Books on Turkey
Ahmet Necdet Sezer
Update No: 088 - (27/08/04)
Turkey at the Olympics
The Olympic flame was first lit centuries ago in Athens, the birthplace of the
Games where in athleticism, shot put, high and long jump bare-footed athletes
competed in Athens for the first time under the auspices of an organization.
Those who were successful received awards and those who lost, deferred their
hopes to the years ahead.
This old city is the cradle of the Olympic Games. The flame has travelled far
and wide, but it returned again to burn in Athens. As may be remembered,
Istanbul was also very keen on hosting the 2004 Olympics, but luck was on its
neighbour's side. The Olympic Games kicked off with a very colourful ceremony on
August 13, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife were in
One aspect of the ancient Games that is not as well known as it ought to be is
that for the duration of the tournament a truce reigned during which diplomats
arranged for longer lasting peace. This irenic function of the Games has never
been in greater need than today.
Fortunately Turkey and Greece are in excellent, cordial relations right now.
Athens backs Turkey's EU aspirations whole-heartedly these days.
Economy on the mend
The Turkish economy is looking up after a bleak period in the early 2000s.
Turkey is still a very poor country by European standards, the very standards by
which it has come to judge itself, ever since the days of Ataturk (1923-38), who
did so much to modernize the country, its script and language, its religious and
cultural mores and its social topography.
But the economy has always been a harder nut to crack.
IMF: Strategy is working; but job not finished yet
Impressed with Turkey's recent economic performance, the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) Executive Board of Directors approved a new €661m loan package on
July 30th, the eighth instalment in a €19bn programme aimed at helping the
country's economy. IMF Turkey senior resident representative, Odd Per Brekk,
told Turkish Daily News that the programme results clearly show the strategy is
working; however, he stressed, "that of course does not mean that the job
Questioned about the changes in the Turkish economy, Brekk told the Turkish
Daily News that certainly the previous government, and now the current
government, have made a lot of progress in stabilising the economy and laying
the basis for sustained growth. Stressing that sustained growth is the main
objective of the programme, Brekk said that one of the main accomplishments
during this period is the very large increase in the public sector primary
surplus which has enabled the government to manage the debt very effectively.
"It has generated the resources to manage the debt. But by improving
confidence in the financial markets, it has also helped reduce real interest
rates. In that way this is a very important lesson - that a tight fiscal policy
has actually helped the strong growth. As you know the economy has recovered
better than expected from the crisis. This is to a large extent because of the
tight fiscal policy, not in spite of it," he added.
Praising central bank policies and the success of Central Bank Governor, Sureyya
Serdengecti, Brekk said one important indicator of monetary policy success is
that the difference between expected inflation and the target has declined very
radically since the programme started in early 2002.
"The target for inflation was 35 per cent. The expectations were more than
50 per cent. Now the expectations are inline with the target. I think this is a
very important sign of the confidence in the central bank, and it's also a major
accomplishment, especially when you think about how Turkey has had decades of
very high inflation," Brekk said.
Brekk also said there has been major restructuring of state banks and that they
are no longer conducting policy on behalf of the government. He stated that the
establishment of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency in late 2000 was
very important as it brought regulations and supervision standards much closed
to international and European standards. Brekk, however, underlined one area
where they were disappointed - privatisation and possibly the private sector
"We are talking about red tape, how the judicial system works and the
protection of property rights and these kinds of things. There's a whole agenda
there, that together with privatisation is probably where there's less progress
than expected," he said. Brekk concluded that the accomplishments until
now, in many ways prove that the programme strategy is working.
Turkey, Afghanistan to cooperate in agriculture
Turkey and Afghanistan signed a memorandum of understanding envisaging
cooperation in agriculture, Anatolia News Agency reported recently.
Releasing a statement, the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
said that Turkish Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister, Sami Guclu, and Afghan
Agriculture Minister, Sayd Hosayn Anwari, signed the memorandum. Under the
memorandum of understanding, a Turkish agriculture expert will be sent to
Meanwhile, the two sides decided to speed up preparatory works for a
"Protocol of Technical, Scientific and Economic Cooperation in
Agriculture". The protocol is expected to be signed by Turkish and Afghan
ministers in December of 2004.
S&P affirms ratings on Dogus Holding
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said that it has affirmed its B-
long-term and C short-term counterparty credit ratings on Turkey-based
conglomerate Dogus Holding AS, New Europe reported.
The affirmation follows the recent announcement that Dogus has ceased
negotiations with Italy-based Banca Intesa SpA (A/Stable/A-1) for the latter's
purchase of a majority stake in Turkish bank Turkiye Garanti Bankasi (Garanti;
foreign currency rating B/Stable/-). "We believe that Dogus'
holding-company debt is reasonably covered, based on the market value of
publicly traded banking, retail, and automotive assets," said Standard
& Poor's credit analyst Emmanuel Volland. Corporate gross debt at June 30th,
2004, was US$1.16bn, 35% of which was short term. The stable outlook balances
the improving economic and financial environment in Turkey with the group's
substantial leverage and debt maturities in the near term.
Turkish, Georgian premiers discuss Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline
The importance of the timely completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil
pipeline for both Turkey and Georgia was stressed during a tete-a-tete meeting
of Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his Georgian counterpart,
Zurab Zhvania, and meetings between Turkish and Georgian delegations in Tbilisi
recently, Anatolia News Agency reported.
Sources said that Turkish and Georgian delegations mainly discussed the BTC
project during their meetings co-chaired by Erdogan and Zhvania. Erdogan drew
attention to importance of the project especially for Georgia and said foreign
entrepreneurs would start coming to Georgia after completion of the pipeline.
Stressing that the project was also important for functioning of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum-Shah Sea project, Erdogan said that Turkey was the third
leading country investing in Georgia after the United States and Britain.
Stressing that Turkey attributed great importance to Georgia's territorial
integrity, stability and security, Erdogan said Turkey was ready to contribute
to the solution of Ossetia problem.
Expressing the importance that Turkey attached to preservation of Turkish
artefacts and historical monuments in Tbilisi and Batumi, Erdogan said that the
agreement between Turkey and Georgia on prevention of double taxation should
come into force as soon as possible.
Erdogan said Turkey also attributed importance to the Kars-Tbilisi railway
project and added that they were interested to construct and operate jointly the
Turkish company to import 6-7m tons of crude oil from Iran by Jul 05
Turkish Oil Refineries Joint Stock Company will import six to seven million tons
of crude oil from Iran as of August 2004 to July 2005, according to managing
director of the company, Hessameddin Danesh, IRNA web site reported.
Danesh told reporters that this is the biggest oil deal Turkey has signed with
an oil exporting state.
He said Turkey had signed a protocol with Iran a year ago for import of 5.5m
tons of oil.
He added that under the new deal, 3m tons of oil imported from Iran would be of
Danesh said 24.5m tons of crude oil are to be refined at Turkish oil refineries
this year, a figure that will reach 25m tons in the next Christian year.
World Hydropower centre to be built in Istanbul
The "World Hydropower Centre" will be constructed in Istanbul, Turkey,
sources said on August 1st, New Europe reported recently.
International Hydropower Association (IHA) Chairman Prof, Dr Nejat Veziroglu,
said the centre would be constructed in Istanbul in line with a protocol signed
between the Turkish Ministry of Energy and National Resources and the United
Nations International Development Organisation last May. The IHA was founded in
1995 to advance knowledge on all aspects of hydropower and to promote good
practice. Noting that finalisation of the centre would take 3-4 years, Prof Dr
Veziroglu said: "The centre will coordinate studies at hydropower
implementation centres to be established in the United States, the People's
Republic of China, Africa and Argentina. Hydropower is considered future's
energy since it does not cause pollution and it is not limited like the other
FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Turkey, Libya sign economic cooperation protocol
Turkish State Minister, Kursad Tuzmen, and Libyan Secretary of the General
People's Committee for Workforce, Training and Employment, Muhammad Ma'tuq,
signed Turkey-Libya 19th Term Joint Economic Commission (JEC) Protocol on 6th
August, Anatolia News Agency reported.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Tuzmen said that under decisions in the
protocol, a legal basis of economic and commercial relations between Turkey and
Libya would be formed as soon as possible. Tuzmen said that under the JEC
protocol, the two countries would sign a mutual encouragement of and protection
of investments agreement this year and the prevention of double taxation
agreement in January of 2005. Noting that the Turkish Petro-Chemistry
Corporation (Petkim) would import some petrochemistry products which it was
importing from third countries, directly from Libya, Tuzmen added that Turkish
and Libyan experts would hold a meeting in September 2004 on Libya's benefiting
from the Manavgat Project.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Abdullah Gul, met
Muhammad Ma'tuq. Speaking to reporters after the meeting in the Foreign
Ministry, Ma'tuq said that they targeted to enhance relations between Turkey and
Noting that they should have close cooperation in areas of joint interest,
Ma'tuq said that mutual consultations about strategic matters of the region were
important. Ma'tuq added that Turkish and Libyan foreign ministers would pay
mutual visits and the first one would be paid by Gul.
Turkish premier views political, economic ties with Georgia
Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, returned from Georgia to Turkey on
August 12th. Erdogan told reporters at Ankara's Esenboga Airport that they aim
to expand foreign trade volume between Turkey and Georgia to US$1bn in a short
time, Anatolia News Agency reported.
Erdogan said that they held beneficial bilateral meetings besides meetings
between Turkish and Georgian delegations.
Noting that businessmen of two countries also held meetings and chairmen of
business councils convened, Erdogan said: "We have expressed that we
support them for the investments to be made in Georgia and joint investments.
Regarding the problems experienced so far, our state minister told all of our
businessmen that he would solve all those problems. Our businessmen were pleased
with that clear speech."
Erdogan said that regarding the close relations between the two countries,
Georgian president, prime minister and parliament Speaker were very sensitive.
He added that foreign trade volume between the two countries has reached US$426m
as of the end of 2003 and both countries aimed to increase this amount to US$1bn
as quickly as possible. Erdogan noted that the Joint Economic Commission (JEC)
meeting will be held in September and a calendar will be set for this target.
Noting that they discussed Turkey's help regarding the political problems of
Georgia, Erdogan said that Georgia was positive about the issue and expected
Erdogan said that they went to the Sarp border pass with Georgian President,
Mikhail Saakashvili, and they visited both sides of the border pass and talked
with Turkish and Georgian personnel. He added that they have reached consensus
that passes from the gate should be faster and it should become more active.
Noting that State Minister, Kursad Tuzmen, would make necessary initiatives
about the issue, Erdogan said that he hoped that they would make Sarp border
pass more productive and active. Erdogan said that Turkish businessmen have
investments which were not completed in Batumi and added that they visited the
locations of those investments. Noting that necessary support was provided for
the solution of these problems.
Noting the difficulties which Georgia experiences, Erdogan said that Turkey
would provide necessary assistance and Georgia was pleased with that.
Erdogan said that they have agreed that Georgia would benefit from Turkey's
political, military, economic, commercial and cultural experiences and the two
countries would take steps in the interest of both countries.
Erdogan said that they reaffirmed the importance which Turkey attributed to the
territorial integrity, stability and prosperity of Georgia. He added that Turkey
would do its best to solve all disputes by dialogue and on the basis of
territorial integrity of Georgia.
Noting that they held meetings about the Abkhazia issue, Erdogan said that
Georgia expects support from Turkey on this issue. He added that Georgia also
expects support regarding the Southern Ossetia issue. Erdogan said that it was
important that Turkey undertakes a peaceful role in such problematic issues and
added that Georgia was positive about the issues regarding Abkhazia Turks, but
that it needed time.
FOREIGN LOANS & AID
IMF approves US$661m loan to Turkey
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board completed the eighth
review of Turkey's economic performance under the Stand-By Arrangement, and
released another tranche of loan worth of US$661m, Anatolia News Agency
Releasing a statement following the meeting of 24-member Executive Board, the
IMF said: "The Executive Board of the IMF today completed the eighth review
of Turkey's economic performance under the Stand-By Arrangement."
"The decision will enable Turkey to draw US$661m from the IMF immediately,
bringing total disbursements to US$17bn under the arrangement," it added.
Turkey, Kazakstan sign new transportation deal, to set up joint company
Turkish Foreign Trade Undersecretary, Tuncer Kayalar, said recently that
transportation problems with Kazakstan had been solved, Anatolia News Agency
Kayalar, who went to Kazakstan between the 2nd and 5th August, gave an
evaluation of his visit to an Anatolia correspondent.
Kayalar said that they discussed foreign trade, transportation, energy,
commercial and economic issues during his visit. He added that the
transportation problem with Kazakstan was solved.
Recalling that under the agreement which was earlier signed with Kazakstan,
3,000 trucks were allowed to pass free, Kayalar said that under the new
agreement which was signed between Turkey and Kazakstan, a Turkish-Kazak it was
decided to establish a joint transportation company.
Kayalar met Kazak transportation minister, education and science first deputy
minister and energy and natural resources first deputy minister during his visit
to Kazakstan. He also attended a meeting which was held with the participation
of Turkish businessmen in Kazakstan.
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