Turkey — We now have a growing crisis at hand with Greece. All of a sudden it appears that the Greeks have found a plausible explanation for some of the devastating forest fires in the past. And it seems to me that this will lead to a serious crisis between Greece and Turkey.
Let me give you some background information first. Former Prime Minister Mesut Yılmaz gave an interview to the leftist Birgün newspaper last week in which he talked about the Susurluk affair. The Susurluk affair refers to a traffic accident that revealed that Abdullah Çatlı, the most well known Gray Wolf and a hitman who was believed to have been responsible for many deep state-affiliated murders, Hüseyin Kocadağ, a police chief, and Sedat Bucak, a deputy and the leader of one of the most fearsome Kurdish tribes, were traveling in the same car. Çatlı and Kocadağ died in this accident, Bucak survived, sustaining serious injuries.
The incident back then triggered a serious social reaction and political debate. In 1996, then Prime Minister Yılmaz ordered an investigation, which resulted in a comprehensive report in which relations between the deep state, the mafia, drug trafficking and extrajudicial killings in Turkey were revealed. When this report was published, some pages were taken out. This censorship was defended with the excuse that these pages contained state secrets.
Today, this Susurluk report returns to the agenda once again. Because Ayhan Çarkın, a former member of the special ops team, which is believed to have been responsible for many extrajudicial killings in the 90s, started talking, revealing how and where the bodies of the victims of deep state operations were buried. Yılmaz made some new revelations about the Susurluk report during his interview with Birgün. He said these censored pages were about two incidents: one of them the coup in Azerbaijan, and the other Greek forest fires in the 90s. Apparently, these censored pages contained allegations that then Prime Minister Tansu Çiller had allocated money from secret funds of the Prime Ministry to be given to some agents who would set fire to forests in Greece. This was retaliation against Greece for allowing the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to have camps and training facilities within its borders.
No one can claim that Greece backing the PKK is something that a good neighbor would do. On the other hand, this alleged retaliation is absolutely unacceptable under any circumstances. What does this show us? If there is an illegal apparatus in one state, it is not only harmful to the citizens of that country but also constitutes a serious threat to all neighbors. Just remember, one of the scenarios of the alleged coup plotters (Sledgehammer) was shooting down a Greek plane to spark a conflict between Greece and Turkey.
These arson attacks on Greek forests, if they are true, are terribly ugly. But I really hope that the discussions on these so-called arson attacks will inspire Greeks and Greek Cypriots to consider the value of having a democratic and stable Turkey as their neighbor. A fascist mentality and an authoritarian regime in Turkey would not only kill Turks and Kurds, but also threaten the peace with Greece. This should be pretty obvious to everyone concerned.
On the Turkish side, I hope that Turkey can carry out an independent and transparent investigation into these allegations, which could lead to the punishment of all those responsible for these attacks. The country should also compensate any Greek losses. I do hope that these debates will not end up with the well-known nationalist hysteria which is the root of so many internal and external conflicts in both Greece and Turkey.