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x0x Turkish news for week ending 31 March 2002

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      x0x Turkish news for week ending 31 March 2002

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      A service of the TURKISH RADIO HOUR, producer of:

      Saturdays at 5:00 P.M.
      KUSF FM 90.3, San Francisco

      Also tune to

      Tuesdays at 10:00 P.M.

      Ahmet Toprak edited today's news. Your host today is Fuad Tokad.

      For a subscription to the Internet edition of this news,
      send a blank email to:


      Edited for the Turkish Radio Hour by Mathilde Agoustari

      * Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer supported on Wednesday a proposal
      to decrease the term of Turkey's presidents from seven years to five,
      reported the daily Turkiye.
      However, he expressed opposition to a proposal that would allow
      presidents to serve two consecutive terms, saying that such an arrangement
      would "violate neutrality."
      In addition, regarding the view that certain bills should be issued
      without the president's approval, Mr. Sezer said he opposed it.

      * Turkey's prime minister Mr. Bulent Ecevit attended the NATO Candidate
      Countries Heads of State and Government Summit in Bucharest, Romania this
      Mr. Ecevit stated in his speech that the European Security and Defense
      Policy could not be an alternative to NATO, reported the daily Hurriyet.
      Turkey is in favor of including Romania and Bulgaria in NATO's
      enlargement, Mr. Ecevit added.
      He also met with the Assistant Secretary of State Mr. Richard Armitage
      and told reporters that Turkey was opposed to a military operation against
      Iraq and instead favored the problem being solved at the United Nations

      * On Monday, the True Path Party leader Ms. Tansu Ciller attended a
      conference entitled The Turkish Economy After the September 11 Attacks.
      At the conference , Ms. Ciller said that Iraq's territorial integrity was
      important for Turkey, reported the daily Turkiye.
      On the other hand, she added that Turkey has little interest in seeing
      Iraq's current regime stay in power. With this in mind, she thinks that
      Turkey should get ready for an operation.

      * Speaking to CNN on Sunday, former CIA Director Mr. James Woolsey said
      that Turkey's support would be vitally important for any military
      operation against Iraq, reported the Hurriyet.
      Saying that the United States would not need the support of any country
      besides Turkey for such an operation, he added that to get this support,
      the United States needs to have serious consultations with Turkey.
      In the same program, Mr. Woolsey also asserted that Iraq had connections
      that lay behind last September's attacks on the United States.

      * Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus president Mr. Rauf Denktash harshly
      criticized European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Mr. Gunther
      Verheugen's on Monday regarding his recent statement that no one could
      prevent Cyprus' full European Union membership, reported the daily
      "We are asking for a partnership under conditions of equality", Mr.
      Denktas said. He met again with Greek Cypriot leader Mr. Glafcos Clerides
      on Tuesday as part of the direct talks, which began on January to find a
      settlement to the Cyprus issue.
      The Hurriyet reported that Mr. Denktas also said on Tuesday that the
      model exemplified by the Balkan states of Serbia and Montenegro could work
      in Cyprus. "Montenegro and Serbia's relationship is close to what we
      want", he added, "recognizing each other while still having a unifying
      effect". But one spokesman for the Cypriot Greek administration rejected
      this model on the grounds that it lay outside the guidelines set down by
      the United Nations.
      On Thursday, United Nation's Special Envoy for Cyprus Mr. Alvaro de Soto
      briefed Turkish officials about the process of the direct talks, reports
      the Cumhuriyet.
      Mr. de Soto met with Turkish foreign affairs minister Mr. Ismail Cem and
      undersecretary Mr. Ugur Ziyal and remarked that he believed a permanent
      solution would absolutely be reached on the island. He added that the
      island's two leaders had made significant progress.

      * The Turkish parliament passed the Borrowing Law this week. The law is
      one of the pre-conditions for the International Monetary Fund to grant 1.1
      billion dollars in additional loans to Turkey in April.
      International Monetary Fund foreign felations director Mr. Tom Dawson
      stated on Thursday that Turkey has made a good start in implementing its
      new economic program, reported the Cumhuriyet.
      On the other hand, Turkish Businessmen and Industrialists Association
      president, Mr Turncay Ozilhan said that despite some improvements,
      Turkey's economy was still on a knife's edge, reported the Star. The
      business leader added that in such a situation, just one mistake could put
      Turkey in danger of becoming another Argentina.

      * To help Turkey's entry into the European Union, the Turkish parliament
      passed several other laws.
      Under the new laws, the banning of political parties was made more
      difficult. Instead of immediate closure, the courts can now cut off their
      state funding as a first step.
      Also, criminal suspects will have greater access to defense lawyers,
      while police and security services who are found to have tortured suspects
      will be held financially liable for some of the damages.
      Other laws passed will ease restrictions on freedom of speech, but
      Kurdish and human rights campaigners claim the measures are inadequate.
      There is no change to the ban on broadcasting and education in Kurdish, a
      key demand of the European Union.
      The death penalty also remains in force until further decisions are

      * Speaking at an East-West Institute meeting organized by the Eurasia
      Strategy Group last week, Turkey's foreign affairs minister Mr. Ismail Cem
      said that Turkey had two goals:
      - to obtain European Union membership and,
      - to become a center in Eurasia, reported the Hurriyet.
      Mr. Cem also said, "I believe that as long as Turkey has good relations
      with the European Union, this will positively affect Turkey's relations
      with the Balkans and Eurasia."
      He added that while Turkey maintains good relations with the Middle East
      and Eurasia, Turkey's image in the European Union would improve.

      * Greece and Turkey signed a historic gas pipeline deal on Thursday. Once
      the pipeline is built, Turkey will supply Greece with five hundred
      thousand cubic meters of natural gas a day.
      Two hundred kilometers of the pipeline will be within Turkey and
      eighty-five kilometers on Greek soil. The pipeline has symbolic
      importance-a physical link bringing the two countries together.
      The pipeline may also help Turkey in becoming a regional energy hub
      drawing oil and gas from central Asia and distributing it to Europe and
      other areas.

      * Speaking at the Forum Istanbul conference on Wednesday Prime Minister
      Mr. Bulent Ecevit called on the international community to bring an end to
      the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
      The forum theme's is "Marching Towards 2003."
      Mr. Ecevit also said that Turkey was keeping in constant contact with
      both sides in order to bring them together.
      In addition, Mr. Ecevit spoke about the government's efforts to bring
      about an economic recovery and emphasized that the tripartite government
      coalition was not acting in a "politics as usual" manner.
      Pointing back a few years to the economic crises in Asia and Russia,
      Turkey's devastating earthquakes and last September's terrorist attacks,
      Mr. Ecevit stated that the Turkish government had steadfastly continued to
      pursue its policies in the face of these events and that finally, it had
      begun to get positive results.
      Mr. Ecevit also commented on the fact that inflation and interest rates
      had begun to fall while the value of the Turkish lira and export revenue
      had increased.


      * Anatolian News Agency reports that Turkey's culture minister Mr.
      Istemihan Talay left early on Friday for Belgium to attend opening of
      painting exhibition of Professor Dr. Ergin Inan in Brussels.

      * Anatolian News Agency says that a painting which is believed to be by
      famous Spanish artist Salvador Dali was found in Aksaray in central Turkey
      on Saturday.

      * AA A total of 294,596 tourists visited the sunny Mediterranean province
      of Antalya since the beginning of this year, Antalya Governor Ertugrul
      Dokuzoglu announced on Monday, Anatolian Agency says.
      Last year a total 4.1 million people visited Antalya, making the most
      sought after destination in Turkey

      * Fourth World Turkish Businessmen Convention will be held in Istanbul
      between April 25-27 by World Turkish Businessmen's Foundation and Turkish
      Foreign Trade Foundation (TDV) with the cooperation of Foreign Ministry
      and Foreign Trade Undersecretariat

      * The 21st Istanbul film Festival will take place between 13 through 28
      In this year's competition part of the Festival twelve films will be
      competing in the category of "art and artist".
      Some of the other competition and noncompetition categories are:

      - Arts and the Film
      - Film Looks at Film
      - Film in Literature
      - Erotic Stories IV
      - Nazim Hikmet Is 100 Years Old
      - Music in the Films
      - Remembering the Masters
      - The Young Stars of the World Film
      - From the World Festivals
      - The Mirror of Our Age: Human Rights
      - Turkish Film 2001-2002

      * Ms. Esmeray, one of the few black singers of Turkey, has passed away
      this week. Ms. Esmeray was suffering from cancer of the brain.
      Ms. Esmeray was 52 years old.
      There was a ceremony in her honor in the AKM Great Hall attended by her
      colleagues in the art world.
      Her burial services took place in Istanbul's Levent mosque. Civilians
      and Turkish military personnel carried her coffin to the hearse.
      The chief of staff all the Turkish armed forces general Huseyin
      Kivrikoglu were among the people who sent flowers to her funeral.

      * The Fourth International Theater Festival has started on March 27 is
      Adana, Turkey.
      The Festival is featuring plays enacted by 12 theater companies. Four of
      these companies are from outside of Turkey.
      Among the countries represented are: Bulgaria, Greece, France and
      The Festival will end on April 27.

      * The town of Side on the Mediterranean coast is getting a new museum.
      The director of the Side Museum Ms. Melek Yildiz Turan says that the
      10,000 artifacts they have are beyond the capacity of the current museum
      of about 175.
      Side's history goes back thousands of years.
      See the following for photographs of Side:


      * Kubaba archeological documentary film festival has started in Antalya on
      March 29, and will end on Sunday.
      Festival will feature 33 films from France, England, Germany, Greece,
      Italy, Spain, a chipped, Iran and Turkey.
      The Suna Kirac Mediterranean Cultures Research Center will host the
      films. The public will be able to view them without charge.
      The goal of the film festival is to share the historical richnesses that
      constitute the common heritage of all mankind.


      Exchange rate for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras:



      High and Low Temperatures in Degrees C (Degrees F), Weather

      Istanbul (Marmara Region)--------: 11/5 (52/41) Partially cloudy
      Izmir (Aegean Region)------------: 17/7 (63/45) Partially cloudy
      Antalya (Mediterranean Region)---: 17/9 (63/48) Showers
      Ankara (Central Anatolian Region): 12/1 (54/34) Partially cloudy

      Snow heights at skiing resorts:

      Uludag (Bursa, Western Turkey) 79 inches
      Kartalkaya (Bolu, Western Turkey) 59 inches
      Palandoken (Erzurum, Eastern Turkey) 13 inches
      Ilgaz (Kastamonu, North Central Turkey) 59 inches
      Erciyes (Kayseri, Central Turkey) 33 inches
      Sarikami$ (Kars, Eastern Turkey) 37 inches


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