THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF THE MARMARA EARTHQUAKE
Today, Turkey marks the second anniversary of the earthquake that measured 7.4 on the Richter scale and devastated the Marmara region in the early hours of Aug. 17, 1999. The official figures for those who died in the earthquake stands at 18,243 while 48,901 people are listed as having been injured. Some 377,897 houses, on the other hand, are listed as having been damaged to varying degrees, ranging from uninhabitable to slightly damaged. Many people in the region spend Thursday night and early hours of the morning keeping vigil on the second anniversary of the quake to remember their loved ones, friends, and neighbors who lost their lives. Commemoration ceremonies will be held today to mark the anniversary. Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Omer Izgi issued a message to mark the quake anniversary saying the quake was one of the most devastating disasters which took place in Turkey. /All papers/
KIVRIKOGLU: "TSK IS READY FOR A POSSIBILITY OF AN EARTHQUAKE"
The Chief of the General Staff, General Huseyin Kivrikoglu, issued a message on the occasion of the second anniversary of the August 17th Marmara Earthquake. Kivrikoglu said that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) took lessons from the past earthquake disasters and took the necessary measures to be able to be more effective in the post-quake period. He added, "TSK is ready for the future earthquakes in terms of education, organization and equipment." /Cumhuriyet/
ISTANBUL DISASTER MANAGEMENT CENTER OPENED
The "Istanbul Disaster Management Center" was opened by the Istanbul Governor Erol Cakir and Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor, Ali Mufit Gurtuna. Cakir said that Istanbul never forgot the August 17th disaster and that the preparations for a future earthquake were continuing since then. The Center will plan all the activities in pre-disaster and post-disaster periods. /Cumhuriyet/
POLITICAL NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN TURKEY AND JORDAN
Political negotiations between Turkey and Jordan were held yesterday in Ankara under the chairmanship of the Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Faruk Logoglu and his Jordanian counterpart Sahir Bak. Bak said both Turkey and Jordan demanded peace to be sustained in the Middle East and added, "We'll do our utmost for the establishment of peace." Among the important topics discussed during the negotiations were Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit to Turkey and recent developments in the Middle East. Conveying her concerns on the peace process, Jordan wanted Turkey to increase her influence on Israel. After the meetings, Bak and the accompanying Jordanian delegation visited Turkey-Jordan joint economic commission Chairman Mustafa Yildiz. /Cumhuriyet/
IMPORTANT STEP TO IMPROVE TRNC ECONOMY
An important step was taken concerning the economic relations between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The TRNC will be able to export her products to the EU and third world countries through Turkey. The TRNC could not export her products to those countries for years because of the economic sanctions and embargo she was imposed on for years. Ankara aims to improve the TRNC economy for this new policy. The agreement on regulating commercial relations between Turkey and the TRNC was put into effect this week. Turkey will not demand any taxes from TRNC products. The decision had been made within the framework of the "Cyprus action plan" drawn up at the National Security Council meeting last year. Long-term target of the plan is to create a joint economic area between the two countries. /Cumhuriyet/
ARSEVEN: "NO PROBLEM CONCERNING CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS"
Minister of State, Nejat Arseven, stated that President Ahmet Necdet Sezer supported the efforts towards making constitutional amendments and added that there was no article regulating the President's rights and authorities in the amendment package. Arseven discussed the issue also with American Ambassador to Ankara, Robert Pearson, yesterday. Stating that he supported all the steps which Turkey was trying to take concerning the improvement of human rights, Pearson said, "These regulations should be carried out not because the others demand, but because Turkey herself deserves them." Arseven added that he believed there would be no problem concerning the constitutional amendments in Parliament." /Cumhuriyet/
AEGEAN ARMY COMMAND HANDOVER
Land Forces Commander Hilmi Ozkok, talking at the handover ceremony at the Aegean Army Command on Thursday, saying they would continue being the protectors of the Turkish nation without giving any concessions to reactionary actions. Ozkok added that they were following the principles laid down by the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Stating that the Land Forces were the pride of the Turkish people, Ozkok underlined that Turkey was located in an instable and risky zone. Ozkok said, "The necessity to preserve the secularism and performance of the Republic of Turkey leads us to enhance our military power before any war situation. We have to be ready for every kind of danger." At the ceremony Dogan, who was appointed as the First Army Commander, handed over his post to Lt. Gen. Hursit Tolon in the Aegean Army Command. Dogan, in his farewell speech, said the Aegean Army Command had tried to develop bilateral and mutual relationship with Greece. Dogan said they had avoided damaging both Turkish and Greek national values. He stressed that the Aegean Army is a dynamic force in terms of the moderate relations between two countries. /Turkish Daily News/
VURAL MEETS WITH DERVIS
Minister of Transportation, Oktay Vural, met with the State Minister Kemal Dervis, and requested his support for the implementation of the projects which are being carried out by the Ministry of Transportation. During the meeting, Dervis was briefed by Vural on the build-operate-transfer projects, which have been waiting for approval. It was stated that these projects amounted to 600 trillion TL. In his statement, Vural said, "The meeting was very beneficial." /Milliyet/
JEWISH COMMUNITY LEADER: "WE ARE HAPPY LIVING IN TURKEY"
Izmir Jewish Community leader Moris Bencuya said that they were happy with their role in the Turkish mosaic, and are glad to be living in Turkey. Bencuya, during a visit by Motherland Party (ANAP) Konak Province Leader Sural Yahsi in celebration of the 509th anniversary of the Jewish arrival in Turkey, said that they had never faced objections to their religious practices, because Turkey is a secular country, and they had managed to develop under the wings of Muslims. /Turkish Daily News/
ERDOGAN ELECTED AKP HEAD
The founding members of the newly launched Justice and Progress Party (AKP) gathered and unanimously elected Recep Tayyip Erdogan as their leader yesterday. After being elected Erdogan, said they came with a mission to bring vitality to the people of Turkey and to enhance their well-being. /Turkish News/
TURK TELEKOM KEEN ON BUYING PAKISTAN TELECOM
Turk Telekom is keen on participating in the privatization of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), the Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported in its Tuesday edition. The report quoted Turkish State Minister Mehmet Kececiler, who led a five-member delegation in a meeting with Pakistan's Federal Minister for Privatization Altaf M. Saleem in Islamabad. Altaf Saleem said that the pre-qualification criteria for the parties interested in PTCL had been finalized, and were being sent to them. Any investment by Turkish companies would be fully supported by the people of Pakistan in view of the strong brotherly relations between the two countries, the Pakistani Minister stated. /Turkish News/
A GERMAN PARTNER FOR "PENGUEN"
"Penguen" Food Company and the German DEG Group will become financial and strategic partners. Chairman of the Executive Board of Penguen Food, Orhan Gencoglu, said they had given this decision to further grow. The letter of intent was signed between DEG and Penguen Food and the DEG will initially make an investment of 10 million Euros. /Milliyet/
FOREX RESERVES UP 1.4 BILLION US DOLLARS TO 19 BILLION US DOLLARS
The Turkish Central Bank's foreign currency reserves rose by 1.371 billion US dollars to 18.964 billion US dollars in the week ending August 10, the bank announced on Thursday. Total foreign currency reserves of commercial banks and special finance institutions were at 11.757 billion US dollars as of July 27, according to the most recent data available. National foreign exchange reserves, including Central Bank foreign exchange reserves, commercial banks' and special finance institutions' foreign exchange reserves and Central Bank gold reserves, fell by 449 million US dollars to 29.950 billion US dollars. The Central Bank also said a total of 6.898 billion US dollars had been transferred out for sovereign debt repayments since the beginning of the year. /Turkish Daily News/
THE US AID FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE MONUMENTAL GATE OF GORDION
The US Department of State has allocated $15,000 for the restoration of the monumental gate in Gordion which was the capital of Frygs who lived in Turkey in the Iron Age. University of Pennsylvania has been carrying out excavations in the ancient city Gordion (Polatli, Ankara) since 1950. /Cumhuriyet/
INTERNATIONAL IZMIR FAIR OPENS ITS DOORS ON AUGUST 26
The International Izmir Fair, which brings many activities and attractions to Izmir each year, will open its gates for the 70th time. The fair, organized by Izmir Fair Services Culture and Art Affairs Inc. (IZFAS), will be open from August 26 until September 10. The fair organizers explained that the number of foreign participants will increase, and they will also be an increase in the number of participating countries. The International Izmir Fair, which is the biggest fair held in Turkey and one of the symbols of the city of Izmir, is often referred to as "The Window of Turkey." This year's honorable guest of the fair will be China, which has a huge trade volume. China, which is to host the 2008 Olympics, will introduce the 2008 Olympics at the fair for the first time. /Turkish Daily News/
HACI BEKTASH VELI COMMEMORATED
President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and many high-level officials, who attended the 38th Traditional and 12th International Haci Bektash Veli Memorial ceremonies in Nevsehir, emphasized the importance of tolerance. Addressing the citizens Sezer said, "The importance of great thinkers who enlightened the eras in which they lived and following eras, such as Ahmet Yesevi, Mevlana, Haci Bektash Veli and Yunus Emre are better understood today." He said they had great respect for the philosophy based on universal values such as peace and tolerance. Ministers of State Ramazan Mirzaoglu and Yilmaz Karakoyunlu and the Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal attended the ceremonies. On the other hand, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader and Deputy Prime Minister Devlet Bahceli, former President Suleyman Demirel and the True Path Party (DYP) leader Tansu Ciller also issued messages to mark the commemoration of Haci Bektash Veli. /Turkiye/