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Thursday, February 18, 1999 Published at 22:53 GMT

Kurdish reaction to Ocalan's arrest

Kurdish political groups in Turkey, Iraq and European exile have called for justice for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah "Apo" Ocalan, following his arrest by Turkish security forces.

Reactions varied from demands for more violence against the Turkish state, to an international campaign for his release, to a call for a fair trial.

And the leadership of the PKK has vowed to fight on in Turkey, and called on Kurds in Europe to continue peaceful protests demanding the release of Ocalan.

Struggle continues

In a statement read out on London-based Kurdish Med TV, the PKK said: "The message of our people and our party is very clear: Never, under any conditions, will there be a PKK without Apo and a Kurdish solution without the PKK."

"The PKK, all the organisations attached to it, and our patriotic people have a single spokesman and a single statesman, and the political solution of the Kurdish problem has a single interlocutor - Chairman Apo".

The statement by the PKK Chairmanship Council said Ocalan himself had launched the fight, and that only a second order by him could end it.

"It is not up to us but to those who hatched this plot to create the conditions for that," the statement said, referring to the alleged plot by Turkey, the United States and Israel to capture Ocalan.

The statement continued, saying said Kurds would "pour their rage and reaction into the squares incessantly until they succeed".

But it called for peaceful protests in Europe that "will not harm the sensitive European people and their civilian forces".

Violence advocated

In Turkey, the statement said, the PKK will continue its violence.

"In Turkey and Kurdistan, without discrimination, every kind of violence is justified and legitimate."

"Every military or civilian institution, establishment, or personality that develops hostility against our people is a target for the Kurdish people."

The statement warned the Greek and Kenyan governments that Kurds would "raise their voices" against them, without indicating any violent intent, and called on the German government to make amends for its anti-PKK attitude by campaigning for Ocalan's release.

"We declare that anybody who treats us as friends will receive only friendship from us."

Iraqi Kurd urges fair trial

The head of one of the two major Iraqi Kurdish parties called on Turkey for a "public, independent and honest trial" for Ocalan.

"He should receive an open and just trial in accordance with Articles 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) head Jalal Talabani was quoted as saying by the party's radio station on Thursday.

"In the light of these two articles Ocalan is considered innocent until he is legally convicted in an open trial in which he receives the necessary assurances to defend himself and on condition that this court be independent and honest and that this court should review his case in a just and open way," Mr Talabani said.

Mr Talabani added that Turkey should use the opportunity afforded by its "big victory" over Ocalan to seek a solution to the Kurdish problem.

"Let us hope that wisdom will prevail over extremism and that political farsightedness will sweep bigotry aside," he added.

Plot alleged

The Kurdish "parliament-in-exile" called on international organisations to intervene in Turkey to ensure the safety of Ocalan, and also praised protests by Kurds in Europe and Turkey.

Like the PKK itself, the parliament said Ocalan was handed over to Turkey as part of an international plot led by Turkey, the USA, Israel, Kenya and Greece against Ocalan's "modern, peaceful leadership".

"They must be made to account for their deeds before the Kurdish people and humanity," the parliament (PKDW) said in its statement on Med TV.

It said Ocalan was "the Kurdish people's legitimate national leader" and that his arrest was "a step to deprive the Kurdish people of the freedom-loving, modern and peaceful leadership they had gained for the first time".

The PKDW the Turkish state ought to be put on trial, otherwise the Kurdish people will "exercise their legitimate right of self-defence and express their reaction".

The PKDW praised the ongoing protests by Kurds in various European cities, and called for the Kurds in Turkey to continue the struggle.

"We call on our people not to be taken in by provocations, to be even more united in our struggle in behalf of the national leader, and to reach our aim.

The PKDW also calls on the Kurds in Kurdistan, Turkey and all parts of the world to wage their struggle for national existence and honour to the end, without discriminating between parties and in full national unity".

This view was also expressed by Semsi Kilic, a spokesman for the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan, which is seen as the political wing of the PKK.

He accompanied Ocalan on his fateful journey to Kenya.

He told Med TV on Thursday that Ocalan had been trying to reach The Hague since leaving Italy on 16th January, in order to file genocide charges against Turkey at the International War Crimes Tribunal, and was betrayed by the Greek and Kenyan authorities.

Kilic also accused the Greek government of having tried to kill Ocalan on Corfu prior to his departure for Kenya.

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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