Nabi Sensoy, Turkey’s ambassador to Russia, called yesterday for Moscow to offer new assurances that Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), will not be given political asylum in Russia. The PKK has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey since 1984. It has been banned by the Turkish government. Ocalan, furthermore, is wanted by Turkish authorities on charges of leading a terrorist organization. On November 4 the Russian State Duma overwhelmingly approved a motion requesting President Boris Yeltsin to grant Ocalan refuge in Russia. According to a communist lawmaker, the Duma action came after Ocalan wrote to the Russian parliament thanking lawmakers for supporting his party’s cause and officially requesting asylum. Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit criticized the Duma vote. Ocalan’s actual whereabouts are unknown (Russian agencies, AP, November 4).
In his remarks yesterday, Sensoy said that Turkish authorities had received assurances from Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov–who was in Ankara late last month–that Ocalan would not be permitted to stay in Russia. Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov had also reportedly pledged to instruct Russian law enforcement agencies to ascertain whether Ocalan was actually in Russia. Ocalan said that Turkey was satisfied with “the way the Russian authorities have treated Turkey’s concern” with regard to Ocalan. But he suggested that the Duma’s action remained an irritant and a possible complication in bilateral Russian-Turkish bilateral ties (Russian agencies, November 8).
CYPRIOT-RUSSIAN MISSILE DEAL BACK IN NEWS.