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article imageEx Turk PM: Turkish agents caused Greece arson attacks

By Katerina Nikolas     Dec 27, 2011 in World
Former Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz has made the startling allegations that Turkish secret agents were responsible for arson attacks resulting in a spate of devastating forest fires in Greece during the 1990's.
The Greek Supreme Court has ordered an investigation into all forest fires that occurred in Greece during the 1990's. The decision follows an interview given by former Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, in which he alleged Turkish agents were responsible for devastating arson attacks in Greece. According to comments Yilmaz made in an interview with the Turkish Birgun newspaper, "the Turkish secret service set fire to Greek forests during the leadership of his archrival Tansu Ciller, from 1995 to 1998." (Ekathimerini)[Hellenic Antidote quotes Yilmaz saying to Birgun "secret funds were deployed during her premiership… funds that I later found out were used [to facilitate] a coup in Azerbaijan and for retaliation against Greece’s forests."
According to Athens News there have long been rumours of Turkish involvement in the fires but they were uncorroborated until now. The allegations also raise questions over the huge fires which decimated areas of the Peloponnese in 2007.
The Greek Foreign Office has stated that the serious charges must be investigated. Panos Panagiotopoulos, New Democracy's Foreign spokesman, reacted to the claims by saying "Yilmaz’s revelations that the Turkish 'deep state' was burning Greek forests cast a dark shadow over Greek-Turkish relations."In further developments Yilmaz is now claiming that his comments were "misinterpreted" and he was actually referring to fires that broke out in Turkey and were possibly the work of Greek secret agents. Yilmaz is quoted in Ta Nea backtracking on his earlier comments by saying "I think our Greek friends were quick to react.I meant to forest fires in Turkey. There were some information and estimates that forest fires in Turkey were the 90s associated with the Greek secret services.I expressed the view that it would be wrong for our relations with Greece to publish such information unless verified and proven." However his latest remarks do not explain his comments that funds were used "for retaliation against Greece's forests."
More about Greek arson 1990's, Tansu Ciller, Mesut Yilmaz, Greek foreign minister
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