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DATE=6/1/99 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT NUMBER=5-43546 TITLE=OCALAN NEWSMAKER CQ BYLINE=SCOTT BOBB DATELINE=MUDANYA, TURKEY CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: KURDISH REBEL LEADER ABDULLAH OCALAN WENT ON TRIAL TODAY (ED'S: MONDAY) ON AN ISLAND PRISON OFF THE COAST OF TURKEY. HE IS ON TRIAL FOR TREASON AND IF CONVICTED WILL RECEIVE A MANDATORY DEATH SENTENCE. THE TRIAL SEEMS DESTINED TO END -- ONE WAY OR ANOTHER -- THE REBEL CAREER OF A MAN REVERED BY MANY KURDS AS THE FOUNDER OF THEIR AUTONOMY MOVEMENT AND BY MANY TURKS, AS A RUTHLESS TERRORIST. CORRESPONDENT SCOTT BOBB, WHO IS COVERING THE TRIAL, HAS THIS PROFILE OF THE KURDISH LEADER. TEXT: DURING HIS CAREER AS ONE OF THE MOST FEARED OPPONENTS OF THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT, ABDULLAH OCALAN HAS BEEN A MIX OF CONTRADICTIONS -- DUE IN PART TO THE FOLKLORE THAT SURROUNDS HIS NAME, AND THE NATURE OF THE STRUGGLE HE HAS WAGED. CONSIDERED BRUTAL AND THUGGISH BY HIS OPPONENTS, HE IS VIEWED AS GIFTED AND CHARISMATIC BY HIS FOLLOWERS. A RESPECTED LEADER OF THE ARMED KURDISH MOVEMENT, HE REPORTEDLY NEVER SAW BATTLE. AND ALTHOUGH HE IS ONE OF THE FATHERS OF THE MOVEMENT TO PROMOTE KURDISH CULTURE, HE REPORTEDLY IS MORE COMFORTABLE SPEAKING TURKISH THAN THE KURDISH LANGUAGE. ABDULLAH OCALAN WAS BORN 50-YEARS AGO TO A POOR FARMING FAMILY IN SOUTHEASTERN TURKEY ALONG THE SYRIAN BORDER. AS A YOUNG MAN, HE WANTED TO BE A SOLDIER AND APPLIED TO ENTER THE TURKISH ARMY. BUT, HE WAS REJECTED BECAUSE, HE SAYS, HE IS OF KURDISH ORIGIN. SO INSTEAD HE APPLIED AND WAS ACCEPTED AT ANKARA UNIVERSITY'S COMPETITIVE POLITICAL SCIENCE FACULTY. HE SOON BECAME A MARXIST SYMPATHIZER AND A KURDISH NATIONALIST. IN 1972, HE WAS IMPRISONED FOR A NUMBER OF MONTHS FOR A PRO-KURDISH ACTIVITIES AND LEFT THE UNIVERSITY. HE SUBSEQUENTLY FOUNDED THE KURDISTAN WORKER'S PARTY, OR P-K-K, AND LAUNCHED THE KURDISH AUTONOMY MOVEMENT. JUST BEFORE THE MILITARY COUP IN TURKEY IN 1980, ABDULLAH OCALAN FLED TO SYRIA AND SET UP TRAINING CAMPS IN THE LEBANESE PLAINS WHICH WERE UNDER SYRIAN CONTROL. APO -- AS HE IS KNOWN TO HIS SUPPORTERS -- LAUNCHED HIS ARMS STRUGGLE ON AUGUST 15, 1984. IN SUBSEQUENT YEARS, THE P-K-K STAGED MANY ATTACKS ON TURKISH SECURITY FORCES AND ON KURDISH VILLAGES THAT SUPPORTED THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT. AN ESTIMATED 30-THOUSAND PEOPLE, INCLUDING MANY WOMEN AND CHILDREN, WERE KILLED IN THE ATTACKS. DURING THE 1990'S MR. OCALAN DECLARED A CEASEFIRE ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS AND OFFERED TO ENTER INTO PEACE NEGOTIATIONS. BUT THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT REFUSED ANY DEAL AND VOWED TO CRUSH HIS ORGANIZATION. THE GOVERNMENT MOVED THREE-THOUSAND VILLAGES AWAY FROM KURDISH AREAS OF SOUTHEASTERN TURKEY AND SUCCESSIVE GOVERNMENT OFFENSIVES DROVE MANY P-K-K FIGHTERS OUT OF TURKEY INTO NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES. LAST OCTOBER, THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT THREATENED TO INVADE SYRIA IF IT CONTINUED TO SUPPORT MR. OCALAN. RAPID MEDIATION BY EGYPT AVOIDED ANY OFFENSIVE AND BROUGHT ASSURANCES BY DAMASCUS THAT MR. OCALAN HAD LEFT SYRIA. IN NOVEMBER, MR. OCALAN SURRENDERED TO POLICE IN ITALY AND ASKED FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM. HE WAS REFUSED, AFTER PROTESTS BY TURKEY AND LEFT TWO MONTHS LATER. A NUMBER OF OTHER EUROPEAN GOVERNMENTS ALSO TURNED DOWN HIS REQUEST FOR ASYLUM, FEARING A BACKLASH FROM TURKEY, AND MR. OCALAN EVENTUALLY TOOK REFUGE IN GREECE-- A REGIONAL RIVAL. HOWEVER, HIS PRESENCE MADE EVEN THE GREEK GOVERNMENT UNCOMFORTABLE, AND IN FEBRUARY MR. OCALAN WAS FLOWN TO KENYA REPORTEDLY SEEKING ASYLUM IN SOUTHERN AFRICA. UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH HAVE NOT YET BEEN FULLY EXPLAINED, HE ENDED UP DRUGGED ON A PRIVATE PLANE FLYING TO TURKEY AND IN THE CUSTODY OF THE TURKISH SPECIAL AGENTS. HE ARREST SPARKED VIOLENT PROTESTS BY KURDISH SYMPATHIZERS IN A NUMBER OF EUROPEAN CAPITALS. SINCE THEN, MR. OCALAN HAS BEEN IMPRISONED ON THE PENAL ISLAND IMRALI IN THE MARMARA SEA SOUTHWEST OF ISTANBUL. HE IS CHARGED WITH TREASON AND FACES THE DEATH PENALTY. IN HIS OPENING REMARKS MONDAY, THE FEARED REBEL LEADER PLEADED TO THE VICTIM'S FAMILIES FOR FORGIVENESS. HE URGED THE COURT TO ALLOW HIM TO LIVE, SO THAT HE COULD WORK FOR PEACE AND RECONCILIATION BETWEEN HIS PEOPLE AND THE TURKS AGAINST WHOM HE HAS FOUGHT FOR MORE THAN 14-YEARS. (SIGNED) NEB/SB/TMD-T/WFR/RAE 01-Jun-99 8:03 AM EDT (1203 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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