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x0x Turkish news for week ending 27 April 2002

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      x0x Turkish news for week ending 27 April 2002

      [Best when viewed with the courier font.]

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      A service of the TURKISH RADIO HOUR, producer of:

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

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      ORIENT EXPRESS
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      Ahmet Toprak edited today's news. Your host today is Fuad Tokad
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      NEWS BRIEFS

      Edited for the Turkish radio hour by Sevtap Schreff

      * According to the Anatolian Agency Turkey's Foreign Affairs Minister
      Ismail Cem returned to the Turkish capital Ankara late on Thursday after
      wrapping up his two-day visit to the Middle East together with his Greek
      counterpart George Papandreou.
      Palestinian Ambassador to Turkey Fouad Yaseen and Israeli Ambassador to
      Turkey David Sultan welcomed Mr. Cem at Ankara's Esenboga Airport.
      During their visits to Jerusalem, Ramallah and Tel Aviv, Mr. Cem and Mr.
      Papandreou met Palestinian Head of State Yasser Arafat, Israeli Prime
      Minister Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres and
      Arafat's Chief Negotiator Saib Erakat and many Israeli and Palestinian
      officials.
      Also during the visit, the two foreign affairs Ministers called on
      Israel to stop military incursions into Palestinian territories, and asked
      Palestinians to strongly condemn and curb the violence against Israelis.
      The daily Hurriyet says that the two foreign affairs ministers also
      recommend that Israelis and Palestinians should convene an international
      peace conference and work in coordination with the US on a proposal to
      establish a Mideast peacekeeping force.
      While meeting the Israeli prime minister Mr. Sharon, he told them "We
      are ready to make difficult concessions, adding, I hope that one day we
      can visit your countries together with the Palestinians."

      * One headline in the Turkish daily Hurriyet on Friday said that "Cem and
      Papandreou bring Aegean spirit of reconciliation to Mideast." However, the
      picture between neighboring Greece and Turkey may not be that rosy.
      Although the Turkish and Greek foreign affairs minister's wanted to make
      a point with their visits to Israel and Palestine that the two countries
      are finding ways to cooperate rather fight, the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet
      wrote on Friday that the Turkish intelligence reports are still pointing
      to significant Greek support for the rebel Turkish Kurds.
      Also, in an interview with the publication Defense Weekly, the defense
      minister of Greece said that Turkey is still the biggest threat to its
      country, and that Greece will arm itself to fend off a Turkish aggression.
      The Turkish defense minister said that he will respond to his Greek
      counterparts remarks in due time.

      * The Turkish Daily News reports that the Turkish Parliament has passed an
      amendment for a prison amnesty law that could lead to the release of Mr.
      Mehmet Ali Agca.
      The Italian authorities convicted Mr. Agca of the attempted murder of
      Pope John Paul II in 1981. He served 19 years in jail in Italy and was
      pardoned in 2000.
      He is currently serving sentences in Turkey for killing a journalist and
      a robbery.
      Nearly 20,000 Turkish prisoners were freed by an amnesty in December
      2000. The amendment, which passed late on April 25, 2002 was followed by
      complaints that the previous amnesty unfairly discriminated between
      prisoners.
      A court ruled at the time that Agca, who shot Pope John Paul II in St.
      Peter's Square in the Vatican in 1981, could not benefit from that amnesty
      but he and many other prisoners said they would appeal that decision.
      Writing on the amendment, the banner of the Turkish daily newspaper
      Milliyet read "We are ashamed".
      It called on the Turkish president to veto any law that could free Mr.
      Agca and Mr. Haluk Kirci, a right-wing hitman accused of murdering seven
      leftist activists.
      The amnesty in 2000 was part of a major overhaul of Turkey's overcrowded
      prison system as the country seeks to improve human rights in order to
      qualify for European Union membership.
      We just learned late Saturday that the Turkish president vetoed the
      amnesty law.

      * According to the Turkish Daily News, a recent opinion poll conducted by
      the research company Sonar shows that the pro-Islamist Justice and
      Development Party is the leading party in Turkey. The center-left
      Republican People's and center-right True Path parties closely follow the
      Justice and Development Party
      Surveying 1,562 people in 10 provinces of Turkey, the poll revealed that
      the Justice and Development Party would receive 18.17 percent of the total
      votes, while the Republican People's Party would get 16.84 percent and the
      True Path Party would obtain 14.45 percent if the elections were held
      today.
      The three coalition partners, the Motherland, the Nationalist Action
      and the Democratic Left parties are seen below the 10 percent national
      threshold in the poll.
      Mr. Besim Tibuk's center-right Liberal Democratic Party showed a
      significant rise in terms of votes by 7 percent in the poll.
      Pro-Islamist Contentment Party has been the least desired party with
      3.01 percent share of the vote. The poll revealed that Mehmet Ali Bayar,
      who will be the new leader of the center-right Democratic Turkey Party in
      the following days, is not recognized by Turkish people.
      Some 62 percent of those surveyed do not know Bayar. Those who believe
      that Bayar would be successful are 24 percent, while those who confides in
      him are 5 percent.

      * The public opinion polls may look good for the Justice and Development
      Party but the legal arena seems to be full of impediments for its rise to
      power in Turkey, at least under the leadership of Mr. Erdogan.
      As we reported last week, Turkey's Constitutional court recently ruled
      that Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not eligible to lead the Justice and
      Development Party.
      The private Turkish television news channel NTV reported more bad news
      for Mr. Erdogan this week: The chief prosecutor of the Ankara State
      Security Court has opened a second investigation on Mr. Recep Tayyip
      Erdogan, for allegedly insulting the Turkish Armed Forces.
      State Security Court prosecutor Mr. Nuh Mete Yuksel is inquiring into
      whether comments made by Mr. Erdogan in a speech given in Germany nine
      years ago constitute an offense.
      On April 25th, Mr. Erdogan made a statement to the State Security Court
      Prosecutor's office in which he denied insulting the military. However,
      after making his statement, Chief Prosecutor Mr. Nuh Mete Yuksel applied
      to the court to have Mr. Erdogan detained, saying his comments were not
      mere political criticism and the insults made in the tape were
      unsurpassed.
      The State Security Court rejected Mr. Yuksel's request. The prosecutor
      has said that he will appeal the decision within a week.
      Also, Turkey's Interior Ministry has started an investigation into a
      1992 speech not Mr. Erdogan delivered in the Black Sea city of Rize. The
      inquiry is looking into who recorded the tape of the speech and why no
      investigation was conducted at the time.

      * The European Committee to Prevent Torture has released a report on April
      25th, dealing with its visits to Turkish prisons in early September last
      year, including to Imrali Island where the rebel Kurdish separatist leader
      Mr. Abdullah Ocalan is being held, reports Turkey's private NTV channel.
      The European Committee to Prevent Torture report said that there had
      been positive and important developments made by the Turkish government
      and that cooperation with the European Committee to Prevent Torture had
      increased.
      Despite the positive steps made towards giving more transparency in
      prisons in Turkey, the report said that the problems in new high security
      F-type prisons had not ended.
      The group called for authorities to allow prisoners access to libraries
      in groups of nine for at least one and half-hours every day. It also said
      that there were allegations of mistreatment in some F-type prisons.
      The report praised the recently legislated amendments to the Turkish
      Constitutional dealing with conditions of persons detained or arrested by
      security forces and said there had been very positive developments in
      Istanbul.

      * According to NTV news, Turkey's Prime Minister Mr. Bulent Ecevit during
      his speech on April 23rd at a reception to mark National Sovereignty and
      Children's Day said "I have no early election on my agenda. But do not
      know about others".
      Mr. Ecevit added that there was also little possibility of reducing the
      numbers of ministers in the cabinet and stressed that Turkey was going
      through a sensitive economic time where such a move would rock political
      parties.
      The Turkish Premier stated that his Democratic Left Party and the junior
      coalition partner the Motherland Party had always been against capital
      punishment.
      "This has nothing to do with Abdullah Ocalan or some one else, this is
      an issue of principle," he said.
      Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Devlet Bahceli, also attending the reception,
      stated that Turkey had done its homework in order to meet the road map set
      out by the European Union for Turkey to gain membership, and said that no
      on should claim otherwise.
      He slammed the European Commission for funding the production of
      brochures where outlawed extremist organizations with a violent track
      records such as the Revolutionary People's Liberation Front and the Maoist
      Marxist Leninist Turkish Communist party were presented as legitimate
      political parties in Turkey.

      * News reports are indicating some discord between the three Turkish
      parties in the ruling government coalition. According to an NTV report, in
      a promotional video entitled "Reflections of coherent and responsible
      politics" produced by the Nationalist Action Party, the far right accused
      its coalition partners the Democratic Left and Motherland parties of
      altering legislative amendments after they had been approved by the three
      coalition party leaders.
      The tape in particular criticizes the junior coalition partner
      Motherland Party on the alterations made to the notorious article 312 of
      the Turkish Penal Code where the draft was changed in the general assembly
      debates. Article 312 deals with cases relating to persons or organizations
      inciting hatred based on differences of class, race or religion.
      The Nationalist Action Party video also claimed that, under the banner
      of bringing Turkey's laws in line with those of the European Union, Cyprus
      was being sacrificed.
      As part of its bid to gain membership of the European Union, Turkey is
      required to adopt similar legal standard to those of the bloc.
      However, the tape stressed that Nationalist Action Party had put its
      signature to every law passed in relation to Turkey's candidacy to the
      European Union.

      * The Turkish daily Hurriyet reports that more than ten thousand
      Australians and New Zealanders, joined by hundreds of Turks, gathered
      before dawn to honor those who fell in the eight months of the Gallipoli
      Campaign of World War One.
      The Australian Governor General Peter Hollingsworth, spoke of the
      friendship that has developed between the one-time enemies, Australia and
      Turkey, stemming from the respect that the soldiers of the two countries
      had gained for each other on the battlefield.
      An officer of the Turkish Armed Forces read an address written in 1934
      by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the then President of Turkey, saying that the
      soldiers of the many foreign countries who were killed while serving
      during the campaign and who are buried on the peninsula are now lying in a
      friendly country.
      The Gallipoli Campaign, or Canakkale Savasi as it is known in Turkey,
      was the effort of the Allied forces to drive the Ottoman Empire out of the
      war.
      At dawn on 25 April, 1915, the first waves of Allied troops, men of the
      Australian Imperial Force, landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula at Ari Burnu.
      They were soon followed ashore by thousands of New Zealand soldiers. Soon
      after dawn, at the toe of the peninsula, British troops conducted another
      series of landings.
      Though advancing rapidly against strong Ottoman opposition, the
      Australian landing was thwarted by a 34-year-old Turkish officer, Mustafa
      Kemal Ataturk. Further south, the British troops were also halted by the
      Turkish defense.
      After a series of bloody battles, the allied forces evacuated the
      Peninsula, the Australian and New Zealand troops withdrawing on the night
      of December 19-20 and the British on January 8-9.

      * The Anatolian Agency reports that Turkey's state minister responsible
      for economy Mr. Kemal Dervis who is currently in the United States met
      late on Thursday with U.S. Federal Reserve Board chairman Mr. Alan
      Greenspan.
      The state minister earlier stated that it was important for him to have
      prominent economist Mr. Greenspan listen to his opinions about the
      economic situation in the World.
      Mr. Dervis who had his first meeting with Mr. Greenspan since he was
      appointed as Turkey's state minister for economy met also with
      International Monetary Fund managing director Mr. Horst Koehler and the
      World Bank president Mr. James Wolfensohn.

      EXCHANGE RATE

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

      1,353,000

      WEATHER

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

      Istanbul (Marmara Region)--------: 20/9 (68/48) Partially cloudy
      Izmir (Aegean Region)------------: 23/12 (73/54) Clear
      Antalya (Mediterranean Region)---: 23/12 (73/54) Clear
      Ankara (Central Anatolian Region): 20/6 (68/43) Clear

      Snow heights at skiing resorts:

      Uludag (Bursa, Western Turkey) 4 inches
      Kartalkaya (Bolu, Western Turkey) 0 inches
      Ilgaz (Kastamonu, North Central Turkey) 10 inches
      Erciyes (Kayseri, Central Turkey) 6 inches
      Sarikami$ (Kars, Eastern Turkey) 30 inches

      ARTS AND CULTURE

      * The April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day was celebrated
      throughout the Turkey and in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as
      well as at Turkey's foreign missions with a wide variety of ceremonies.
      Also, a reception was held to commemorate the 82nd anniversary of the
      opening of the Turkish Grand National Assembly in the Turkish capital
      Ankara.


      * The daily Aksam reports that Dr. Ahmet Vekif Alp, an advisor to Prime
      Minister Bulent Ecevit of Turkey, has been elected Eastern European
      director for the American Institute of Architects, the American Institute
      of Architects announced this week.
      Dr. Alp will assume the post at a ceremony in Amsterdam next month. The
      American Institute of Architects is one of the most prominent and
      internationally active organizations in the field of architecture.

      * This years Turkish Theater Festival, the fifth staging of the annual
      event, is slated for May 1-12 in Amsterdam, reports the daily Cumhuriyet.
      The festival is organized through the joint efforts of the Dutch Culture
      Ministry, the Turkish-Dutch Theater Foundation and the Amsterdam
      Municipality with the aim of promoting bilateral cultural relations.

      * Organizers of the 55th annual Cannes Film Festival have announced the
      official selection of films for this year. The Turkish daily Cumhuriyet
      says that the Turkish director Zeki Demirkubuz's Confession will be
      screened under the category "Un Certain Regard".
      In addition, La Mort en Exil, a film by Turkish director Ayten Mutlu
      Saray, will be screened under the category Cinefondation in which more
      than a dozen short and mini-feature films from film schools will compete.
      See http://www.festival-cannes.org/index.php?langue=6002#lmgs for more.

      * The Anatolian News agency reports that Mr. Filiz Otyam, a leading
      Turkish artist, will participate in the First Artemision Weaving
      Exhibition in Germany with one of her authentic weavings entitled
      ''Kybele''.

      SPORTS

      Edited for the Turkish radio hour by Mark Nowak

      * Turkish Futbol - Premier Division

      Week 32 Matches:

      G.Birligi 1-1 Besiktas
      Denizlispor 1-1 Istanbulspor
      Malatyaspor 2-1 Bursaspor
      G.Antep 4-0 Göztepe
      Galatasaray 1-0 Ankaragucu
      Rizespor 0-1 Samsunspor
      Antalyaspor 0-0 Diyarbakirspor
      Fenerbahce 3-0 Trabzonspor
      Kocaelispor 4-3 Yozgatspor

      Week 33 Matches:

      Bursaspor - Fenerbahce
      Istanbulspor - Rizespor
      Yozgatspor - G.Antep
      Kocaelispor - Galatasaray
      Besiktas - Göztepe
      Trabzonspor - G.Birligi
      Diyarbakirspor - Malatyaspor
      Samsunspor - Antalyaspor
      Ankaragucu - Denizlispor

      Standings in the league

      1. Galatasaray 68
      2. Fenerbahce 66
      3. Besiktas 68
      4. Ankaragucu 69
      5. Denizlispor 60
      6. Bursaspor 46
      7. Kocaelispor 45
      8. G.Antep 54
      9. G.Birligi 44
      10. Istanbulspor 30
      11. Diyarbakirspor 40
      12. Trabzonspor 47
      13. Göztepe 3
      14. Malatyaspor 33
      15. Rizespor 39
      -------------------- ---
      16. Samsunspor 29
      17. Antalyaspor 44
      18. Yozgatspor 45

      * Turkish men's basketball league:

      1 Efes Pilsen 42
      2 Ülker 42
      3 Darüssafaka 39
      4 Türk Telekom 35
      5 Oyak Renault 34
      6 Karsiyaka 33
      7 Besiktas 32
      8 Galatasaray 32
      9 Fenerbahçe 29
      10 ITÜ 28
      11 TED Kolej 26
      12 Büyük Kolej 24

      Play-offs

      ITU tied the playoff series at 2-2 after a home victory over Besiktas in
      overtime.

      Game 2: ITU 96-92 Besiktas

      Fenerbahce took the lead in playoffs with a 2-1 over Galatasaray.

      Game 3: Galatasaray 87-100 Fenerbahce

      Turkish Cup Final: Efes Pilsen won their 2nd game in a row with a 78-74
      victory over Darussafaka. Efes Pilsen won the cup for the 6th time in
      their history. The key of the game was Efes Pilsen's foul shots, they
      were huge from the foul line: (32/35) while Dacka only scored 19 points
      from the line.

      * Men's European League

      Group F G W L PF PA Pts
      Kinder Bologna 6 4 2 460 432 10
      Efes Pilsen 6 3 3 506 482 9
      Real Madrid 6 3 3 500 528 9
      Ural Great 6 2 4 516 541 8

      Group H
      Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv 6 4 2 410 370 10
      Tau 6 4 2 496 472 10
      CSKA 6 3 3 486 485 9
      Ülkerspor 6 1 5 395 460 7

      * Men's National Basketball - European Championship

      Group A

      W L PF PA Pts
      Litvanya 5 4 1 475 353 9
      Türkiye 5 4 1 385 372 9
      Bulgaristan 5 3 2 454 438 8
      Ukrayna 5 3 2 395 401 8
      Isviçre 5 1 4 326 384 6
      Hollanda 5 - 5 358 440 5

      Italy – Turkey 79-72

      * NBA Playoffs

      Sacramento Kings-Utah Jazz: Series tied 1-1

      1: Sacremento Kings - Utah Jazz: 89-86
      In 14 minutes, Hidayet Turkoglu had 7 points, 1 rebound and 0
      assists.

      2: Sacremento Kings - Utah Jazz: 86-93
      In 15 minutes, Hidayet Turkoglu had 2 points, 4 rebounds and 0
      assists.

      * Turkish weightlifter Aylin Tasdelen, 53 kg, broke European records by
      lifting 92.5, 112.5 and 205 kilograms in the snatch, clean-and-jerk and
      overall categories respectively, during the 15th European Women's
      Weightlifting Championship held in Antalya.

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