|Monday, 12 April 2021|
Turkish Press Review, 99-12-23
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From: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.tr>
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 DEMIREL: "REFORM IS NECESSARY"President Suleyman Demirel, during his traditional end-of-year press conference, will proclaim that "the process for Turkey's full membership of the EU should be completed in four or five years. The timetable for membership of the EU not be determined by the EU, but by Turkey." Demirel will begin the meeting on 25th December by summarizing the work undertaken since the earthquakes on 17th August and 12th November. Demirel will mainly focus on EU membership and will press Turkey to take steps in such a way as to lead it to become a member of the EU in four or five years. Demirel will list the preconditions for reaching this goal as follows: Turkey should comply in with the European law. Freedom of thought, expression and belief is of the basis. The organization in every field concerning the full membership to the EU should be initiated rapidly and finished completely. He reiterated that the timetable for full membership should not be determined by the EU, but by Turkey. /Milliyet/
 LETTER OF THANKS TO PRESIDENT DEMIRELCroatia's Deputy President and the Speaker of the Parliament, Vlatko Pavletic, sent a letter of thanks to Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, who attended the late Croatian President Dr. Franjo Tudjman's burial service. In his letter, Pavletic thanked President Demirel for visiting Zagrep following the death of Dr. Franjo Tudjman on behalf of himself, the Croatian people and the Republic of Croatia's government. /Turkiye/
 GOVERNMENT SEIZES FIVE BANKSThe Treasury announced in a statement that the Central Bank's Savings Deposit Insurance Fund seized all shares and management at small- to medium-sized private lenders Esbank, Yasarbank, Egebank, Yurtbank and Sumerbank. The latter is Turkey's first and only privatized bank so far. "In a step parallel with changes in banking legislation, measures are being taken to eliminate the problems in the financial structures of these banks" the Treasury statement said. The government immediately appointed new managers and board members for all five banks. The administrators were appointed by State Minister Responsible for the Economy Recep Onal upon nomination by the Central Bank.
In a separate decision, the Cabinet cancelled banking licences for small-sized investment bank, Birlesik Yatirim Bankasi A.S. The Treasury said the takeovers had been due to the weak financials of the five banks, with total assets worth TL 1.8 quadrillion. All five banks had long been under surveillance for failing to fulfill financial obligations. Government and economic officials gave assurances that the banks would continue their normal activities. Reporters said yesterday afternoon that there were not any 'extraordinary situations at the Ankara branches of the five banks". Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said that the banks would continue their operations without interruption and under government management. "No deposit-holder should worry" he told reporters. "The decision was made to rehabilitate the five banks". Ecevit stated that the government would approriate all necessary financing for the takeovers. /Turkish Daily News/
 OZINCE: "POSITIVE DECISION"The Chairman of the Turkish Banking Association, Ersin Ozince, has considered the take-over of five banks by Saving Deposit Fund and stated that he found the decision "very positive". Ozince said, "Our system is being adapted to international norms rapidly. These sorts of moves show the goverment's determination to carry out judicial acts in order to increase the health of the system. The conditions that developed might bring these sorts of initiatives to the fore with the increase of rivalry in the banking sector. The Fund's resources are supported by the recent legal changes. To sum up, I find this decision very positive." /Milliyet/
 'PRIMARY DEALER' IN THE LETTER OF INTENTThe 'primary dealer', which is the instrument for the Treasury's new domestic borrowing, was written into the letter of intent that was sent to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It was stated that this new practice will contribute to the decrease in interest rates and will start in April of the year 2000. Some banks chosen by the Treasury are announcing new purchase and sale prices according to the quotation system for the resale of and shares. /Sabah/
 VERHEUGEN: "MEMBERSHIP TALKS MAY START SOON"Gunter Verheugen, responsible for enlargement for the EU, stated that talks on Turkey's full membership in the Union may start soon. Talking to German newspaper Berliner Zeitung, Verheugen said that the green light given to Turkey at the Helsinki Summit has broken down the long-standing barrier preventing the implementation of planned reforms in Turkey and will therefore set the stage for a rapid implementation of reform. "As Turkey rightly argues, some circles have so far underestimated Turkey's capacity to launch reforms" Verheugen said, pointing out that the realization of this capability will lead the EU to begin membership talks with Turkey very soon.
He added that Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's letter to German Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder, which confirmed that the Copenhagen criteria laid out for membership would be implemented by Turkey, was another positive development. /All papers/
 DISRUPTION IN ANKARA PRISONA group of inmates headed by organized crime gang leaders Ahmet Aramaz's nephew, Bulent Aramaz, has staged a protest in an Ankara prison, the Anatolia News Agency reports. Anatolia said that the protest began when some visitors were not allowed into the prison by prison officials. The police have increased security measures in and around the prison.
 US SAYS OCALAN IS NO MANDELAThe US has stated that the head of the PKK terrorist organization, Abdullah Ocalan, currently imprisoned in Turkey and facing the death penalty, cannot be compared to South African President Nelson Mandela. The comment came during a press conference on Tuesday from US State Department Deputy Spokesman James Foley in his answer to be a provocative question from a foreign journalist who said, "Last Friday, after the G-8 meetings, someone asked the US Secretary of State to compare Ocalan and former South African President Mandela. She answered the question in French, but her answer does not make it clear whether or not she would approve of this terrorist someday becoming a president".Foley responded in French and said, "As far as Ocalan is concerned, we have made it crystal clear all along that we believe him to be a terrorist at the head of a terrorist organization. There is no comparison there". /Turkish Daily News/
 GOKALP RECEIVES INDIAN AMBASSADORMinister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs Husnu Yusuf Gokalp received the Indian Ambassador to Ankara, M.Kumaran Bhadrakumar, yesterday. Bhadrakumar gave an invitation from the Indian Agriculture Minister to Minister Gokalp. Gokalp stated that he would probably visit India in February 2000 and said he hoped that an agricultural cooperation agreement would be signed between Turkey and India during his visit. Gokalp remarked that agriculture had an important place in the Indian economy and added that Turkey attached great significance to the development of cooperation and trade between the two countries in every area. Gokalp pointed out that the annual trade volume between Turkey and India stood at $350 million, including Turkish exports of $73 million, and stated that this figure needed to be increased by encouraging reciprocal visits of representatives from the public and private sectors in both countries. Bhadrakumar said for his part that both countries held common values such as secularism, democracy and independence and added that bilateral relations should be further developed, the Anatolia News Agency reports.
 ECEVIT RECEIVES MINISTER BAKUR GULUAPrime Minister Bulent Ecevit received Georgian Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture and Food Minister Bakur Gulua yesterday. Gulua has arrived in Turkey to attend the Turco-Georgian Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meeting as the guest of State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Devlet Bahceli. During the meeting between Ecevit and Gulua, in addition to the JEC meeting, the Chechen issue was also discussed, the Anatolia News Agency reports.
 THREE COUNCILS FOR HUMAN RIGHTSThe government has speeded up its work on human rights following Turkey's EU candidacy. For years, governments have undertaken their work in this area through the Human Rights Supreme Coordination Council. However, with a new law, three new institutions will be formed: the Human Rights Council, the Human Rights Supreme Board and the Human Rights Advisory Board. Accordingly, their duties are as follows:
The Human Rights Council: To be in continuous contacts with human rights organizations and to ensure coordination between them.
The Human Rights Supreme Board: To work on administrative and legal regulations to protect and improve human rights.
The Human Rights Advisory Board: To present views on human rights to the Supreme Court. The Board will be formed mostly of representatives of non-governmental organizations. /Cumhuriyet/
 KECECILER: 120 CUSTOMS OFFICES WERE CLOSEDYesterday, in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the budgets for the Directorate General of Foundations, the Directorate General of Customs, the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the Council of State were discussed and accepted. In his speech during the debates, State Minister Mehmet Kececiler stated that they had closed 120 Customs Houses of 414 and, as a result, 1,700 trillion TL had been saved. Kececiler stressed that during the closing-down process, they hadn't acted politically; instead, all those Customs posts with less than three transactions daily were abolished. /Hurriyet/
 KIVRIKOGLU: OUR FIGHT AGAINST REACTIONARIES WILL CONTINUEChief of General Staff General Huseyin Kivrikoglu issued a statement to commemorate the murder of a Republican martyr Kubilay. In his declaration, Kivrikoglu revealed the Turkish Armed Forces' understanding of secularism: " Secularism is to make the sovereignty of the mind, science and conscience dominant and to make it live. It is rationalism and modernism." The statement also said that no one should have any doubt that the Turkish Armed Forces would continue to fight to the end against reactionaries in loyalty to Ataturk and his principles. /Hurriyet/
 ISMET INONU COMMEMORATEDIsmet Inonu was commemorated at a meeting to mark the 26th anniversary of his demise. Prof. Dr. Erdal Inonu gave a presentation at the conference held at Istanbul Cultural University. During his speech, Inonu emphasized that his father contributed to two major undertakings: a democratic multi-party regime, and Rural Institutions. He also said that democracy has not matured yet but is following the path to maturity. /Cumhuriyet/
 COOPERATION BETWEEN TURKISH AND UKRAINIAN UNIVERSITIESA cooperation agreement has been signed between Karaelmas University in Zonguldak (ZKU), Turkey, and the Sumy State University in the Ukraine, the Anatolia News Agency reports. ZKU Rector Prof.Ramazan Ozen issued a written statement yesterday and said that the objective of the agreement was to generate mutual cooperation and an exchange of academic staff between the two universities in order to boost educational and research developments. Prof.Ozen remarked that the agreement would be valid for five years.
 STAND-BY AGREEMENT CONFIRMEDThe Executive Directors' Council of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved financial assistance, worth nearly $4 billion to Turkey, over a period of three years. The Executive Directors' Council held a meeting yesterday and accepted the letter of intent presented by Turkey as part of the stand-by agreement. The Council agreed to provide $4 billion in financial assistance to Turkey and also stated that it supported Turkey's economic policy, the Anatolia News Agency reports.
 TURCO-RUSSIAN RELATIONSThe General Parliamentary Assembly of the Russian Federation ratified three pacts which had previously been signed between Turkey and Russia and approved by the Lower House of the Russian Parliament, the Duma. The agreements include the 'Blue Stream' Tax Protocol concerning the construction of the natural gas pipeline, and arrangements to prevent double taxation between Turkey and Russia and encourage and protect investments in both countries. These three documents will now be presented to the Russian Head of State, Boris Yeltsin, for approval, the Anatolia News Agency reports.
 BIDDING FOR AKKUYU POWER STATIONThe Westinghouse Mitsubishi Consortium, which is bidding for the construction of Akkuyu nuclear power-station, offered the OHI 3-4-type power-station built at Kobe as an example of its work. It was stated that another example of the OHI 3-4-type power-station can be seen in California, situated on the San Andreas fault-line. Moreover, it was declared that the reactor in Kobe had not been damaaged by the strong tremors this year. Following the Turkish Electricity Joint Stock Company's (TEAS) general inspection and the Spanish Kaeri company's technical evaluation, the final stage in the consideration of the three proposals for Akkuyu power-station has been reached. /Milliyet/
 MOSCOVICI: "THE EUROPEAN UNION IS NOT A CHRISTIAN CLUB"French European Affairs Minister, Pierre Moscovici, said that Turkey's candidacy to the EU is not an injustice to either history or geography. Mascovici delived a speech during the EU Assembly's Foreign Affairs' Commission meeting concerning the decisions that were taken during the Helsinki Summit and said, "The European Council is not a Christian Club. Whatever the lawfulness of the discussions concerning Turkey's EU candidacy, let us avoid the impression that we reject history's and European civilization's Muslim section." /Milliyet/
 GENERAL BASER TO VISIT TEL AVIVRegular military consultations between Turkey and Israel will start next week in Tel Aviv. Officials from the General Staff, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will attend the talks. The Turkish part of the meetings will be chaired by Deputy Chief of General Staff, General Edip Baser; the Israeli delegation will be headed by the Defence Undersecretary. During the meetings, the issues of security and military recruitment will be discussed. In addition, the Israeli delegation is expected to deal with internal matters concerning those Israeli firms that are on the short list for these defence-related bids. These bids are as follows: advance aircraft, attack helicopters, unmanned aircraft and tank modernization. /Milliyet/
 HASAN HEYBETLI TO BE EXTRADITED TO TURKEYHasan Heybetli, who injured two persons during a fight caused by him and then escaped to the Island of Kos where he was detained by Greek police due to entering the country without a passport, will be brought to Turkey this evening on Turkish Airline's Athens-Istanbul plane. Heybetli will be seen onto the plane by officials from Interpol and will be handed-over to Turkish Interpol officials. /Sabah/
 NEW STEP IN TURCO-GREEK FRIENDSHIPUniversities are also feeling the breeze of Turco-Greek friendship. Recently, the Department of Turkish Language and Civilization was opened at Athens University. The Rector of Athens University, Prof. Dr. K. Dimopoulos, stated that 60% of the Greek nation is of Turkish origin and that such an initiative will ensure that friendship between the two countries further develops. The Rector of Istanbul University, Prof. Dr. Kemal Alemdaroglu, went to Athens as the Dimopoulos' guest and said that the problems between the two countries would be solved by the universities. /Sabah/
 TURKISH CULTURAL FESTIVAL IN NEW YORKThe 19th traditional "Turkish Walk" and "Turkish Week" will be celebrated this year as part of "New York's Turkish Cultural Festival" over a period of one month between two of our national festivals. The Turkish Cultural Festival, which will be held for the first time this year, will come to an end with the "Turkish Walk" that will be organized on 20th May in New York. Before that, events will be set in place between 23rd April and 19th May. The Chairman of the Federation of Turco-American Associations (TADF), Egemen Bagis, and a delegation with him stated that their meetings with President Demirel, many Ministers and bureaucrats in Turkey had been very promising and that all the officials whom they met had vowed their support for the Turkish Cultural Festival in New York. /Sabah/
 ENERGY COOPERATION IN THE MIDDLE EASTAn energy system network planned to be established between Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Syria, will be taken over in the year 2002. Turkey, Jordan and Egypt have completed their part of the network infrastructure as promised and the Islamic Development Bank will finance the part still lacking in the Middle East which is on Syria's side. /Sabah/
 WEAPON BARGAINING WITH GERMANYGerman Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's security and foreign policy advisor, Michael Steiner, explained the draft drawn up by the coalition parties concerning the sale of weapons, maintaining, "Turkey's present situation is not suitable for the export of armaments. Her new policies are mostly based on human rights and new decisions concerning sale of weaponry will be independent from the U.S.A.'s disarmament policy and in compliance with that of the members of the European Union. Some important developments have occurred since the Helsinki Summit". A representative of the Greens, Claudia Roth, has said, "After the Helsinki Summit, issues such as the abolition of the death sentence in Turkey and the publication of works by minorities in their own languages has come to the fore." /Sabah/
 ISRAEL MAY OFFER WATER FROM GOLAN HEIGHTSIn an article that was published in one of Israel's leading newspapers, 'The Jerusalem Post', it was stated that the peace process between Israel and Syria constitutes a sensitive point in terms of relations between Israel and Turkey. It was further declared that the dispute between Turkey and Israel over water had been going on for many years and that during the latest peace talks between Israel and Syria, which had stopped in 1996, the issue of water was discussed. It was claimed that Turkey, worried that Israel might draw up a treaty with Syria concerning water for its own profit, had sent a delegation to Jerusalem. The newspaper further claimed that Syria had proposed that Israel hand over water from the Golan Heights and that Turkey wanted a guarantee from Israel that it would only give a certain amount of water to Syria. /Sabah/
 PKK MEMBER KILLED IN RUSSIAA member of the PKK terrorist organization, Mahir Velat, who was known to be in Russia, has been killed in Iran. Mahir Velat claimed not to have helped the head of the PKK terrorist organization, Abdullah Ocalan, during the latter's stay in Russia earlier this year. Ocalan fled from Syria to Russia before he was finally captured by Turkish officials. /Aksam/
 AGRICULTURAL REFORMSIn order to achieve the agricultural reforms envisaged as part of the stand-by agreement between Turkey and the IMF, the Council of Ministers established the 'Agricultural Restructuring and Support Council" yesterday. During the meetings with both the IMF and the World Bank, officials from these two institutions said that reforms should be undertaken in the agricultural sector and proposed that the system of subsidization in this sector should be changed. /Aksam/
 ANNUAL STRATEGICAL MEETINGS TO START ON DECEMBER 27The annual strategical meetings between Turkey and Israel will start on December 27 in Tel Aviv, the Anatolia News Agency reports. Turkey will participate in the meetings with a 30-member delegation including officials from the General Staff, Defence and Foreign Ministries. The military and political issues between Turkey and Israel, cooperation against terrorism and the results of the OSCE Summit in Istanbul will be discussed in the meetings.
 STOCK EXCHANGE'S SUPPORTSupport has come from the Stock Exchange to the Government's taking-over of five banks. Following the news, over the operation the Index declined a little; however, expectations were raised by the arrangements for the financial system and caused new records. Yesterday, the IMKB-100 National Index closed at the end of the second session at 13,584 points and the shares' daily profit remained at 0.77%. Experts stated that the markets have seen how the government is determined to implement its commitments to the IMF, and the bank operation would not cause any negative effect to the markets. /Cumhuriyet/
 INTERNATIONAL IHLAS TRADE CENTRE IN BUDAPESTThe Ihlas International Construction and Trade Company has set up the 'International Ihlas Trade Centre' in Budapest, Hungary. The Centre aims to carry Turkish export products to new markets and will begin to operate at the end of the year 2000. /Turkiye/
 TURKISH LENDER TEB RAISES $45 MILLION SYNDICATED LOANTurkey's medium-sized lender Turk Ekonomi Bankasi (TEB) has raised a $45 million syndicate loan from international markets at an annual interest rate of LIBOR (London Interbank Offering Rate) plus a spread of 75 basis points, the bank announced on Wednesday. The bank said in a statement that an agreement for the one-year loan had been signed to the finance foreign trade sector. It said that 15 international banks -led by Kai Ichi Kangyo Bank, Natexis Banque and National Westminster Bank- had signed the deal. /Turkish Daily News/
 NORWAY ADDS TURKEY TO OIL FUND LISTNorway said yesterday it would add Turkey to the list of markets eligible for investments from its vast oil and gas wealth. The Finance Ministry have no reason for the decision, but the announcement followed an about-turn by the Norwegian government on Monday when it approved the first sale of anti-ship missiles to Turkey since 1995. /Turkish Daily News/
 FORD'S TURKISH UNIT NAMES GENERAL MANAGERFord-Otosan, a joint venture between Ford Motor Co. and Turkish car maker Otosan, has named its first deputy general manager, Mark Schulz, as its new general manager, effective January 1, 2000, the company announced yesterday. /Turkish Daily News/
 NEW BILL ENDORSES BOT PLAN FOR POWER DEALSA new piece of legislation took effect on Wednesday allowing the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model in energy sector contracts. The bill, published in the Official Gazette following President Suleyman Demirel's ratification, adds energy production, distribution and trade business into existing BOT legislation. /Turkish Daily News/
 FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS
 OPTIMISTIC EXPECTATIONS FOR ECONOMY BY HASAN CEMAL (MILLIYET)Columnist Hasan Cemal comments on the take-over of five near-bankrupt banks by the Government. A summary of his column is as follows:
"The Government has taken a significant step in the right direction. The confiscation of five banks by the Government reveals its political determination and seriousness in towing the economy along the right path. This decision means that the banking system, the financial system, is needs to be remedied in a lasting manner. The button has been pushed to separate the sound apples from the rotten ones which are playing with the rate of interest, leading to unfair competition, and as a result, causing a deterioration in the system. This has also been a signal to other banks. They either have to strengthen themselves or share the same fate.
With the Banking Law and the amendments to that Law, the reformist initiative aimed to elevate the standards of the Turkish banking system to international norms and this has been carried out with the take-over of five banks. Some time ago, Turkey's membership to OECD was a privilege granted in line with its credit ratings. At present, the compliance of the banking system with the international system is required.
The decision concerning the five banks is the final turning-point on the approval of the stand-by agreement with the IMF...In the past, a different path was followed in negotiations with the IMF. Ankara would give promises, and when they were approved in Washington, the agreement was declared. This time Ankara not only gave promises but also pushed the button in carrying them out. This shows her resolve.
These are positive developments. In all these years, finally a Government comprised of three parties has come onto the stage and grasped the monster of inflation by its throat. Moreover, it has been able to create an expectation in the general public that inflation can be beaten.
The Government has burnt its bridges. If it tries to turn back, it will do the greatest damage to the country, in addition to ending their political lives. However, this possibility does not seem close. Turkish Central Bank Governor Gazi Ercel said that Turkey had taken an important step in changng to the market economy on 24 January 1980. He added that the Turkish economy is now encompassing the global economy from the market economy. He went on to say that as the workto defeat inflation was in progress the public's standard of living would rise. Therefore, the quality of life has to be elevated, and this in turn means taking steps towards democratization and the rule of law.
The Turkish nation will surmount all difficulties before it."
 CYPRUS: DIFFERENT WINDS BY ILTER TURKMEN (HURRIYET)Former Ambassador Ilter Turkmen comments on the Cyprus question. A summary of his column is as follows:
"In a statement on his return from New York by the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Rauf Denktas, a cautious optimism was felt. He said that the presence of a separate administration in Northern Cyprus was now better understood and the confederation idea was gaining more ground with every passing day.
There were two important developments in New York: the continuation on of proximity talks without interruption and the decision to meet in Geneva. The plan would be the same in Geneva and the two sides would not come together. The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, will continue to shuttle between Denktas and Klerides. He should try to get a more concrete plan for talks accepted.
The second important development in New York was seen in the Security Council. The UN Peace Force's term of duty on Cyprus was expected to be lengthened extended by a further six months. Since 1964, these decisions note that this term of duty is extended after requesting the approval of the Cyprus Govenment, which in fact, represented the Greek-Cypriots. However, this time the TRNC was asked for another agreement so that the UN Peace Force could fulfil its duty in the north of the Island. The Secretary-General accepted the principle of drawing-up an agreement with the 'de facto' administration in the North in an addendum to the report he presented to the Security Council.
However, the sovereignty of the TRNC and the confederation plan were not officially accepted abroad. A realistic solution should be based on two separate and absolute sovereign states, sound security guarantees and the equal sharing of the recognition of sovereignty abroad. This would not close the door to an independent Turkish State entering the EU. Today it is not considered strange for Scotland to secede from the UK and be admitted to the EU. Unfortunately, it is necessary to get married before a divorce."
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