Greek, Turkish agents met in wake of forest fires

Greek, Turkish agents met in wake of forest fires

01 January 2012

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Greece / Turkey — Senior officials in Greece’s intelligence services had information that their Turkish counterparts were responsible for a number of forest fires in the country around the mid-1990s, and met with them in 1998 in a bid to ease tension between the two states, Sunday’s Kathimerini understands.

Sources inside the National Intelligence Service (EYP) told the newspaper that the blazes were a retaliation for Greece’s alleged hosting of training camps for Kurdish rebels (PKK) and urban underground leftist group DEV-SOL in Evia, Lesvos and Attica.

MIT, Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, hired ex-convicts to do the job to minimize the risk, the sources said. According to a different account, the MIT blackmailed prosecuted PKK members to carry out the acts.

Kathimerini said representatives from the two intelligence services met in 1998 in a central European state in an attempt to de-escalate tension, but the contact “yielded no common ground.” Greece’s prime minister at the time, Costas Simitis, met with his Turkish counterpart Mesut Yilmaz in Crete that same year.

Athens has asked Turkey to clarify comments made last week by Yilmaz that some Greek forest fires were deliberately set by Turkish agents. Yilmaz later said he was misquoted.

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