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Antenna: News in English (PM), 99-03-01

Antenna News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna <> - email:


  • [01] Simitis
  • [02] The interrogations about Ocalan case continue
  • [03] Dillan's occusations
  • [04] Concert

  • [01] Simitis

    European socialists are calling for a fair trial for Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, soon to stand trial on terrorist charges in Turkey.

    Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis sponsored a motion to ensure that Ocalan's rights are protected - the document also underscores the opposition of the Eurosocialists to terrorism.

    Meeting in Milan, Simitis and his Eurocolleagues also renewed the European Union's appeal to Ankara to allow foreign observers to attend the Ocalan trial.

    The motion calls for an end to Turkish military action against the Kurds, an end to the death penalty in Turkey, and, more generally, respect for human rights there.

    According to the Turkish Human Rights Union, 577 people were tortured while in police custody in 1998.

    The resolution reminds Ankara that meeting those demands is a pre-condition to closer relations between Turkey and the EU.

    [02] The interrogations about Ocalan case continue

    The prosecutor's investigation into whether or not non-political personages are criminally liable in the arrival of Ocalan in Greece at the end of January, and the fact that he ended up in the hands of the Turks two weeks later is expected to be completed by Wednesday. On Monday, former Greek ambassador to Kenya Giorgos Kostoulas made his deposition.

    Considered a key witness because he was the one who was in direct contact with Athens while Ocalan was at his Nairobi residence, former Greek ambassador to Kenya Giorgo Kostoulas spent over ten hours with the prosecutors.

    During the Kostoulas deposition, the investigators decided to call in Greek secret service major Savvas Kalenterides - at the embassy in Kenya when Ocalan was there - for a second time before wrapping up their preliminary investigation.

    Sources say that's because in his initial testimony, Kalenterides stopped at the point when he arrived in Nairobi. Following what Kostoulas said about what transpired thereafter, the prosecutors deemed it fitting that Kalenterides give his version.

    The three Kurdish women who accompanied Kostoulas and Ocalan to the airport on the day the latter was abducted say Kostoulas defied his orders from Athens to abandon them at the airport and return alone to the embassy.

    The prosecutor's office is in a race against time to get its report filed, because there's a possibility that a parliamentary committee to investigate the affair may also be set up; if that happens, then the prosecutor's investigation must stop dead in its tracks.

    In the report, the chief prosecutor is expected to bring charges against people not associated with the government.

    [03] Dillan's occusations

    Semsi Dillan-Koullouch, one of the three Ocalan associates who were with the Kurdish leader in Kenya - raised a storm of controversy Saturday, when she publicly accused the Greek prime minister of being involved in an international conspiracy to see that Ocalan ended up in the hands of Turkey.

    Dillan-Koullouch spoke after making her statement to the prosecutor handling the Ocalan investigation.

    At a press conference Saturday, Dillan-Koullouch, granted police protection in Greece when she arrived in Athens from Kenya Friday night, pointed an accusing finger at prime minister Kostas Simitis and former leading cabinet members.

    Simitis, and three of his ministers - all forced to resign after the Ocalan abduction - gave Ocalan over to the Turks, said Koullouch, a leading member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK, outlawed in Turkey.

    Dillan-Koullouch, Ocalan's secretary, added that the Kurdish leader's abuction was the climax of an international conspiracy that Simitis and then- foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos were part of.

    So were Alekos Papadopoulos - then-interior minister, then-public order minister Fillipos Petsalnikos, and the former head of the Greek secret service. The conspirators included the American CIA, the Israeli Mossad, and the Turkish MIT, and the Russians.

    Dillan-Koullouch also maintained that Pangalos never informed Ocalan that he was being sent from Greece to Kenya.

    The PKK spokeswoman's comments left many prominent Greeks irate, and feeling that Dillan-Koullouch is lacking in gratitude to the country that's helped her. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas called her remarks a delirious anti-Greek outburst.

    Adding that Greece will never stop providing humanitarian help to oppressed peoples, he also insinutated that Dillan-Koullouch had gone to far, calling on the Kurds to refrain from taking on roles that belong to the Greek people - meaning the right to judge the country's leaders.

    Composer Mikis Theodorakis was thrown into an indignant rage by Dillan- Koullouch's press conference. Calling her an ingrate, he cancelled his decision to perform at a concert Monday night intended as a show of solidarity with the Kurdish people.

    Theodorakis said Dillan-Koullouch's comments were an attack not just on the government, but on the Greek people as a whole.

    The Greek people, he concluded, need to pull together against such attacks.

    Thanking Theodorakis for his intervention, justice minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos said he could understand Dillan-Koulouch making the outrageous and unsubstantiated claims - it was, he said, an expression of her pain.

    Pasok MP Yiannis Kapsis, an opponent of the prime minister within Pasok, called Dillan-Koullouch's accusations unfounded and arbitrary. They raise serious questions about the credibility of the Kurdish leadership, he said.

    Later Saturday, Dillan-Koulouch said that her initial remarks were being distorted. She reminded her detractors that she had thanked the Greek people for their support - her criticism was of five specific people, no one else.

    In a derisory response to Theodorakis, she referred to him ironically as a defender of downtrodden peoples. And she thanked him, again ironically, for at last referring publicly to the Kurdish plight - even if in a negative context.

    After Koullouch's comments, New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis repeated his call for the prime minister to resign.

    But another leading party member, former New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert took a different view Monday. Worried about the potential damage the Ocalan affair to Greece, Evert believes that this is not the time to attack the government. What's important is to determine whether or not mistakes were made in the Ocalan case and, if so, how they can be avoided in the future.

    The other parties were critical of the government. Democratic Movement leader Dimitris Tsovolas said the only service the Simitis government can perform for the nation now is to call for a general election.

    And Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras said the Dillan-Koullouch press conference only confirmed what everyone already knew: that Simitis and Pangalos gave Ocalan to the Turks.

    [04] Concert

    As we heard earlier, there was a concert in solidarity with Ocalan and the Kurdish people in Athens Monday evening.

    Forty singers took part in the open air concert attended by thousands of people.

    Composer Mikis Theodorakis and several other artists withdrew from the concert after Kurdish spokeswoman Semsi Dillan-Koulouch accused the prime minister of being part of an international conspiracy against Ocalan.

    Some of the performers who took part in the event said that while they can understand Theodorakis's feelings, Dillan-Koullouch's comments don't change anything: their efforts were on behalf of the oppressed Kurdish people.

    (c) Antenna 1999

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