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Saturday, November 28, 1998 Published at 18:19 GMT


World: Europe

Extradite Ocalan - News Online users

Ocalan supporters: Want political solution for Kurds in Turkey

Around three-quarters of of BBC News Online users who expressed an opinion with Talking Point want to see the Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan extradited from Italy to Turkey to face charges of murder and terrorism.

Nearly 2,000 e-mails have been received by Talking Point following the Turkish government's decision to soften its extradition demands last week, saying it might accept him being tried in a third country such as Germany.

Germany, where Mr Ocalan is also wanted on charges of incitement to murder, has decided not to request his extradition from Italy.

Levent Mertsoy from Turkey expressed the view of many that Mr Ocalan must be extradited to face trial for the crimes he allegedly committed.

"He must be extradited to face trial wherever possible for the murders committed. Nobody on the surface of this planet has the right to order the killing of other human beings."

Ugur Tani from the UK, writes: "Being soft on terrorism will support more terrorist activities in the future (as they will know) that they will get away with it".

Reinhard Oppermann from Germany, believes his country should decide in favour of trying Mr Ocalan.

He writes: "Having requested an international warrant against Mr Ocalan upon which the Italian Government acted, Germany now has no other choice than to ask for Ocalan's extradition and put him on trial before a German court.

"Not to do so is most unfair to Italy and shows a deplorable measure of cowardice."

However, Ali Deveci from Austria says he believes Italy should grant Mr Ocalan political asylum because "he is the leader of a party which is fighting for the rights of the Kurdish people in turkey".

He adds: "Italy granted in 1920 political asylum to Marble Musto (Father of the Turks) too, and therefore it contributed to the founding of the Turkish "republic".

"Why shouldn't Italy do the same with Ocalan now to gain autonomy and peace for the Kurdish people?"

Emilios Avgouleas, a lecturer in Law at the University of Manchester in the UK says Mr Ocalan is a victim of the Turkish regime.

"The US and Germany are Western-kind democracies, their international warrants for Mr Ocalan might or might not be based on valid information," he writes.

"Nevertheless, their basis merits investigation, what is completely illogical is only the extradition of Mr Ocalan to be tried in Turkey under manufactured charges without any guarantees for fair trial."

However, E. Pelit, Mexico, says Mr Ocalan does not represent Kurdish persecution. "Ocalan does not represent the Kurdish people...Turkey, for one, helps protect the majority of Kurdish people from the wrath of Saddam.They should both be brought to court. and in Turkey."

Jeff Armstrong from the USA says: "Extraditing a leader who would be an essential element of any peace process would constitute a major setback for peace."

He added: "Political asylum for Ocalan, even conditioned on a continuation of the PKK ceasefire, could contribute considerably towards forcing Turkey to abandon its genocidal military and cultural offensive against the Kurdish nation."

Halil Basaran in the UK, says Turkey should have the right to try Mr Ocalan.

He says: "Turkey has always had the problem that it has been unable to tell its side of the story. Here is just another example.

"Ocalan should be extradited to face charges against humanity."



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