Naxakis was ‘bait in vile plot’

A retired naval officer at the center of the trial of 13 people for smuggling Turkey’s most wanted man into Greece in 1999 yesterday accused government officials of having manipulated him as part of a plot to betray Abdullah Ocalan to Ankara. The affair, which ended with the Kurdish separatist leader’s capture by Turkish agents in Nairobi – where he had been hidden in the Greek Embassy – in February 1999, was Greece’s biggest post-WWII diplomatic fiasco. In his testimony yesterday, retired Commodore Antonis Naxakis told the court that the government – Costas Simitis’s first administration – had drawn up an «organized plan» to hand Ocalan over to the Turkish authorities. «They used me as bait in their vile scheme,» he said. «I involuntarily aided the conspiracy against Ocalan.» Naxakis has been charged with endangering Greece’s security by bringing the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) chief into the country in January 1999. He claimed yesterday to have warned the secret service that Ocalan might be brought to Greece, and said the government had intentionally let the PKK leader in.

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