Turkey Wanted to Kill Ocalan in Syria

ANKARA (Reuters)–Turkey made plans to kill Kurdish chief Abdullah Ocalan in neighboring Syria in 1994–using $10 million in secret funds to finance the operation–the Turkish press said on Wednesday.

The Milliyet daily said a government inspector investigating a security scandal had revealed the money from a state slush fund was used to train Turkish special forces for the planned action–which was called off at the last moment for unknown reasons.

"Turkish security units tried to wipe out PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) leader Ocalan in an operation in Syria in April–1994," said Milliyet–citing what it said were excerpts from the inspector’s report.

The Radikal newspaper said Turkey gave the $10 million to the Syrian intelligence service al-Muhabarat–which reneged on a promise to either kill Ocalan or hand him over to Turkey.

Damascus denies frequent Turkish charges that the PKK leader directs a 13-year-old rebel campaign for Kurdish self-rule in southeast Turkey from a base in Syria.

The security scandal report–dealing mostly with alleged links between organized crime and the security forces–has been widely leaked to the press.

Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz is expected to make public the less sensitive sections of the report in the coming days.

Turkey’s military said on Wednesday they had killed 45 PKK guerrillas in fighting in southeast Turkey in the last two days for the loss of six members of the security forces.

The deaths occurred during two operations by Turkish troops backed by US-made Cobra helicopters in Sirnak and Diyarbakir provinces–said an official at the emergency rule governor’s office in the main southeastern city of Diyarbakir.

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