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Saturday, February 20, 1999 Published at 19:22 GMT


World: Europe

Turkish PM urges 'repentance'

Kurdish anger outside the Turkish embassy in Tehran

Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has appealed to Kurdish fighters loyal to Abdullah Ocalan to surrender in exchange for a more lenient punishment.

The Ocalan File
Mr Ecevit said he had received assurances from all parties in parliament that they would back a "repentance law" after the general elections in April.


The BBC's Paul Royall: "Hundreds of activists have been arrested"
The proposal would guarantee reduced sentences for rebels who lay down their arms and give inside information on the organisation.

"Youths hiding in mountains and in caves, come and find refuge with the justice system," said Mr Ecevit. "The state will provide every kind of security measures for you."

But Mr Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on Saturday urged Kurds to attack Turkish state institutions until Mr Ocalan is released to appear before an international court.

Firebombing

Mr Ecevit's offer came as protests continued around the world over Mr Ocalan's capture in Kenya this week.


[ image:  ]
Violence erupted in Rome when Italian youths firebombed the Turkish Airlines office. Police used tear gas to break up the protest.

In Iran, some 3,000 demonstrators converged near the Turkish consulate in the city of Urumiyeh, two days after protesters tried to storm the building.

And about 1,000 Kurds gathered in Bonn to mourn the three Ocalan supporters shot dead as they tried to break into the Israeli consulate in Berlin. Thousands of Kurds are also marching through London.

Attacks on rebel bases

Meanwhile, Turkish troops and war planes are launching attacks on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq for the fifth day running.


Chris Morris on Mr Ecevit's carrot and stick approach
Correspondents say Ankara wants to capitalise on its arrest of Mr Ocalan by blitzing his PKK forces and their bases.

About 10,000 troops are thought to be involved in the operation. But military officials said on Saturday that 4,000 Turkish troops had been pulled back.

Baghdad, which has nominal sovereignty over northern Iraq but no presence there, has strongly condemned the incursion.

High security

Mr Ocalan was seized by Turkish agents on Tuesday after a fortnight staying in the Greek embassy in Nairobi.

He is being held on the high security prison island, Imrali, south of Istanbul.


Turkish Prime Minster Bulent Ecevit: He will not be badly treated
Mr Ecevit has given a personal assurance that Mr Ocalan will be safe in Turkish custody.

However, human rights groups accuse Turkey of already violating the law by refusing Mr Ocalan access to a lawyer of his choosing.





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