Bonn may try Kurdish chief

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The Independent Online
PRESSURE IS mounting on Germany to extradite Abdullah Ocalan, the Kurdish guerrilla leader who was arrested on 12 November after landing at Rome airport.

Italy has refused to allow his extradition to Turkey. Turkey has responded by threatening sanctions. The US is working behind the scenes to defuse tensions and end the deadlock between Ankara and Rome. One option is to get Germany to solve the problem, although this would be sensitive since Germany has a Kurdish population of about 500,000.

"We believe that there is clear evidence linking Ocalan to numerous specific terrorist acts," the US State Department spokesman, James Rubin, said. "We are working closely with Italy, Germany and Turkey with the goal that this terrorist needs to be brought to justice."

America has often intervened to stop tensions between Turkey and its European neighbours spilling over into Nato.Turkey is a member of Nato but not of the European Union, unlike its arch-rival, Greece. The US has backed Turkey's application to join the EU, but Brussels has put this on ice.