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Turkish Press Review, 99-12-13

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

13.12.99

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
  • [02] DEMIREL IN EARTHQUAKE REGION
  • [03] 2004 IS THE TARGET FOR EU MEMBERSHIP
  • [04] CLINTON CONGRAGULATED ECEVIT
  • [05] DECISIONS FROM THE SUMMIT
  • [06] EU MINISTRY TO BE FORMED
  • [07] TURKEY WILL IMPLEMENT REFORMS FOR DEMOCRACY
  • [08] GROWING ANGER OVER CONCESSIONS
  • [09] THE GOVERNMENT: 15 YEARS' WORK IN 200 DAYS
  • [10] THE TURKISH NATIONAL GRAND ASSEMBLY'S (TGNA) EUROPEAN WORK
  • [11] CAPITAL PUNISHMENT DISPUTES BETWEEN GOVERNMENT PARTNERS
  • [12] SIMITIS TO GO TO ANKARA
  • [13] THE EU WILL BE SERVICABLE FOR THE CONSUMERS
  • [14] NATIONALIST ACTION PARTY: ONE MORE LOSS
  • [15] ALAATTIN CAKICI TO COME TO TURKEY
  • [16] TURKEY'S READINESS FOR Y2K: 92%
  • [17] PREFABRICATED HOUSE PROMOTION
  • [18] STEP-BY-STEP TO BAKU-CEYHAN
  • [19] JAPANESE ASPIRE TO TUBE-CROSSING
  • [20] EARTHQUAKE AUCTION AT DIANA'S HOME
  • [21] EURO 2000 DRAWS
  • [22] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
  • [23] EUROPE ACCEPTS ITS MISTAKE BY TUFAN TURENC ( HURRIYET)
  • [24] TO BE EUROPEAN BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

  • [01] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...

    [02] DEMIREL IN EARTHQUAKE REGION

    Yesterday, President Suleyman Demirel visited the earthquake survivors in Bolu, Duzce and Adapazari and attended a handing-over ceremony of prefabricated buildings in the Karacayir district of Bolu. The President addressed the people and said, "We will not leave you to surrender to the winter conditions." /Turkiye/

    [03] 2004 IS THE TARGET FOR EU MEMBERSHIP

    Turkey is likely to reach the status of a full member of the EU a very long time before it is expected. Prime Minister Ecevit's words during the press conference that was held after the Helsinki Summit signals that Turkey's transformation from candidate to full member of the EU will not take too long. Ecevit said, "The EU thinks that conditions needed to become an an EU member will take Turkey a long time. However, I believe that we will reach these targets quicker than expected, due to the Turkish people's dynamism and devotion to democracy."

    America's world-famous news channel, CNN, declared during its news broadcast: "Turkey's full-membership of the EU will take a few years." In addition, in 'Time' magazine, it was written, "Turkey is more appealing than other candidates for the EU." The term ' a few years' indicates the year 2004 because the time-frame given by the EU for solving our problems with Greece is also that same year. Furthermore, the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline will be implemented during the year 2004. /Sabah/

    [04] CLINTON CONGRAGULATED ECEVIT

    American President Bill Clinton sent a congratulatory letter to Prime Minister Ecevit celebrating Turkey's acceptance as an EU candidate. The letter dated Dec. 10th, was brought to Ecevit by American Embassy diplomats. Clinton stated, "This is an historic step for Turkey ,the U.S and the EU which will bring us all benefits. For a long time, I have beleived that Turkey's future is in Europe." He also added that the U.S will continue to support Turkey. /Milliyet/

    [05] DECISIONS FROM THE SUMMIT

    During the EU's two-day Helsinki Summit, in addition to Turkey's EU membership proclamation, four other issues were also taken up: the EU enlargement process, defence, taxes and Chechnya. As far as enlargement is concerned, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithvania, Bulgaria, Romania and Malta will begin membership negotiations in February of the year 2000. As far defence, a united defence force of 60 thousand soldiers will be established before the year 2003. Furthermore, in the following six mounts, the tax package will be deepened on. Chechnya, the Union issued a statement condemning Russia for its Chenchen operation and called for a dialogue with Chechen leaders. /Milliyet/

    [06] EU MINISTRY TO BE FORMED

    Now that Turkey's candidacy for EU membership has been announced, the Turkish government is preparing itself to review relations with the EU. For this reason, authorities are planning to form an "EU Ministry" and Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik is the candidate Minister. Government sources told the daily `Hurriyet` that the EU Ministry will be composed of staff who have a thorough knowledge of EU issues, indeed EU itself has set this as a condition so as to be able to address current issues. When the government was formed, the establishment of an EU Ministry was forseen and Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik was planned to be assigned to carry out the task. However, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ismail Cem, was opposed to this. Now it will be essential for each Ministry to have staff with extensive knowledge of English, French and German and EU regulations. /Hurriyet/

    [07] TURKEY WILL IMPLEMENT REFORMS FOR DEMOCRACY

    Italian newspapers gave wide coverage to Turkey's EU candidacy. The left-wing 'La Repubblica' newspaper used the headline: "Turkey: we will abolish the death penalty" and argued that the ballot for the sentence passed on Ocalan, the chief of the PKK terrorist organization, to be carried out in the TGNA, will be the first test for Turkey on human rights. 'La Stampa' newspaper, under the headline "Ecevit's promise to Europe", stated that Turkey had promised to abrogate capital punishment as soon as possible. This newspaper also stated that the Italian Prime Minister, Massimo D'Alema, had evaluated Turkey's new status as an 'historic day'. According to this newspaper, D'Alema said, "Turkey will implement revolutions in human rights and democracy." 'Corriere della Sera' newspaper also wrote that Turkey will make improvements in the areas of human rights and democracy. In the Greek 'To Vima' newspaper, it was written: "Due to the Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis's successful manoeuvres, Turkey's candidacy was supported. Moreover, he is even planning to pay an official visit to Ankara early in the year 2000." /Sabah/

    [08] GROWING ANGER OVER CONCESSIONS

    Turkey's acceptance of the two articles which insist on the acceptance of the Greek thesis on the Cyprus and Aegean issues has drawn criticism. Opposition parties are becoming outspoken, voicing their worries concerning the new status of EU membership candidate. Claiming that the government is experiencing the euphoria of victory, opposition parties disclose their worries on issues such as Cyprus, the Aegean and the death sentence imposed on Abdullah Ocalan. The harshest criticism came from Mumtaz Soysal, the Advisor to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' (TRNC) President and former Minister of Foreign Affairs. In his column in the daily 'Hurriyet', Soysal wrote that this candidacy was of no worth because it was only cheating in Turkish foreign policy. /Aksam/

    [09] THE GOVERNMENT: 15 YEARS' WORK IN 200 DAYS

    The coalition government's extraordinary speed has opened the door to EU candidacy. While the coalition of three was establishing itself earlier this year, there were those who thought that they would not be successful. After 200 days, today the successful balance-sheet of the government surprises everyone. First of all, it has implemented many reforms, including the social security reforms. It reached an agreement with the IMF and was much applauded by the whole world during the OSCE Summit. It made our dreams during the past 160 years come true.

    In addition, the Banking Law was implemented, which envisages the rehabilitation and re-organization of the Turkish banks, weakened during many crises, and the Customs Law was changed. The closing of political parties was made harder and International Arbitration was accepted. The sentence for torture and gangs was increased. A fund of nearly 300 trillion TL was created to finance the restructuring of the earthquake-damaged region due to the introduction of the Military Exemption Tax. These are some of the reforms implemented by the government during the last 200 days. /Sabah/

    [10] THE TURKISH NATIONAL GRAND ASSEMBLY'S (TGNA) EUROPEAN WORK

    The TGNA will work day and night on economic, legal and social reforms as the General Council discusses the International Arbitration and Banking Laws. Turkey needs to make a series of legal and constitutional amendments in order to ensure harmonization with EU stipulations. The first step concerning preparations on this harmonization was taken by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. In addition, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security is also expected to draw up new arrangements concerning the commercial world. /Turkiye/

    [11] CAPITAL PUNISHMENT DISPUTES BETWEEN GOVERNMENT PARTNERS

    Although it has not been applied for 14 years, the right-wing of the coalition defends the keeping of the article on the capital punishment in the legislation until the implementation of Ocalan's case. Opposed to this, Premier Bulent Ecevit upholds the abolition of the death penalty. Stressing that a country applying it could not be an EU member, Ecevit said, "Nobody can accuse me of being pro-PKK since I am against capital punishment." /Cumhuriyet/

    [12] SIMITIS TO GO TO ANKARA

    Greek Premier Costas Simitis, who obtained everything he wanted at the Helsinki Summit, is coming to Turkey. It is asserted that Simitis will pay an official visit to Ankara early in the New Year. It is reported that Simitis is planning an official visit to Turkey to evaluate the new atmosphere that has occurred between the two countries. The pro-government Greek newspaper `To Vima` reported that, Simitis, who is clearly happy with developments in Helsinki, is planning to pay an official visit to Ankara as a result of the new atmosphere between the two countries. /Aksam/

    [13] THE EU WILL BE SERVICABLE FOR THE CONSUMERS

    During the EU membership process, certain arrangements aiming at protecting and briefing consumers will come up for discussion. The Monopolies Law and the Customer Protection Law were implemented during the year 1994 and 1995 but these laws were not fulfilled or some articles were not put in place. The most important issue that will be discussed concerning the EU's directives is that concerning the rearrangement of unilateral agreements for public institutions, which work under "general operation conditions". Agreements by these consumers by the public institutions, which manufacture and provide services such as electricity, water and communications, will be rearranged in favour of the consumers. /Sabah/

    [14] NATIONALIST ACTION PARTY: ONE MORE LOSS

    Sitki Turan, a deputy of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), lost his life in a traffic accident on the Balikesir-Edremit road. During the accident Turan's advisor Metin Demir also died. Not long ago, the MHP's Kutahya Deputy Kadir Gormez was also killed in a traffic accident in Ankara. /Turkiye/

    [15] ALAATTIN CAKICI TO COME TO TURKEY

    Alaattin Cakici, who was detained in France, is going to be extradited to Turkey today. A four-person team will receive Cakici from French authorities. /Turkiye/

    [16] TURKEY'S READINESS FOR Y2K: 92%

    State Planning Organization (SPO) authorities stated that from Dec 10 on, the readiness of Turkey's largest sectors' computer systems for the year 2000 has risen to 92 percent. While the health sector currently has the lowest rate of readiness, officials have drawn attention to the fact that the energy sector is among those at the bottom of the table. The fiscal and financial sectors have reached the highest rate, 99.9 %, according to the report issued by the SPO; this points to the fact that there will be no problems in tax offices, banks and other financial institutions. According to the report, Turkey's general level of preparedness for the Millennium Bug or Y2K is 92%. /Hurriyet/

    [17] PREFABRICATED HOUSE PROMOTION

    The government has been unable to persuade earthquake survivors to move into prefabricated houses. The Disaster Area Coordinator Governor, Kutluay Oktem, said that food and consumer goods will be donated to promote moving into the prefabricated houses. However, the victims do not want to give up their monthly 100 million liras rent subsidy, nor the food that they receive three times a day. Earlier Oktem reiterated that additional aids will be offered to the earthquake victims if they move into the prefabricated houses. /Hurriyet/

    [18] STEP-BY-STEP TO BAKU-CEYHAN

    This week, an important step will be taken in the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline scheme: an agreement between Azerbaijan and Georgia is expected to be signed during this week. With this, the inter-governmental agreements will be completed. The related countries' Parliaments, including that of Turkey, will confirm the agreements by the end of January and then the construction work will be started. /Turkiye/

    [19] JAPANESE ASPIRE TO TUBE-CROSSING

    Three Japanese companies have aspired to the construction of a tube-crossing, its engineering and consultancy services in Istanbul, one of the world's biggest cities. It is expected to take at least a month for the evaluation of the bids to be completed and the firm to be chosen. /Turkiye/

    [20] EARTHQUAKE AUCTION AT DIANA'S HOME

    Big names in Turkish and English high-society came together in aid of the earthquake survivors the night before yesterday. A huge auction attended by 220 guests was held in Princess Diana's family's historic house, Spencer House in London. Many painters, collectors and designers, who live in London donated items for the auction; 44 pieces of work were sold and 125 million TL was collected. The auction was organized by the aid organization 'Fayhatti'. /Sabah/

    [21] EURO 2000 DRAWS

    Lots for the Euro 2000 Soccer Championship's final grouping were drawn in Brussels. The Turkish team has been placed in Group B with Belgium, Sweden and Italy. Turkey will play its first match in Holland against Italy on Jan. 11th. /Milliyet/

    [22] FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...

    [23] EUROPE ACCEPTS ITS MISTAKE BY TUFAN TURENC ( HURRIYET)

    Columnist Tufan Turenc comments on the confirmation of Turkey's candidacy at the Helsinki Summit. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "The confirmation of Turkey's candidacy status at the Helsinki Summit and the enthusiastic welcoming of Prime Minister Ecevit with two Turkish Ministers should not lead us to inaction. This has sealed Turkey's future and led it to the point of no return. However, this does not mean that everything is over. This is only the first step on the long, narrow path full of obstacles and difficulties as decribed by the late President, Turgut Ozal, who made the first application for membership in 1987.

    The long road before us will be full of obstacles tougher than those we have already surmounted. The ability to shorten this path is in our own hands. If we want to reach our goal sooner, to prove our determination in reaching this target we have to pass along this road as quickly as possible. We have the power and experience to succeed in this. We should programme ourselves and get rid of outmoded ideas.

    First of all, we have to be able to live in an atmosphere of political stability. The most important points we have to implement are the elimination of the shortcomings in our democracy, and the catching-up with the norms of the West as far as human rights are concerned. Turkey should become a country in which the legal order works perfectly. Justice has to work in a fair and timely fashion. All things disrupting our social life should be eliminated. The outdated mentality existing within the administration should be radically altered, the quality of education should be elevated and future generations should be raised more informed and better-equipped to deal with our likely problems.

    In the economy, the State should become more powerful, but be diminished in size. Income distribution should be fair, inflation should stop being a problem. The State system should be arranged in such a way as to not allow corruption. Entrepreneurs should be supported.

    This list can go on and on. However, Turks are able to overcome all difficulties. When addressing journalists from all over the world, the Prime Minister said that Turkey would reach the target set sooner than the date set because he was relying on the detemination and dynamism of Turkish society. What Ecevit is envisaging is not a dream. All the world will see that we will achieve this goal. We have to analyze the reasons why countries which rejected our membership two years ago are welcoming it with such enthusiasm. "

    [24] TO BE EUROPEAN BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Sami Kohen comments on Turkey's new status. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "The most striking point to be remembered from the final Summit of the century, is the historic expansion and decision taken as defined by the Finnish Prime Minister. With these decisions, the EU enlarged itself to cover an are from Malta to Lithuania, Slovenia to Turkey, a wide geographic region. It is of great importance for Turkey to join to this Union, which may become a new super-power in the next century, at the very last minute.

    Candidacy status is most certainly a significant milestone on a long and winding path. However, we have before us a difficult hill to climb. At the stage where we have gained some advantages, there remain difficulties and obstacles we have to work hard to overcome. The advantages can be cited thus:

    First, Turkey has taken one step on the ladder of the EU and is not one of those excluded. Secondly, this would encourage people in Turkey, from the bureaucrats to the masses, to be truly European, to share its values, and attain its standards. In addition to these, there will certain financial gains as financial assistance, which should have been given to Turkey before, can now be delivered.

    Naturally, there are some difficulties and inconveniences which the new status will bring. Turkey has to comply with the rules and stipulations of the EU. This requires a change in old policies, certain changes and customs. Certainly, there will be some who will see this as interfering in our national sovereignty and policies. Serious measures have to be taken concerning the areas of democracy and human rights which may cause disputes.

    Ankara has to make changes to her foreign policy and has to display a co-operative approach, especially on the issues of Cyprus and the Aegean. Even though the final communique is not a legal document, it brings new obligations to Turkey.

    Is Turkey ready to evaluate her domestic and foreign problems under a totally different light? How determined is she to introduce radical new strategies and solutions? If Turkey wants to enter the 21st century as a prosperous country integrated with the Western World and reaching its standards, she will accomplish what is required for this purpose. Otherwise, EU candidacy will be nothing more than just a name on our lapel, a worthless prize."


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