser to the European Union. However, it should be noted that when the dialogue with the EU was suspended after the Luxembourg Summit pressure on the issue did not end.

    As long as the energy strategy of the 21st century is drawn over this geographical area, as long as this region plays a vital role for Western security interests, human rights, Cyprus and Turco-Greek relations will continue to maintain their importance. Those who are proud of Turkey's taking on themantle of role model for the ex-Soviet Republics and the Middle Eastern countries should also accept that the fact she will not be left in peace on the subjects of human rights, Cyprus and Turco-Greek relations.

    European Parliament Socialist Group Chairman Sloboda stated that they were opposed to the death penalty and were not working for Ocalan. This is an important statement. We have to underline the difference between them. Ocalan has been sentenced to death by Turkish law following a fair trial. I do not have anything to say against that. But I believe the death penalty should be abolished in Turkey and this should not be done in the shadow of Ocalan. This is important for Turkey's interests.

    I want to believe that the Government who worked with the European Court of Human Rights from the start of the Ocalan trial and protected Turkey's image by completing a fair trial with no show of nerves, will take steps to abolish capital punishment during the present proceedings at the European Court of Human Rights.

    We have entered a critical fortnight, but its aftermath will be even more critical. Turkey's power to resist pressure over Cyprus and the Aegean and the possibility of being able to explain herself to third parties depends on her having a strong hand with no-one having a word to say on any subject.

    It is time to act with a cool head and not to surrender to the ebb and flow of emotions."


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