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World - Europe

Ocalan lawyer says fair trial unlikely in Turkey


CNN's Jerrold Kessel listens to Turkish views as Ocalan prepares for trial
Windows Media 28K 80K

February 19, 1999
Web posted at: 8:58 p.m. EST (0158 GMT)

In this story:

Kurds, U.N. see few signs of Turkish incursion

Turkish prime minister says commandos got a tip


AMSTERDAM (CNN) -- An attorney for Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan said Friday her client will not get a fair trial in Turkey and none of his lawyers has been able to see him.

Ocalan has been held on a prison island off Istanbul since Turkish commandos seized him in Kenya on Monday.

Turkey accuses Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), of launching a campaign for Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey that has killed more than 30,000 since 1984. His lawyer, Britta Boehler, said Dutch attorneys have not been allowed to travel to Turkey, and Turkish attorneys who tried to see Ocalan were arrested.

Boehler said a trial likely will start next week, and she believed the Turkish government would move swiftly to convict Ocalan.

"I do not believe that he will get a fair trial according to standards like in Europe or the U.S.," Boehler said.

Ocalan faces a possible death sentence for treason, although Turkey has not executed anyone since 1984.

Kurds, U.N. see few signs of Turkish incursion

Meanwhile, on the border of Turkey, Kurdish and U.N. officials saw little evidence Friday of what Turkish news sources called a major incursion into northern Iraq to crush PKK rebels.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which controls the region where Turkey said it sent 10,000 troops backed by helicopters, observed no unusual troop movements.

KDP fighters about 10 km (6 miles) from where Ankara said its troops had crossed the border said they'd seen no helicopters in the vicinity.

U.N. officials in northern Iraq said they had received no reports of a major Turkish incursion. Turkey several times in the last year announced a major offensive across the border which appeared to have been a normal changeover of troops.

Iraq has in the past allowed Turkish troops 15 km (9 miles) into its territory to pursue the PKK, but now says those encroachments infringe its sovereignty.

Turkish prime minister says commandos got a tip

On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said Turkey got a tip from another country that led to Ocalan's capture in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

Ecevit did not disclose which country, but added, "You can make your own guess."

Ocalan's lawyer said it was the United States. Boehler said she had "solid information that American intelligence services cooperated with Athens to get him (Ocalan) out of Europe."

The United States has denied any involvement in his arrest.

The aftershocks of Ocalan's capture continued to be felt throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis fired his foreign minister, Theodoros Pangalos, and two other Cabinet officers over the Ocalan affair. Greece has been criticized by other European countries for allowing Ocalan's capture. Simitis said the rebel leader was being sheltered in the Greek Embassy in Nairobi after most European countries shunned him.

Pro-Ocalan demonstrations continued in several cities. Romanian riot police used tear gas against 150 protesters trying to march on the Greek Embassy in Bucharest. In Switzerland, Kurdish activists occupied the headquarters of a political party in Bern and took two people hostage on Friday, a party official said.

Protesters in Beirut burned a Turkish flag and condemned the United States and Israel, also rumored to have aided Turkey. Kurds in Nicosia, Cyprus, ended a three-day hunger strike outside the Greek Embassy, while about 2,000 demonstrators in the Iranian capital of Tehran chanted "We will burn you" outside the Turkish Embassy there.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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Kurdistan Workers Party Information
The Republic of Turkey
President of the Turkish Republic
The Center for Kurdish Political Studies
Terrorist acts by the PKK
Turkish Press Review: Daily News
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