Turks Behind 1990s Fires In Greece, Claims Turkish Official

Greece suffers from many catastrophic forest fires every summer and in most cases these fires are linked to arsonists. In the past Greek secret services
pointed to the neighbor NATO ally and arch-rival Turkey for some forest
fires, but there was no tangible evidence to support the claim, not until this weekend when former Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz implied a possible connection.

The former Turkish PM said in an interview with Turkish daily “Birgun”, and while referring to a
state report on several huge fires in the 1990s in Greece, that this could of been done on retaliation for the Greek stance of the Kurdish issue.

Yilmaz, who served as premier three times in the 1990s, said that Turkish secret service agents set fire to Greek forests during the leadership of his archrival Tansu Ciller, from 1995 to 1998. During that period major forest fires caused huge damage on the islands of the eastern Aegean and in Macedonia.

The news, as expected, obviously sparked political outrage Greece .The Greek Foreign Ministry said allegations of former Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz who claimed that Turkey’s “deep state’ apparatus sent agents to burn forest areas in Greece between 1995 and 1997 were ‘serious’ , underlining that this report must be further investigated. Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras noted that “the Greek side is expecting to be briefed by the relevant Turkish authorities”.

Commening on the news, a main opposition New Democracy (ND) sector head referred to “ominous shadows” in Greek-Turkish relations, while calling on the Erdogan government in Ankara to immediately provide Athens with the necessary and comprehensive information into every facet of the allegation. Moreover, ND deputy Panos Panayiotopoulos said a full restitution of damages should be provided if the charges stick, while the Turkish side would also have to pledge that such “black operations” have ceased to be planned and executed by Turkish intelligence agencies or their affiliates.amna

“The political issue that has arisen is huge and must be dealt with, amongst others, by the European Union’s institutional organs, which today’s Turkey wants to approach,” the former ND minister said.

On his part, LA.O.S party leader and founder George Karatzaferis reminded that Greece’s “political establishment” had lazily referred to his “extremist positions” when in the past he charged that Turkish interests were behind such wildfires. “Now, from the lips of a former Turkish prime minister a crime is confessed. They (former Greek leaders) can be proud of their (Turkish) friends and ‘koumbari’,” he said in a written statement.

Source: (AMNA, Television Reports)

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