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Kurd Leader Threatens Turk Attacks

January 19, 1999

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ A Kurdish rebel leader threatened intensified attacks inside Turkey and said his group would target major Turkish cities, in an interview published Tuesday.

The rebel leader, identified as Kani Yilmaz, the European spokesman for the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, made the threat in an interview published in the Athens daily Ethnos.

Kurdish sources said Yilmaz was an alias for Faysal Dunlayichi, a Kurdish rebel leader convicted by a German court of masterminding 25 arson attacks on Turkish businesses in Germany in 1993. He was released last year.

``The expansion of the war inside Turkey must be considered certain,″ Yilmaz was quoted as saying Tuesday, adding that Ankara, Istanbul and the coastal city of Izmir were among potential targets.

He said a final decision would be made at a PKK conference next month.

The 15-year fight for autonomy by Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey has killed about 37,000 people. It moved onto the international stage in November following the arrest of the PKK’s leader, Abdullah Ocalan, in Rome. Ocalan had sought political asylum and was trying to gather political support in Europe.

He left Italy last week for an undisclosed location. Greek newspapers reported Ocalan was in Belarus, but his whereabouts are unknown.

Ocalan has suggested the PKK would call off its armed struggle and instead apply political pressure on Turkey, which regards the PKK as a terrorist group.

However, the Yilmaz interview gave an entirely different picture of the PKK’s plans.

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