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Susurluk verdict: Guilty
|Susurluk verdict: Guilty » Unrest among people of Southeast Anatolia grows » Ihlas assures depositors they will be paid back » MHP accuses Turkes daughters of embezzlement » Turkey facing drought » Baykal: Yunus Emre is a social democrat » FP's Zengin: Parliament no longer represents public opinion » Parliament facelift possible|
| TDN-ee, Domestic News , February 13 , 2001
13 FEBRUARY 2001, Copyright © Turkish Daily News
Susurluk verdict: Guilty
Istanbul - Turkish Daily News
A traffic accident involving a Mercedes Benz and a truck, which occurred in the Susurluk district of Balikesir on Nov. 3, 1996, put Turkey into a long-lasting shock over the shady relations between police officers, politicians and crime bosses which were revealed in the course of the event.
After the Susurluk incident in which two deputies of the True Path Party (DYP), one of whom had also served as interior minister, were implicated, the prosecutor filed charges of "infiltrating the state with illegal gangs" for 14 people, eight of whom were members of special police forces.
The case ended yesterday with sentences that may be considered steep according to the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), with Ibrahim Sahin, former chairman of the Special Action Force of the Security Office, and Korkut Eken, former National Intelligence Organization (MIT) member, receiving six-year prison sentences each.Chronology of Susurluk Case
Nov. 3, 1996: A traffic accident in Susurluk near the city of Balikesir, in which Abdullah Catli, a former ultra-rightist militant wanted by police for multiple murders and drug trafficking; Huseyin Kocadag, a senior police official; and a beauty queen are killed and Sedat Bucak, a Parliament deputy from the DYP is injured. The accident creates political uproar and some charge that this incident highlights the illegal relationship between state officials and the mobsters.
Nov. 8, 1996: Interior Minister Mehmet Agar, smarting under an opposition and media campaign against alleged police links with the underground crime bosses after the car accident in Susurluk, resigns and is promptly replaced by Meral Aksener, a female politician from the DYP.
Nov. 12, 1996: Parliament rules for the establishment of a commission of inquiry to probe into links between senior police officials, organized crime bosses and politicians exposed the Susurluk accident.
Nov. 22, 1996: Suleyman Demirel, who at the time was the President of Turkey, brings party leaders together at a round table summit to seek a consensus on a method of investigating alleged state-mafia connections unearthed after the breaking of the Susurluk scandal.
Dec. 5, 1996: Recently appointed Interior Minister Aksener explains that she discharged Istanbul Chief of Police Kemal Yazicioglu and several Special Team members. Moreover, acting Police Security Department Chief Hanefi Avci was discharged.
Dec. 11, 1996: Agar and Bucak are stripped of their immunities in a vote in the Parliamentary general assembly.
Jan. 10, 1997: The Parliamentary Investigation Commission set up after the accident listens to 41 people, among whom were Bucak and Agar, as witnesses. Later, the chairman of the Commission, Mehmet Elkatmis, apparently says, "I got confused."
Jan. 13, 1997: The Istanbul State Security Court (DGM) had Special Team members Carkin, Ersoy and Yorulmaz are taken into custody.
Jan. 14, 1997: Sedat Bucak's driver Abdulgani Kizilkaya, Mustafa Altunok and Enver Ulu are arrested in connection with the Susurluk incident.
Jan. 23, 1997: Photographs showing Abdullah Catli, one of those killed at Susurluk and the one who was wanted for murder, together with special team members were published in a newspaper. These historical documents were evidence of relations between police and fugitives from the law.
March 11, 1997: Special Operations Department head Ibrahim Sahin is arrested. He is put in Metris prison together with special team members.
May. 26, 1997: Susurluk truck driver Hasan Gokce was sentenced to pay damages.
June 22, 1997: Yasar Oz and Abdulgani Kizilkaya were set free.
Sept. 19, 1997: Police and politicians accused in the Susurluk scandal were absolved.
Nov. 24, 1997: Motherland Party (ANAP) Chairman Mesut Yilmaz is attacked in Budapest in which his nose is broken. It was claimed that he was attacked because he had delved to foar into Susurluk.
Dec. 8, 1997: Judge Akman Akyurek, who helped to prepare the documents related to the Susurluk case and is investigating the criminal gang and its relationship with the state, is the victim of an automobile accident just like Susurluk.
Feb. 6, 1998: Narcotics smuggler Sami Hostan was arrested.
May 4, 1998: Hostan was set free.
In the following days, those who were arrested as suspects in the Susurluk scandal are set free and return to their private lives. A group supported them with the slogan, "Turkey is proud of you."Who is who in the Susurluk scandal
The leading actors of modern Turkey's biggest political scandal in its history are as follows:
Huseyin Kocadag: He was assistant to the Istanbul Chief of Police. He was responsible for ensuring public order in Istanbul. He belonged to Necdet Menzir's team. He liked the easy life. He wore expensive clothes, dined at the best restaurants and held memberships in a number of social organizations. While another state official who received the same salary as Kocadag would have had a hard time even paying the rent, he could afford to be so generous that he presented his lovers with houses. No one had the guts to ask him where he found this money. He died in the Susurluk incident. Left behind was his wife and a number of lovers. His name was never mentioned again when, in fact, he was a main player.
Abdullah Catli: He died in the same vehicle as Kocadag. He was being sought on mass murder charges. He was involved in all sorts of dirty dealings, including drug smuggling. He was a close friend of Kocadag and of a number of state officials. Left behind was a grieving wife and children. Since his lover Gonca Us was with him in the car, she followed him to his final destination.
Sedat Edip Bucak: He survived the Susurluk incident. He refused to give the police a statement, claiming that he lost his memory. In his native town of Sanliurfa, he was welcomed with a ceremony and 300 sheep were slaughtered. People shouted, "Turkey is proud of you." During the ceremony, he made a point of embracing fellow residents of Urfa and addressing them by their first names.
Mehmet Agar: Currently, an independent deputy in Parliament, Agar has climbed from his position as head of police forces to the Ministry of Interior. He was an important actor of the scandal. According to some, he is the only person to have entered the scriptwriter's dark room. Until now, there have been no allegations or videotapes about him. He is a fanatical supporter of the Galatasaray soccer team. It is not known how much money he has. Neither has this point been investigated. He is made the "big boss" in whatever assignment he receives. The part of "big boss" seems to be the only role he relishes.
The second act of the bloody power game predominantly featured special team police members.
Ibrahim Sahin: Once the Susurluk act ended, he emerged as the lead actor in the second part. He is the leader of the special team police forces. Just like Kocadag, he wanted to live in luxury and wear expensive clothes. His name was mentioned in the murder of Omer Lutfu Topal, the deceased casino king. It is claimed that he masterminded the murders of a number of people who got on his wrong side. He spent some time in prison. He was discharged in a ceremony where his forehead was smeared with the blood of slaughtered sheep. His name was later forgotten.
Ayhan Carkin: He is the most bloodthirsty police member in Sahin's team. He claims to have fought against the divisive terrorist groups in southeastern Anatolia for years. Among his friends, he is known as a hard, sharp-witted and unpredictable character. He is thoroughly professional in his work. It is alleged that he played the key role in the murder of a number of businessmen, including Topal. He is not in prison currently. It is known that he has a lot of money to spend.Court jails Eken and Sahin in Susurluk case
Istanbul -The Istanbul State Security Court on Monday handed down jail sentences to a former police officer and an intelligence officer after a lengthy investigation that exposed ties between the state and organized crime.
Ibrahim Sahin, former chief of a special police unit, and Korkut Eken, a former National Intelligence Organization (MIT) officer, were convicted of "founding and directing a gang with the aim of committing crimes" and sentenced to six years in prison.
The conviction stems from the investigation of a 1996 highway accident in which a car carrying a senior policeman, a mafia boss, a former beauty queen and a member of parliament crashed near the town of Susurluk.
All but the MP died in the accident.
Subsequent investigations revealed that Sahin and Eken were part of a broad conspiracy between state officials and nationalist gangs trafficking drugs and weapons.
The court also sentenced 12 other defendants, many of them former policemen, to four years in prison.
The case sparked widespread protests across Turkey demanding an anti-corruption cleanup.
The Susurluk scandal, which focused on the triangle of politicians, police officers and fugitives, was revealed on November 3, 1996 when a car crash occurred in the Susurluk district of Balikesir. The fact that a deputy, a police officer and a fugitive were all together in a Mercedes, which hit a truck, caused people to ask questions.
One person who died at the crash was fugitive Abdullah Catli who was carrying the identity of Mehmet Ozbay. In the crash, in which Gonca Us, who was claimed to be the lover of Catli, died, police director Huseyin Kocabay also lost his life. True Path Party (DYP) deputy Sedat Edip Bucak, the owner of the Mercedes, escaped the crash with serious wounds. After the crash, the Turkish public tried to understand why these people were in the same car and the relationships in which they were involved. The claims about gangs came one after the other and extended to former Internal Minister Mehmet Agar.
During this process, the murder of gambling house king Omer Lutfi Topal also seemed to be part of the puzzle. The names of some special action police officers, who were officials in the investigation of Topal murder, were mentioned in connection with Susurluk. At the end of a turbulent period, special team polices, who had been accused of being involved Topal murder, were arrested.
The Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) established the "Susurluk investigation commission" in order to investigate the claims that were made after the crash. The commission interrogated many people including bureaucrats and deputies. It seemed like it would indeed be hard to disentangle this web of intricate relationships.
To this end, a case was opened at the Istanbul State Security Court against 14 people for establishing a gang by combining the accusations, claims and evidence that was in hand. The suspects were Special Action Forces director Ibrahim Sahin, former MIT member Korkut Eken, special team police officers who were accused of being involved Topal murder and the former partners of Topal. Some of the suspects accepted to their deeds and some of them were arrested at the end of a long pursuit. Most of the suspects, who did not accept the accusations, claimed that they did not know Abdullah Catli either.
Mehmet Agar and Sedat Edip Bucak, whose names were also mentioned in connection with the case, gave testimony at the Susurluk trial, but since they had parliamentary immunity, they could not be tried.
The Topal murder and the Susurluk scandal occupied the public and the peak of the state for a long time. Campaigns calling for "a clean society" were organized. It seemed that there was a demand for the resolution of this murder and for the relations of the gangs with people in high echelons of the state to be understood. Former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said in his speech that if he could not solve Susurluk, he would not have deserved his position.
The Susurluk case was always on the agenda despite short memory lapses but most of the questions remain unanswered today. The suspects of Susurluk case, who were accused of establishing a gang and leading it, were set free after staying in prison for not too long a period of time. The only suspect who did not put into prison was former MIT member Korkut Eken.
Unrest among people of Southeast Anatolia grows
Izmir - Turkish Daily News
In the wake of several serious incidents, such as the assassination of Diyarbakir's Police Chief, people are beginning to fear that terror may rise again in the region. The People's Democracy Party (HADEP) Diyarbakir Branch Chairman Ali Urkut claimed that those who are willing to profit from terror are behind the incidents in a telephone interview with the Turkish Daily News.
"Drugs, guns and oil smuggling are an important income for the under world in the region. The assassination of Diyarbakir's Police Chief Gaffar Okkan in January and the disappearance of the HADEP's Silopi District Chairman Serdar Tanis and General Secretary Ebubekir Deniz are important indicators that reveal some circles are intending to bring the nightmare back - as in the days of 1993," Urkut stated.
"It is possible these two different incidents are in relation. Late Okkan, who contributed to the assurance of a peaceful atmosphere to the region and who is known for his great efforts to find the suspects of mystery murders, is assassinated. Shortly after this event, Tanis and Deniz are lost. People of the region are truly feeling a lot of anxiety, believing that some circles are willing to cause panic and bring back the dark days of the past," Urkut said.
The recent events left the lively streets of Diyarbakir all haunted. "People are anxious. Everybody goes home early. This is a scenario that we know from 1993 when a lot of unknown murders and disappearance took place," Urkut stated.
He said that people on the street are believing that those who are willing to profit from depression and fear could do anything illegal for their own interests.
"Okkan was firm to investigate all illegal activities. Maybe he had gone to deep and found something which he shouldn't found. This is the most important part of the question," he stated.
Urkut called on the government to solve the mystery behind the assassination of Okkan. "Maybe then, Southeastern people can start feeling safe and their worries can be removed," he said.
Claiming that the disappearance of Tanis and Deniz is an important indicator signaling that some circles are wanting to cause confusion in the region, Urkut said, "They were getting threats and they are forced to resign from HADEP. Moreover, there are three eyewitnesses saying that Tanis and Deniz were taken into custody by the Silopi Gendarme."
Gendarme first denied but then announced that they were taken to the Gendarme station, but they were released on the same day. However, after that date nobody has seen them anywhere for 18 days."
Stating that the security forces have restricted Tanis and Deniz from entering the Silopi district, Urkut said "Finally, They could go to Silopi on Jan. 9, Serdar Tanis has given us a petition saying, 'I am going to Silopi, but I am not sure of my safety.' Following the threats, they were taken into custody on Jan. 25."
Urkut said, "We could not have set up our brunch in Sirnak despite being a legal political party, even if we could have entered the district. We had set up our branch in Sirnak at the beginning of 2000, however since that date, our members in Sirnak were oppressed by security forces and they were forced to resign from our party. During this period a lot of party administrators in the district have resigned because of the oppression of the security forces. Latest we have experienced the Silopi event, Serdar Tanis and Ebubekir Deniz. "
Ihlas assures depositors they will be paid back
Ankara - Turkish Daily News
While depositors of Ihlas Finans, whose licence was revoked by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) on Saturday, gathered in front of Ihlas Finans branches across the country demanding their money back, the company announced that all depositors will be paid their money back without any loss.
A large number of depositors, who gathered in front of Ihlas Finans branches in Istanbul, Ankara, Adana and Bursa starting early Monday morning, saw hung on the branch doors press releases from the BDDK and the company which said all depositors will get their money back.
A number of depositors who gathered in front of the Ankara Kizilay branch of the company wanted officials to explain the situation. Seeing the statements, citizens said they had come to obtain detailed information.
The victims, who also noted that the special finance agency didn't enjoy the same guarantee on deposits that normal banks did, stressed that these establishment were supposed to be taken under state guarantee as long as taxes were taken from them as well.
Depositors who gathered in front of the Ihlas Finance General Directorate building and other branches in Istanbul in order to demand their money back were handed the company's press release. While the iron gate of the general directorate headquarters was kept closed, it was observed that police took intense security measures around the building.
Some 30 depositors in front of Ihlas's Cagaloglu branch complained that they had deposited money in the company as it brought interest-free income, however they were face to face with the danger of losing their money at the moment.
At the Adana branch the depositors claimed that they couldn't find any officials to provide information and they evaluated the announcement that they will be paid their money to be "calming politics."
Depositors said they didn't know that the company didn't have state guarantees in place on its funds, and wanted the state to give a guarantee on the return of their money.
Ihlas Finans' written announcement addressing its depositors said that Turkey had been living a very distressing period since November 2000, in terms of the economy.
"At a time when the over night repossession rates reached 2000 percent for the first time, our depositors began to withdraw their money, although they were due to be honored on a specified day. Some rumors began to be spread about our establishment, which resulted in an atmosphere of panic for our depositors and distrust in the finance sector. Our establishment has made $265 million in payments to our depositors over the last three months. Some $235 million of this amount is capital while $30 million of it is interest share. The economic crisis which erupted on Nov. 15, 2000 across the country also caused excessive demands by our depositors and a financial strait broke out due to lack of time. The BDDK has halted our activities due to the air of panic, and some of our depositors' are applying to courts in order to get their funds from us," said the announcement.
"Our depositors will be paid their money down to the very last kurus," continued the announcement, stating that it was impossible for the company to pay all the money deposited in it at once and payments would take time.
Ihlas's written announcement said the company would pay its depositors money after collecting its credits, and the credits that it will collect will provide sufficient funds to pay off the depositors.
"Our depositors will receive announcements from time to time. There's no need for anxiety. We request our distinguished depositors not to esteem the speculations which might be claimed," concluded the announcement.
BDDK on Saturday announced that it revoked the license of Ihlas Finans, a subsidiary of media and industry group Ihlas Holding, on the grounds that the firm is unable to meet its commitments and is facing acute liquidity problems. In a statement on Saturday evening, the BDDK also said Ihlas Finans was discovered to have illicitly transferred funds to shareholders.
The company has been under BDDK watch since December. The company's difficulties have reportedly been exacerbated since the financial crisis in November last year. The BDDK urged Ihlas Finans to expand capital and the company's provisions with the Central Bank have been released in order to provide some relief. But the action could not be performed quickly enough and the company failed to overcome liquidity problems.
According to the banking law, which went into effect on Dec. 12, 1999, special finance agencies, known also as Islamist banks, operate on a profit and loss sharing basis and avoid interest earning investment instruments but do not enjoy a state guarantee on deposits like normal banks do. Hence, when their licenses are canceled, they are not handed over to the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund, but are liquidated. Special finance agencies are required to adapt themselves to the same banking law by the end of 2001.
Ihlas Finans was established in 1995 and has a capital of TL 10 trillion. Around 34.5 percent of the company is listed on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. The share closed last week at TL 860, compared to around TL 1,500 in mid-January.
According to information provided by the company, Ihlas had around 200,000 depositors holding TL 650 trillion in funds. Depositors should now seek to collect their claims through court cases, which would mean a two to three year process, as their claims will be taken into account after those of lenders and the public sector.
MHP accuses Turkes daughters of embezzlement
Ankara - Turkish Daily News
The TL 1.12 trillion, which had the late Alparslan Turkes' daughters at each others' throats, was reportedly the contents of a slush fund given the former leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) by the European Turkish Federation, reported Hurriyet yesterday. An exclusive interview held by Hurriyet with a former aide of Turkes' concerning the TL 1.12 trillion, which has been the subject of much controversy in the press in recent days, revealed that the money in question "was not MHP money, nor was it Turkes' personal money. It was a kind of slush fund given to Turkes by the European Turkish Federation after it had collected money from its members in order to be used to advance Turkist movements." The former aide, who is not named by Hurriyet, went on to say that very few people had been aware of the existence of the fund and that he knew Turkes' had used some of the money in the fund to help those fighting against the Russians in Chechnya.
The aide stated the money should have been returned to the federation upon Turkes' death. "The money had been allocated in Turkes' name for him to use but now it's being spent on a law trial. The money was not Turkes' personal money, so his daughters should not inherit it. What's wrong here is that one daughter withdrew the money and the other filed a law suit to get a share of it. When they say they spent the money on charity, they are lying. What they did was to embezzle this money. (...) It's not right that this money has become the subject of an inheritance case."Further developments
The Justice Ministry reportedly wrote to Deutsche Bank in England asking for original documentation signed by both Ayzit Turkes and Umay Gunay showing how the TL 1.12 trillion was withdrawn, reported Milliyet yesterday. Furthermore, it became apparent during the fraud trial opened by Ayyuce Turkes (from his second marriage) against the other daughters at Ankara Number Seven Higher Criminal Court that the two girls had not waited the statutory 52 days after Turkes' death before withdrawing the fortune. A document signed by Turkes some time before his death on Apr. 4, 1997 was sent to Deutsche Bank in England by the two girls on May 15, 1997. The bank reportedly acted immediately and transferred the money into accounts specified by the two girls. All this has been verified in official documents. However, prosecutors say they can find no trace of any document saying the money was brought into Turkey. Ayzit Turkes maintains the money was spent on charities.
Turkey facing drought
Ankara - Turkish Daily News
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Husnu Gokalp in his opening address at a meeting of Provincial Agricultural Managers in Ankara yesterday devoted a great deal of it to the topic on drought in Turkey and accused previous administrations of neglect, the Anatolia news agency reported. Gokalp maintained that by virtue of its geography and its resources, Turkey should be a leader in agriculture and said Turkey was a country without Land Law or any legislation regulating rural services.
Gokalp stated that Turkey was facing a very real threat of drought and said the country was fast losing natural features that caused rain to fall: "How do you expect it to rain when the fields are being replaced by concrete, when the orchards in Tarsus and Mersin are being torn up, when you remove the greenery from Kusadasi, when you lay concrete between peach orchards and when the amount of forestry, which was 40 million hectares in Ataturk's time, has been reduced to just 10 million? Turkey needs fields in order to preserve the rain cycle. Every drop of water that is not kept in dam reservoirs and so reaches the sea; ever drop that flows across the border without being used in some way is wasted. Turkey is not a country rich in dams. There are many small dams and reservoirs the construction of which began years ago but which have not been completed because of lack of funding. By neglecting agriculture, not even industry and tourism will reach the levels desired. God save us from turning into Afghanistan."How did we get into this state?
Gokalp noted the process by which Turkey found itself facing a drought and blamed previous administrations and policies of indifference and neglect. He noted that the 1980s had been a period when the agricultural sector had been totally neglected, when vastly insufficient funding had been allocated to State Water Works (DSI) and when the Soil and Irrigation Organization had been closed down. He said as a result of this water had been prevented from getting into the soil and feeding the vegetation. "There should be 600 mm of rain on average in Turkey every year, but this has fallen to 230 mm," he said and went on to say that those who had recommended closing down the Food Produce General Directorate, the Soil and Irrigation Organization and the animal rearing sector on the grounds that all this could be imported anyway had directly caused Turkey's fields to become neglected. Gokalp called for the immediate establishment of a Water Commission that would be chaired by his own ministry with representatives from the ministries of Energy and Natural Resources, Forestry and Finance as well as from the State Planning Organization (DPT) and the Treasury. He further called for the writing up and passing of a Water Law as soon as possible.
In a related issue, the Mayor of Bartin Riza Yalcinkaya called yesterday for sensible and expedient use of water in order to avert a water crisis in the days ahead. Mayor Yalcinkaya told reporters that only nine kilograms of rain had fallen on the Western Black Sea town, whereas that figure should be in the region of 155 kilograms. He noted there were 22,000 water customers in Bartin and that some 15,000 cubic meters of water was used every day. He said that not only the municipality had to take steps to preserve what water they had but also the citizens of the town had to use water sparingly or they would face a huge water shortage in the summer, which would also damage the lucrative tourist season. He said people should not wash their cars so often, should take showers rather than baths and should ensure that leaking taps were repaired. "Let's not forget: water is life, but wasteful use of water is a sin," he said.
Baykal: Yunus Emre is a social democrat
Ankara - Turkish Daily News
Deniz Baykal, who recently made an astonishing comeback with some brand new ideas, now argues that social democracy in Turkey has roots in its own history. Baykal resigned in the wake of the April 18, 1999 general elections that left the Republican People's Party (CHP) out of Parliament for the first time in Turkish history. Baykal returned to leadership on Sept. 30 with an extraordinary congress but this time he was quite different from the previous Baykal. He now says the Anatolian enlightenment in the 13th century should be the beacon of Turkish social democrats. Yunus Emre, Mevlana, Sheikh Bedreddin are his new role models for Turkish society. See the full interview with Baykal in tomorrow's copy.
FP's Zengin: Parliament no longer represents public opinion
Ankara - Turkish Daily News
The Virtue Party (FP) deputy leader Bahri Zengin said during a press conference at FP headquarters yesterday that Parliament no longer represented the public and added, "Parliament has become an assembly where conditions put forth by EU, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and National Security Council are being discussed," the Anatolia news agency reported.
Stating that the Parliament was "busy discussing the conditions demanded by the Westerners" instead of being occupied with the genuine agenda of the country and the problems of the public, Zengin went on to talk about corruption and mentioned the 'Scorpion Operation' into alleged corruption in the Turkish Language Council (TDK). Zengin said both society and the state were laid waste to by corruption just like cancer. Zengin accused the government of preparing a platform suitable for the emergence of corruptions.
Recalling that religious citizens were deliberately being avoided by the public institutions, Zengin said deteriorations were being noted in almost every aspect of society. Zengin also added that people were trying to practise atheism as an ideology in the name of 'secularism.'
Stating that the economy of today was "far from being a free market economy" but merely a system of daylight robbery, Zengin expressed that almost everything in Turkey had to be changed.
In reply to questions by journalists, Zengin said he was not one of those deputies who had invested their money in Ihlas Finans, a financial establishment operating on an Islamic non-interest basis, and which declared bankruptcy on Feb. 10, when the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDA) cancelled its operational permit. Expressing that he had doubts regarding the formation of such institutions on sound bases, Zengin said that it was rather difficult to establish a non-profit banking system under such economical conditions and before the formation of a suitable socioeconomic and political structure.
Parliament facelift possible
Ankara - Turkish Daily News
The new parliament on which millions of dollars had been spent, including the controversial fawn-skin chairs imported from Italy at a reported $6,000 a piece, is now the subject of restoration discussions again. This time the problem with the Parliament is the rostrum's location which causes the parliamentarians addressing the parliament to turn their back to the Cabinet. Another restoration or a possible design change is on the way in order to enable the speakers to build eye contact with the Cabinet members.
In reply to questions by the journalists the state minister Mehmet Kececiler said that the deficiency should have been dealt with much earlier. Stating the need felt by the parliamentarians to establish eye contact with the Cabinet members, Kececiler said that a design change to meet that need was possible.
Meanwhile some other ministers such as Environment Minister Fevzi Aytekin and Forestry Minister Nami Cagan commented on the issue briefly saying, "There must have emerged a serious need, then." Labour and Social Security Minister Yasar Okuyan, on the other hand said, "We must be in deep trouble if we have to restore the general assembly every three or five years. What is wrong with it anyway?" After the fight over parliamentary statutes broke out two weeks ago in which True Path Party (DYP) deputy for Sanliurfa Fevzi Sihanlioglu died of a heart attack, deputies with degrees in psychiatry suggested the design and color of the General Assembly plus the red of the chairs all contributed to high tensions and fraying tempers.( $=684.500 TL Official Rate)
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