ECONOMY

Ecevit may exit hospital today, calls on nationalists to back EU reforms

ISTANBUL -Turkey’s aging prime minister, Bulent Ecevit, recuperating from illness, was quoted as saying on Saturday his health was improving quickly and calling on his rightist coalition partners to back stalled EU reforms. Financial markets were shocked when the 76-year-old leader was admitted to hospital eight days ago and there was talk of an early election in the crisis-hit EU candidate country, which is grappling with an International Monetary Fund (IMF) review and sensitive reforms it must pass to begin EU membership talks. But Ecevit said intense physiotherapy in an Ankara hospital meant he would most likely attend a military-civilian National Security Council meeting on Friday expected to discuss lifting the death penalty and increasing democratic rights for Turkey’s Kurdish minority. «I am much better and feel well. I think I’ll attend the meeting. My current state of health presents no obstruction,» Ecevit was quoted as saying in the Turkish daily Milliyet. It was the first statement from the prime minister since he entered hospital. He has been suffering from a blood clot condition in his left leg. Reforms above politics Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said on Friday EU reforms were above politics and called a summit of the leaders of all Turkey’s political parties to discuss the measures, which the government coalition Nationalist Action Party (MHP) opposes. Ecevit, often at odds with the reformist president who has vetoed a swath of government reforms on democratic grounds, said the impasse over the EU must come to an end and approved the summit, due to be convened shortly. «The meeting on the EU laws was Mr Sezer’s idea. I think it will be very useful. The MHP and Mr (Devlet) Bahceli are already bound to these reforms… They are irreversible conditions for EU membership.» Bahceli’s MHP party committed itself to the EU criteria after Brussels declared Muslim Turkey a candidate in 1999 but the fractious three-party government has dragged its feet on several measures amid worries they will threaten Turkey’s unity. Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, head of Turkey’s third coalition Motherland Party (ANAP), said on Saturday his party backed the measures in statements carried by local news channels. «President Sezer’s invitation can add much to improving the consensus. Each party has its own approach but consensus can only be achieved by overcoming the problems,» Yilmaz said. Turkey has also been slow to deal with pledges under a $16-billion IMF pact after crisis ripped through its financial markets in February 2001. The decades-long division on the divided island of Cyprus has also sparked tensions, as Brussels pushes for a solution between Greek and Turkish Cypriots ahead of the island’s accession to the EU in the next wave of admissions. You are referring to the views of Dr Ian Wilmut, the «father» of Dolly, Dr Rudolph Jaenisch of MIT, and others. They are very reputable people, who think they know everything. What I want to ask is this: just because these or other scientists have not developed their techniques, does this mean that the same applies to everyone? Furthermore, according to many studies, cloning animals has been far more successful since 1998. The successful cloning of goats has improved to comprise 32 percent of total embryo transplants; with cows, the figure is 80 percent, way above the 3-percent figure when Dolly was cloned in 1995. These percentages are close to or surpass the corresponding success rates for artificial reproduction. And all this has happened in the last three years, while artificial reproductive technology has a 24-year history. Of course, this does not mean there are no problems.