Monitor: Comment on the trial of the Kurdish rebel chief Abdullah Ocalan

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THE TRIAL of Ocalan will be a test for Turkey and its judicial system. Turkish judicial authorities must prevent vigilante justice from determining Ocalan's fate, despite the fact that he is responsible for setting the bloody conflict in motion. They must not allow a mob mentality to prevail, as it did when angry crowds took to the streets and began to burn Italian goods in front of the Italian Embassy in Ankara when the infamous chieftain was hosted by the Italian government in Rome.

Yusuf Kanli, Turkish Probe

TURKISH NATIONALIST sentiment has been bolstered up and channelled into hatred of one man. Across the mountains, however, about a hundred miles away in the mainly Kurdish south east, emotions are just as strong. That is why Mr Ocalan's defence could be interesting. He may well try to put Turkey itself on trial. Thousands of unsolved murders and the army's forced evacuation of villages in the south east have caused lasting resentment against the state. For many Kurds - in Turkey and around the world - Abdullah Ocalan is still a hero.

Bahrain Tribune

WHEN OCALAN said he was ready to serve the Turkish state for peace immediately after his arrest many people felt he was making such statements under pressure. There were others who claimed this was a tactical move, and that Ocalan was trying to act as the leader of a party to a dispute and earn himself a place in negotiations for the settlement of the Kurdish issue. But when he repeated the same statements at the start of his trial it became clear that the PKK leader had in fact thrown in the towel. It is clear that Ocalan has seen that things are clearly not in his favour. In view of the realities he would have been naive to think otherwise. Ocalan led his terrorist campaign openly, and thus the evidence against him is overwhelming. All that Ocalan said on Monday at the opening of the trial suggests he had pleaded guilty even before the indictment against him was read.

Ilnur Cevik, Turkish Daily News

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