Statement, 9 October 2016
The 9th October marks the 18th anniversary of the expulsion of Abdullah Ocalan from Syria where he had remained for the best part of twenty years.
In 1998 Turkey was sabre rattling and openly threatening Syria to remove Ocalan and renounce its support for the PKK. Tremendous political pressures were exerted on Damascus, which was beset by severe economic strains and the weakening of its relations with its traditional global ally, Russia, itself was deeply damaged politically and embroiled in a destabilising financial crisis. Despite all the pressures, Damascus did not hand Ocalan over to Turkey, but was forced to insist that he left the country. Ocalan fled to several countries including Russia, Italy and Greece in his ultimately unsuccessful search for political asylum. His fate was all played out in the full attention of the international media until in February 1999 he was eventually apprehended in Nairobi by an intelligence operation which saw Turkish state security forces co-operating with the CIA and other security agencies. Continue reading