Ex-Turkish PM denies comments about Greek wildfires
Former Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz has claimed he was
misinterpreted in an interview in which he suggested that Turkish agents
had set fire to Greek forests in the 1990s.
His denial of the
claims, however, was not enough to prevent Greek judicial authorities
from reopening their investigation into the causes of wildfires in 1995.
article is totally distorted,» Yilmaz told reporters at Istanbul's
Ataturk Airport before flying to the United States on Tuesday, according
to Anadolu Agency.
He suggested that what he meant in the
interview was that there was evidence Greek intelligence agents had
started fires in Turkey in the 1990s.
"I said that publishing
these allegations before they were proved would be wrong for our
relations with Greece, and therefore they should be evaluated within the
scope of the state,» Yilmaz, who served as premier three times in the
1990s, was quoted as saying.
"Unfortunately, the issue was totally distorted for sensation purposes,» he added.
comments - part of an interview published in the Turkish daily
newspaper Birgun over the weekend - were the first admission by an
official source that Ankara was funding subversive activities in Greece.
to Yilmaz’s interview, the Turkish secret service 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 Turks have
to respond without delay about a criminal act against another country,”
honorary Greek ambassador Christos Zacharakis told Skai TV. “This was a
act of blind hate and revenge that is not alien to the Turkish
Reacting to Yilmaz’s comments, Greek Supreme Court
prosecutor Yiannis Tentes ordered all the country’s prosecutors to
re-examine the evidence that had been gathered in relation to the forest
fires of 1995.