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Friday, 19 February, 1999, 02:41 GMT
How Turkey got its man
Ocalan captured
Special agents accompanied Mr Ocalan back to Turkey
As Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan languishes inside a Turkish jail, the mystery surrounding his capture in Kenya is taking on the appearance of an archaeological puzzle.

What is certain is that in early February 1999, with no European country wanting to give him refuge, Turkey's public enemy number one decided to fly to Greece.

BBC Athens Correspondent Paul Wood says Mr Ocalan enlisted the help of a retired Greek naval commander to get to Corfu.

When he landed in Corfu, the Greeks decided to take charge of matters.

They knew Mr Ocalan's presence in Greece would anger Turkey, so the decision was made to fly him to Nairobi.

Greece then tried to find a sanctuary for Mr Ocalan in one of three other African countries.

Then for some, as yet unknown reason, Mr Ocalan left the Greek embassy for Nairobi airport.

The Greeks say Mr Ocalan defied their advice, entered into his own negotiations and decided to leave the embassy compound.

But questions remain to be answered and there are many theories to answer them.

Kenyan denials

So far, Kenya has dismissed any suggestion that it was involved in Mr Ocalan's refuge in the capital.

Nairobi is adamant that when it discovered the fugitive Kurdish leader was staying at the Greek ambassador's residence, Athens was told to remove him from Kenyan territory.

Kenyan Foreign Minister Bonyana Godana accuses the Greek ambassador of bringing the PKK leader into Kenya illegally on 3 February.

London protests
Protests outside the Greek embassy in London
The Greeks however say the Kenyans had everything to do with it. Athens says that Kenyan security forces drove Mr Ocalan to the airport where, he believed, he would fly to the Netherlands.

But the car was spirited away during the journey, Greek officials say, and the Kurdish leader ended up in Turkey.

Nairobi has hotly denied this version of events and accused Athens of lying.

CIA connection?

There are unofficial signs that the US might have been involved in the capture.

Robert Fox, an expert on diplomatic affairs, says it would be highly unlikely for Washington not to have known about Mr Ocalan's refuge, as one of the CIA's main stations is in Nairobi.

But, a spokesman for Washington, which is desperate to retain Turkey's backing for its battle against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, said the US "had no direct involvement".

Israeli similarities

Analysts also say there may have been an Israeli role in the arrest.

They say Mr Ocalan's capture bears the hallmarks of an Israeli operation, citing in particular the spiriting away 20 years ago of nuclear scientist Mordechi Vananu.

Israel denies any role in this latest operation but it would give the US great satisfaction to see Israel and Turkey cosying up together.

Meanwhile in Ankara, Turkish newspapers described the capture as a national triumph over arch enemy Greece.

They say Turkish special forces flew to Kenya in an executive jet and snatched the leader from under the nose of the Greeks.

The media also reasons that the Turks must have had help from someone, either Kenya or the US.

The BBC's Jeremy Bowen
"The Turkish government thinks they have scored a big victory"
News and background on Abdullah Ocalan

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