Greek Defense Minister Panos Panayotopulos has discharged the head of the War Museum and three other generals following the presentation of a book by Murat Karayilan, a senior member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United State and the European Union.
The book was presented at the museum on Nov. 28, sparking an immediate protest by the Turkish government. Seeking to limit the diplomatic damage, the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement, “Greece condemns all forms of terrorism unequivocally. This is also the position of the European Union as a whole, as a matter of principle and as concerns the PKK organization.” The ministry stressed that the book was shown “without the knowledge of the authorities responsible.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu expressed dismay over the issue in a telephone conversation with his Greek counterpart Dimitris Avramopoulos, and said the action is undermining the “friendship” efforts between the two countries. “It is also worrying in the sense of showing that some circles, who are uneasy about the development of Turkish-Greek friendship, are still active,” Davutoglu said.
The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980’s. The conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead. In 1999, Greece was embroiled in another imbroglio when then PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan was given protected by Greek authorities but was later captured by Turkish agents in Nairobi.
That led then Prime Minister Costas Simitis to replace Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos with George Papandreou, who became Prime Minister in 2009 before resigning last year after relentless protests against austerity measures he imposed on the orders of international lenders. ‘‘By whatever mistakes, Greece has partial responsibility for turning Mr. Ocalan over to Turkey,’’ he said.
‘‘There is an obvious feeling of humiliation in public opinion that has to be recognized.’’ The arrest of Ocalan infuriated many Greeks who sympathized with the Kurdish cause or shared its hatred with Greece’s historic enemies, before relations warmed between Greece and Turkey in recent years.
(Source: Press TV)