Recent History

How Was abdullah öcalan Captured and Brought to Turkey in 1999?

Events Begin: Exiting Syria

In 1998, a speech containing very harsh words against Syria (Syria and Lebanon), where the PKK was sheltering and receiving support, was delivered in Reyhanlı by the then Commander of the Land Forces, General Atilla Ateş. In the speech, he mentioned Syria, the neighboring country of the Republic of Turkey, by name and said that Turkey would take all kinds of measures if it did not receive the support it deserved. Immediately afterwards, President Süleyman Demirel said that the necessary response could be given in response to Syria’s attitude. Immediately afterwards, Mesut Yılmaz announced that they had decided to take all kinds of deterrent measures against Syria according to the decision of the Council of Ministers based on the United Nations law.

Bashar al-Assad then made a speech against his army, saying that they were strong enough to deter any attack. The official statements and the fact that Syria was among the target countries in NATO exercises disturbed Syria and they demanded abdullah öcalan to leave Syria.

abdullah ocalan

First Stop: Greece

His entourage had completed all the preparations and told him that Greece would accept him. However, when they went to Athens, none of the bureaucrats and politicians who said they would accept them kept their promises. Before he could even leave the airport in Athens, with the help of the Greek secret service and some bureaucrats, he obtained a Russian visa and traveled to Russia. During his journey to and from Athens, he is followed by the MIT, the CIA and the Mossad, and his whereabouts are tracked by satellite phone calls. He says that he wants to apply for political asylum in Greece with a passport issued under a false name, but he is sent to Russia the same day.


Although many parliamentarians and bureaucrats expressed their support for Öcalan during his stay in Russia, the greatest support undoubtedly came from Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Accordingly, abdullah öcalan stated in his statements that Kurdish-Russian strategic relations would enable them to do very good things in the future. öcalan stayed at Jirinovski’s house in Moscow for a week after his departure. In the following days he was transferred to another, more secure house.

pkk abdullah ocalan

A few days later, at a meeting in the same house, state security officials and Zhirinovsky responded to his request for political asylum by saying that he should leave Russia, that he would not be granted this right and that he should leave Russia as quickly as possible. In response, Öcalan met with some parliamentarians and requested political asylum first from Russia and then from Belarus. The Belarusian president said that they would act in line with Russia’s decisions on this issue, and so he received a rejection here too.

However, the attitude of Turkish politicians, who also spoke of their troubles and concerns about the issue during political visits that coincided with that time, and the US foreign affairs spokesman James Rubin made a harsh statement against Russia’s attitude towards the PKK, which they had previously declared a terrorist organization. After these developments, Öcalan had a personal meeting with Yevgeni Primakov, the then president of Russia, and was again rejected. Zhirinovsky and parliamentarians, who met him at the airport, frequently came to his house and told him that he should leave Russia and that they would not damage his political and economic relations with the West. Zhirinovsky is of Jewish origin and is also an intelligence officer for the Mossad.

Cyprus Plan

öcalan’s entourage started to implement the Cyprus Plan after Greece withdrew its open support. öcalan, who had been openly invited by the Greek parliament, visited in Damascus and told that he would receive support from Russia, could not find any of the support he expected. for both security and political reasons, the Cyprus plan also fell through. öcalan knew that he would pass through Turkey on his way to Cyprus and told his entourage that he would be destroyed in the air or that they might be forced to land in Ankara.

The most negative issue that Öcalan and his entourage had in mind was that Russia might extradite Öcalan to Turkey based on its relations with the US and Turkey. Although Russia later said that the problems with Cyprus had been resolved and that he would be sent to Cyprus, Öcalan refused out of security concerns.


Italy, which once hosted the first session of the plenary session of the second legislative year of the so-called Kurdish parliament in exile, and to which MPs and some municipal councilors were invited, will come to mind. However, Öcalan wants a guarantee from the Italian government, a guarantee agreement that would put the government in a difficult situation. According to this guarantee, Öcalan’s security will be ensured by the Italians and he will never be extradited to any country. Unable to get this guarantee, Öcalan accepts the Italian option in order to get out of the tightening circle. Immediately, contacts were initiated and Öcalan was accepted by the Italian prime minister Massimo d’alema after he was informed about the matter and immediately traveled to Rome. There he showed his fake passport and requested political status, but was arrested during the authentication and passport examination. He states that he is ill and is admitted to the Palestrina Hospital. However, he has all kinds of social facilities in the hospital, he receives visitors and can make press statements. Here he holds talks with the private secretary of the Prime Minister, who visits him.

As soon as it was revealed that Öcalan was in Rome, Turkey erupted, Italian goods were protested, and politicians harshly criticized. Italy insisted that it would not extradite to a country with the death penalty. However, in addition to political and social reactions, big Italian companies with warm relations with Turkey forced the government to do something about it. In addition, senior US officials gave Italy a stern warning. Although Italy thought that it was siding with Germany on this issue, Germany amended the international arrest warrant and announced in a press release that Germany had renounced its extradition request. soon after, Italy lifted the arrest warrant for Öcalan on condition that he reside in a house and be under surveillance.

In the meantime, Italy and Germany set up a joint commission to try to keep Öcalan in Europe, but after a while this effort was canceled. The Italian government, now under pressure, demanded that Öcalan stay in Russia on condition that the IMF aid loan to the Russian government, which had been on hold, would be released. Öcalan was well protected by the Italian government during his stay in Italy.

Russia Again

Meanwhile, Abu Sharif, who is known to be close to Palestinian President Arafat, wrote a letter to Öcalan saying that he wanted to “help” Öcalan. Öcalan went to Russia for the second time, but this time he was not welcomed and was told that he could not stay in the country and could only stay for three days until he found a place.

Meanwhile, Abu Sharif, who is known to be close to Palestinian President Arafat, wrote a letter to Öcalan saying that he wanted to “help” Öcalan. Öcalan went to Russia for the second time, but this time he was not welcomed and was told that he could not stay in the country and could only stay for three days until he found a place.

Last Stop: Kenya

According to the new decision, Ocalan will be sent to Kenya first and from here to the Republic of South Africa. He starts to stay at the Greek embassy house in Kenya. However, the situation has become even more tense, and the senior politicians of Greece give strict orders to the ambassador to remove Ocalan from the residence. The ambassador, who is trying to convince, even thinks about hiring a few tramps at some point and Decommissioning them by force. Although there is talk of a special team coming and removing it afterwards, this does not happen either. Through the secret services, which are constantly sharing intelligence, news comes that Ocalan is in Kenya, and a meeting is held. A CIA official tells the prime minister, the president, the MIT undersecretary and the chief of the general staff that the United States will give Ocalan to Turkey. But there are some conditions. According to this, the operation will be carried out jointly, they will be brought to the country alive, they will be given a fair trial and will not receive the death penalty. it is accepted and the operation is performed.

Greek high-ranking officials met with Ocalan personally and told him that his plane was ready and that he would be taken to a safer place. After leaving the residence, öcalan and those with him, who were put into the vehicles waiting at the gate one by one, were surrounded as soon as they entered the hangar at the airport and Öcalan was captured.

Enes Sahin

Hello, I am Enes, I write content for Expat Guide Turkey every day. Don't forget to check it out! You can contact me via e-mail
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