By James Ker-Lindsay
While Abdullah Ocalan, chief of the Kurdistan staff' get together (PKK), was once arrested in February 1999 it marked a turning element in kin among Greece and Turkey. because the country's such a lot sought after guy, his arrest used to be greeted with jubilation all through so much of Turkey. notwithstanding, it additionally ended in a public outcry whilst it emerged that he have been captured leaving the Greek Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. This used to be obvious as definitive evidence that the Greek executive have been helping and abetting the PKK. within the days and weeks that the arrest, family among the Aegean neighbours sank to their lowest point because the summer time of 1974, whilst Athens and Ankara had come to the edge of struggle over Cyprus.Yet, via the tip of the yr, the image couldn't were extra various. a fantastic sequence of occasions that incorporated a nearby clash, significant mess ups and the loss of life of a senior Greek baby-kisser had ended in a whole transformation within the kinfolk among the 2 nations. The crowning second of this transformation got here in December whilst Greece dropped its long-standing competition to Turkish candidacy for european club. How did this extraordinary switch happen? Who may still take the credits? And what did it suggest for diplomatic family members within the japanese Mediterranean? this is often the tale of ways international locations begun down a route to peace after many years of hysteria and hostility and the way, over the process one enormous yr, family among Greece and Turkey went from the threshold of clash to an extraordinary confirmation of friendship and unity.
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Additional resources for Crisis and Conciliation: A Year of Rapproachement Between Greece and Turkey
At the same time, the PKK started to attack tourist resorts, which not only damaged Turkey’s foreign exchange earnings but also damaged its reputation internationally. As a result of all of this, Öcalan had become Turkey’s most despised, and most wanted, man. But what was particularly galling for Ankara that he was not living a shadowy existence in some mountain hideout in Turkey or northern Iraq. 1 By late-1998 the Turkish Government had run out of patience and decided to act. In October, Turkey began to increase the number of troops close to the border in preparation for what was officially described as a major military exercise.
After having managed to evade Turkey’s reach in Syria, Russia and Italy, the fact that he was arrested after having been under Greek protection was a major source of embarrassment in its own right. 7 However, perhaps most significantly, it was clear that the incident would inevitably lead to a crisis BILATERAL AND REGIONAL CRISES 37 with Turkey. 8 Unsurprisingly, Simitis now came under intense pressure to resign. In an attempt to keep on to his job, the Greek prime minister instead dismissed a number of those most closely linked to the debacle.
However, all attempts to reach an agreement failed. While Britain was prepared to consider options for a high degree of self-rule under continued British sovereignty, the Greek Cypriots would accept nothing less than enosis. Meanwhile, the Turkish Cypriots had begun to agitate for the partition of the island between Greece and Turkey (taksim). All the while, the situation on the island continued to become more unstable. This naturally led to increased tensions between Greece and Turkey, which were supporting their respective national communities.