Call for Ocalan 13 acquittal

An Athens prosecutor yesterday called for charges to be dropped against 13 people accused of smuggling Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan into Greece in 1999. Nikolaos Seitis argued that although the clandestine arrival of Turkey’s most wanted man in January 1999 placed Greece’s peaceful international relations at great risk, as Ankara had threatened to declare war on any country that gave succor to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader, the defendants – including Ocalan – had no intention of sparking a confrontation. Had the defendants wished to cause a war, he said, they would have publicized Ocalan’s arrival. According to Seitis, retired navy commodore Antonis Naxakis, who was at the heart of the plot, was «a man who loves his country, an able officer who is well-versed in the Kurdish issue and an ardent supporter of the Kurdish people.» Presented by Naxakis with a fait accompli, Greece smuggled Ocalan to its embassy in Nairobi, outside which he was abducted by Turkish agents on February 15, 1999. Ocalan is now serving a life sentence in a Turkish jail.

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