The decision of the Italian municipality of Fossalto to confer honorary citizenship to PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan Wednesday drew harsh reactions from Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"The fact that Italy’s Fossalto municipality gave the terrorist leader Abdullah Öcalan honorary citizenship is a disgraceful development that ignores the heavy humanitarian crimes this murderer has committed,” the ministry said in a written statement on Friday.
The statement further underlined that the PKK is listed in the EU’s list of terrorist organizations and its leader is responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 innocent people, drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, child abductions and other organized crimes.
Stressing that these attempts to legitimize the terrorist are against the spirit of international cooperation on counterterrorism, the statement said: “In the face of this attempt constituting the latest example of similar decisions by Italy’s local administrations and possible attempts in the future, we once again voice our expectation of cooperation from Italian authorities in the fight against terrorist organizations.”
Turkey captured Öcalan in February 1999 and imprisoned him on the heavily fortified island of İmralı in the Marmara Sea, where he has been kept for 20 years.
The PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU – waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years and has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people.
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