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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 99-02-16
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
BRIEF GREEK NEWS BULLETIN BY THE MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY
Thessaloniki, February 16, 1999
NEWS IN DETAIL
 THE GREEK GOVERNMENT HANDLED THE OCALAN AFFAIR PRUDENTLY AND RESPONSIBLY
Athens 16 February (MPA)The Greek government handled the Ocalan affair prudently and responsibly in order to protect the interests of the country and made the right choices aimed at avoiding to create further risks for Ocalan, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, who condemned the occupation Greek embassies and consulates around the world by Kurds. Mr. Reppas said that such actions are hostile actions against Greece.
The Greek government spokesman stated that the fact that the plan of the Kurds to occupy Greek embassies and consulates was not handled in time is an issue concerning the governments and the responsible authorities of each country that have the responsibility to protect the foreign diplomatic missions.
The government spokesman announced that Ocalan's request to stay in Greece could not be accepted under any circumstance but the Greek government had offered him shelter in Kenya for humanitarian reasons. He said that he was absolutely safe there but his decision to move to another country in consultation with the Kenyan authorities was unfortunate. Mr. Reppas stated that the Greek government has no responsibility whatsoever and announced that Athens almost persuaded certain African states to allow Ocalan to move to their territory. Mr. Reppas said that this plan was not implemented and added that it was the choice of Ocalan himself.
The Greek government spokesman made it clear that the Kurdish problem is an international problem and must be resolved with political, diplomatic and peaceful means and can not be turned into a Greek-Turkish problem.
 THE EXILED KURDISH PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT CALLED FOR THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE KURDS OCCUPYING THE GREEK EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES
Athens 16 February (MPA)The exiled Kurdish Parliament president Yassar Kaya in a press conference he gave in Athens, called on the Kurds, who have occupied the Greek embassies and consulates around the world, to withdraw and free the hostages they are holding.
He said to reporters that the occupiers do not know exactly what goes on and pointed out that it is not possible to control all those who have resorted to such actions, while he attributed the embassy and the consulate occupations to the wish of the Kurds to find out the whereabouts of their leader.
The representative of the Kurds did not determine what will be their next reactions. Governing socialist party of PASOK parliament deputies Stelios Papathemelis and Kostas Badouvas were present in the press conference.
Mr. Papathemelis spoke of "stupid and idiotic handling" and stated that it will be the biggest shame in the modern Greek history if Ocalan is in the hands of the Turkish authorities.
 OCALAN WAS ABDUCTED BY TURKISH AGENTS
Thessaloniki 16 February (MPA)Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan is in the hands of the Turkish secret services after a movie-like abduction from Kenya where he was staying at a Greek house.
The arrest of Ocalan was announced by Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit avoiding to give more details. The Turkish prime minister characterized Ocalan's arrest as a success of the Turkish secret service, MIT, stressing that the operation was made possible with top secrecy and with the coordinated moves of the secret services.
The Kurdish leader had expressed the wish last night to go to The Hague to request political asylum from the Dutch government. Ignoring the advise of the Greek ambassador to Nairobi, Ocalan insisted in his request and in cooperation with the authorities of Kenya a convoy was organized to bring him to the airport. However, on the way to the airport his car changed course and moved toward an unknown destination. At 3 o'clock in the early morning hours of today, he was brought to Istanbul accompanied by Turkish agents on board a private plane and from there he was taken to Ankara.
 THE OCALAN AFFAIR TURNS INTO A THRILLER
Thessaloniki 16 February (MPA)The Ocalan affair has turned into a thriller. According to foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos the Greek government for humanitarian reasons had agreed to host Ocalan in a Greek house in Kenya for a period of 12 days.
Yesterday evening, Ocalan announced to the Greek ambassador in Nairobi that he intends to go to The Hague to request asylum from the Dutch government. In spite of Greece's advises to the opposite, Ocalan insisted in his views and a convoy was organized to bring him to the Nairobi Airport. During the short trip to the airport the car with the Kurdish leader changed its course and disappeared to an unknown destination.
The Greek government has no information on the fate of Ocalan and asked for official information from the foreign ministry of Kenya. Also, the Greek government has briefed the EU president on the issue while at the same time has asked the US government for relevant information.
 TERRORIST OPERATIONS BY KURDS IN 10 GREEK EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES
Thessaloniki 16 February (MPA)Tragic events were caused by small groups of Kurds in many European countries. Kurds forcefully occupied the Greek embassies in Bonn, London, Vienna, Brussels and The Hague as well as the consulates of Greece in Hanover, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Stuttgard.
In Vienna, Greek ambassador Mr. Gennimatas is being held by the Kurds, while in The Hague armed Kurds hold hostages the wife and the 8yearold child of Greece's ambassador to Holland Mr. Angelakis. The small boy is being threatened with hand grenades.
Foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos condemned those actions as acts of extreme brutality and called on the PKK leadership to order its members to leave the Greek embassy and consulate grounds they have occupied around the world as they regarded Greek territory. Mr. Pangalos gave them until 12 at noon today warning them that the Greek government prepares a plan aimed at dealing with this organization and its leadership.
 PANGALOS: THE GREEK POSITIONS ARE BEING VINDICATED BY THE DEVELOPMENTS
Athens 16 February (MPA)The developments concerning the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan as well as the occupations of 10 Greek embassies and consulates justify the prudent and according to the international principles behavior of the Greek government and constitute a big lesson for all those who exploit patriotism in a systematic way for their own personal benefits.
The statement was made by foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos in the press conference he gave this morning saying that the events underway give an overwhelming response to all those who tried to make Greece part of the Kurdish problem. "The events give an overwhelming response to all those wherever they are as they clearly prove that Greece should not have become a part of this conflict which concerns us as human beings and as members of the world community but it was not and should not become our affair", said Mr. Pangalos.
Mr. Pangalos said that Greece is against the separatist movements, the armed revolts and the acts of violence and terrorism but it supports the protection of minorities, human rights and democratic freedoms. He said that those are the principles Greece has always implemented in the case of the Kurdish problem which Athens has repeatedly brought before the international community but unfortunately our interlocutors did not assume their responsibilities.
On Ocalan's move after he left Syria the Greek position was that his presence on Greek territory would not have been useful to the struggle of the Kurdish people and the recognition of its rights, while it could also hurt the safety, stability and peace in the region.
The transformation of the Kurdish problem, which is an international problem of human rights and an internal problem of Turkey, into a Greek-Turkish dispute would have only benefited the enemies of the Kurdish people and democracy, said the Greek foreign minister.
On the asylum request by Ocalan, Mr. Pangalos said that based on articles 7, 8 and 11 of the 1996/1991 law which regulates the free movement in the EU, every subsequent asylum request made is referred to the country that received the initial asylum request. Mr. Pangalos said that even if Ocalan has filed such an application it was the obligation of the Greek government, based on the Greek law and the international agreements, to send this application to Italy to be examined with the initial application that was submitted to this country.
After Ocalan's failed attempt to go to Holland, Greece faced the humanitarian obligation to allow his airplane to land on Greek territory for refueling but Greece stated to him that he is not welcomed and allowed the plane to depart for Kenya. Ocalan, said Mr. Pangalos, stayed in Kenya for 12 days and Greece offered him a place to stay for humanitarian reasons.