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Sunday, February 21, 1999 Published at 17:20 GMT

World: Europe

Turkish PM criticises EU for interference in the Ocalan affair

The Turkish prime minister, Bulent Ecevit, has again criticised European Union countries saying they had tried to interfere in the Kurdish issue and the forthcoming trial of the Kurdish separatist leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

Mr Ecevit said there were subconscious trends of racism in Europe and elements who wanted to divide Turkey. He said Turkey would never differentiate between Turks and Kurds. He urged the EU foreign ministers, gathered in Luxembourg, to examine the behaviour of Greece, which, in Turkey's eyes, had breached EU's obligations in sheltering Mr Ocalan.

Earlier the Italian Prime Minister, Massimo D'Alema, called on the EU to press Turkey to ensure that Abdulah Ocalan gets a fair trial.

Mr Ecevit also said Turkish armed forces had ended current operations against Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq.

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