Monday, 26 December 2011
Ex-Turk PM: Turkish agents responsible for arson attacks on Greece
According to Yilmaz: ‘All [Turkish] prime ministers when they finish their term in office will inform their successors as to how certain secret funds were used.
‘I gave this information to my successor and my predecessors did the same. Erbakan, Ecevit and Demirel informed their successors about the secret funds.
‘Only Ciller didn’t share information on how secret funds were deployed during her premiership… funds that I later found out were used [to facilitate] a coup in Azerbaijan and for retaliation against Greece’s forests.’
It’s not clear what Yilmaz means when he says the forest arson was ‘retaliation’ but we assume he’s referring to Greece’s support during this period for Kurdish separatists in Turkey, which culminated in the Abdullah Ocalan fiasco in 1999.
The reaction in Greece to Yilmaz’s admission has been, according to Ta Nea, as follows:
New Democracy’s foreign affairs spokesman, Panos Panagiotopoulos, said: ‘Yilmaz’s revelations that the Turkish “deep state” was burning Greek forests cast a dark shadow over Greek-Turkish relations.
‘The [current] Erdogan government is obliged to provide all the relevant details to Greece regarding this dark episode and offer restitution for the huge damage these fires caused.’
Panagiotopoulos also called on EU institutions to be made aware of the issue and demanded that the Turkish government gives assurances that it has ceased these types of ‘dirty’ tactics.
A statement from LAOS said that when its leader Giorgos Karatzaferis dared to suggest that Turkish agents were responsible for arson in Greece, ‘the political establishment called him an extremist… but now from the mouth of a former prime minister of Turkey we have an admission of the crime.’
Ex-foreign minister and leader of the Democratic Alliance, Dora Bakoyannis, called Yilmaz’ admission ‘shocking’ and said it creates ‘a major political issue, which the Greek government mustn't leave unexamined.’
Bakoyannis added that the Greek government should, through its foreign minister, denounce Turkey in the EU and in other international fora, and must claim compensation from Turkey for reforestation and the wider economic damage the fires caused.