x0x Turkish news for week ending 08 June 2002
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x0x Turkish news for week ending 08 June 2002
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A service of the TURKISH RADIO HOUR, producer of:
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Edited for the Turkish Radio Hour by Sevda Kupoglu Aleckson
* The private Turkish channel NTV reported that Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and
the main opposition leader Tansu Ciller did not attend Friday's summit held at
the Presidential Palace to discuss Turkey?s candidacy for the European Union.
After the three-hour long summit, the advisor to President Ahmet Necdet
Sezer, Tacan Ildem, made a statement stressing that it had been a very
constructive meeting with the leaders of most of Turkey?s political parties
represented in the parliament.
Mr. Ildem reported that Turkey is committed to gaining full membership of the
European Union and that this membership was the common goal of all of the party
leaders who attended the summit. Secretary General of the Democratic Left Party
Hasan Gulay represented Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, still recovering from a
series of illnesses. The leaders of the Nationalist Movement Party, Motherland
Party, opposition Justice and Development Party, and Prosperity Party were
present at the summit.
Mr. Ildem said that a consensus had been reached over the rapid completion of
the parliament work for the Constitutional and legislative changes required for
the European Human Rights Convention and other European regulations. He also
said that parliamentary committees and bodies working on EU related amendments
should speed up work and bring them before the parliament.
* The Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahceli spoke at a press
conference after the summit in Ankara and confirmed earlier reports that his
Nationalist Movement Party would not support changes to legislation sanctioning
the abolishment of the death penalty or of allowing education or broadcasting in
languages other than Turkish.
* According to daily Milliyet, Turkey's president Mr. Ahmet Necdet Sezer is
scheduled to pay an official visit to Iran during June 17 and 18. President
Sezer will meet with the Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in Tehran. During
the meeting, Sezer is expected to ask Khatami to ensure that no Iranian logistic
support goes to the rebel Kurdish Workers Party militants.
* All Turkish papers report that Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit is currently
resting and carrying out his work at his office in Oran, Ankara. Mr. Ecevit
said, his health condition is getting better and that he thanks his doctors' for
their great efforts in getting him to recover.
* According to Daily Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Motherland Party leader
Mesut Yilmaz responded to Deputy Prime Minister Devlet Bahceli's recent harsh
criticisms that no single party or person had an exclusive claim on patriotism.
Mr. Yilmaz presented his views on Turkey's ongoing European Union membership
discussions and stated that "today, Turkey is closer to European Union
membership than it has ever been in all its history."
He further stated that all our politicians and political leaders should think
very hard to prevent Turkey from falling short of this target. Turkey must
follow two guiding compasses to lead its way to the future. According to Mr.
Yilmaz, one of these compasses is the European Union National Program and the
other is the economic program that Turkey has been implementing.
* The daily Cumhuriyet reported that Chief of General Staff General Huseyin
Kivrikoglu met with his Russian counterpart officials in Moscow on Wednesday to
discuss bilateral military and technical cooperation and the recent
rapprochement between Russia and NATO.
General Kivrikoglu and the Russian officials exchanged their views on
cooperating in the fight against terrorism and against a number of
organizations, which are currently carrying out activities in Turkey to support
militants in Chechnya.
* According to the daily Cumhuriyet, U.S. Special Representative to the United
Nations Ambassador John Negroponte met with Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and
other high-level officials and discussed a number of significant issues such as
the threat of international terrorism, Iraq, Cyprus, Afghanistan and the Middle
Speaking to journalists after his meetings, Mr. Negroponte expressed the
continued U.S. support for United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's efforts
to help the peace talks on Cyprus and stressed the necessity for reaching
permanent peace and stability on the island.
* In a press conference in Brussels, the commissioner responsible for the
European Union expansion called on the Union candidate countries to boost their
efforts on administrative and judicial reforms, reported the daily Cumhuriyet.
He stressed that the candidate countries should expedite their work to fulfill
the Union requirements.
The European Union is planning to announce the countries, which can start
their accession negotiations at the Copenhagen summit to be held at the end of
* According to the daily Cumhuriyet, U.S. Special Coordinator to Cyprus Tom
Weston criticized the Greek Cypriot side for its recent purchase of Russian
attack helicopters. Mr. Weston called the Greek Cypriots' recent move "a
mistake" especially in the light of the ongoing peace talks.
Weston stated that he is planning to visit Turkey and Greece and he still
believes that the sides can reach an agreement on some basic issues by the end
of June. He further added, "no matter what the results are at that time, the
peace talks must continue.?
* Star reported that Justice and Development Party leader Mr. Tayyip Erdogan
spoke at his party's group meeting yesterday, said that the his party would give
support to Turkey's European Union membership.
Ahead of Friday's European Union government summit, Mr. Erdogan also said that
the death penalty should be abolished. "We would also support if the death
penalty issue is opened to signature for a constitutional amendment," he added.
* Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Huseyin Dirioz said that Turkey is
speeding up it plans to rebuild the Ottoman-era Ecyad Castle in Saudi Arabia,
writes the daily Aksam.
The historic castle was built in 1782 by the Ottomans to protect sacred sites
for pilgrims in Mecca. However, early this year, the Saudi Arabian government
had it demolished.
As a result, Turkey launched new initiatives in league with U.N. agency UNESCO
to help prevent the destruction of Turkey's international cultural heritage.
* European aircraft production giant Airbus announced that it would soon begin
manufacturing airplane parts in Izmir, reports the daily Sabah. The Airbus
marketing director Mr. Schubert indicated that this production would be done
under a new industrial partnership agreement within Izmir's Free Trade Zone.
Mr. Schubert also said that Turkish Airlines had been one of the first users
of Airbus' A-340 model and that Airbus plans to give THY an "excellence in
management" award for its administration of the A-340.
Airbus has nearly a 30% market share in Turkey.
* Milliyet reports that state-owned Turk Telekom wants to expand abroad. Turk
Telekom Director General Ibrahim Hakki Alpturk stated that Turk Telekom would
bid jointly with Koc Information Group on stakes in the state Bulgarian Telecom
Company and that they would be interested in the telecom companies of other
The partnerships Turk Telekom will establish abroad will positively affect its
own privatization and contribute to its own value.
* A recent Business Week article writes about the accomplishments of Mr. Kemal
Dervis since his appointment as the minister responsible for Turkey?s economy in
It states that his independence has helped him push through Turkey's deepest
overhaul of its economy ever. He made sweeping bank reforms to ensure that
state banks are no longer financial grab bags for Turkish politicians. Mr.
Dervis also made sure that the central bank is finally independent.
His reputation and top-level contacts in the U.S. and European financial
community have helped nail down $16 billion in new loans from the International
While Mr. Dervis is enjoying stellar popularity ratings, he may go down in
history as the Ataturk of Turkish economics.
Exchange rate for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras:
* A penalty kick in the 86th minute of Turkey's World Cup Group C opener
yesterday resulted in the national team losing 2-1 to Brazil, a country which
has won the World Cup four times.
Speaking to reporters after the match, Turkish National Team Coach Senol Gunes
refused to criticize the referee but described the penalty kick decision as "an
Turkey will next face Costa Rica on Sunday's World Cup play.
ARTS AND CULTURE
* Excavations in one of the oldest settlements will resume at the end of June,
The site is in central Turkey in a locality called Catalhoyuk, and Stanford
University's Dr. Ian Hodder are headeding the excavations. Dr. Ian Hodder will
be leading a team of 60 people.
According to Dr. Hodder excavations at the site started in 1958 but then there
was a long recess from 1960s until 1996.
Last year Dr. Hodder and his team focused on the many buildings that were
adapted to changes throughout history, working their way through the layers of
construction. The team also unearthed in the ground level of buildings some
seventy graves last year.
Catalhoyuk, a Neolithic Age Tumulus, has revealed samples of the world's first
structured house, unique architecture, sacred traditions and buildings and
historical firsts in fabric making, agriculture and animal breeding.
Scientists are estimating that the settlement dates back to 9000 years ago.
* Turkish police have detained six persons in relation to the smuggling and
attempted sale of another painting by the Spanish master Pablo Picasso, in this
case believed to be authentic.
Turkish security forces have seized more than 10 works reputedly by Picasso
over the last 18 months, though many have proved to be forgeries and evaluations
are still being carried out on the others.
The flood of painting coming into Turkey is supposedly to have originated in
Iraq, which reputedly looted large numbers of art works from Kuwait when it
invaded that country in 1990.
* As we reported last week, the Topkapi Palace Museum received a substantial
award from the Koc Foundation.
The director of the museum is saying that they will spend the money to
earthquake proof the museum's two depots, and renovate the air-conditioning
* Turkey's ministry of culture is participating in two international book fairs.
One of the fairs is taking place in Seoul, Korea between June 7-12 and the
other one is in St. Petersburg, Russia between June 19-22.
Turkey will be participating in these fairs for the first time. The Turkish
display will have 250 books covering culture, arts, history and tourism.
* A German crew is arriving in Turkey next week to make a documentary film about
Turkey's historical and natural sites in and around Cappadocia and the Aegean
The film will cost one million Euros and the viewers of VOX, one of Germany's
most popular channels, will see it during this summer.
A Turkish-owned travel agency in Germany is sponsoring the making of the film.
* Turkey's prime ministry's archives are displaying some of its rare historical
holdings for the first time in history.
The Anatolian News Agency is reporting that among the items to the displayed
is an edict by one of Islam's first four caliphs ordering the protection of
Christians in Jerusalem.
Caliph Omar's edict is dated 699.
* Turkey's Cinema and Audiovisual Culture Endowment has put together the Sixth
International Environmental Film Festival.
The festival has started on June 5th and will continue through June 13th.
More than 50 films from many countries of the World are participating in the
The festival is sponsored by the Garanti Bank of Turkey. Turkey's ministry of
culture and the World Wildlife Fund have endorsed the festival.
* The 30th International Istanbul Music Festival has started on Friday. The
festival will continue until July 1st.
There will be 23 performances during the festival featuring numerous renowned
orchestras and musicians.
If you are heading to Turkey this year, be sure to include some of the
performances in your itinerary.
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