Former prime minister denies Greek forest arson

Former prime minister denies Greek forest arson

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Former prime minister denies Greek forest arson

Former PM Mesut Yılmaz (C) says he was misinterpreted in an interview.

A former Turkish prime minister yesterday denied the media report that claimed he said Turkey was behind the forest fires in Greece back in the 1990s, following the wide reaction from Greece.

Speaking of a case publicly known as the Susurluk scandal, which revealed the deep state relation in Turkey, daily Birgün quoted Mesut Yılmaz as saying “forest fire retaliation was done to Greece.” 
“The article is totally distorted,” Yılmaz told reporters at Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport before flying to the United States. Yılmaz said what he meant was forest fires in Turkey, and there were some intelligence and assessments that serious forest fires in Turkey in the 1990s were linked to a Greek secret organization. 

“I said that publishing these allegations before they were proved would be wrong for our relations with Greece, and therefore they should be evaluated within the scope of the state,” Yılmaz said. He claimed the issue was totally distorted for the purpose of creating scandalous news. 

Greek Foreign Ministry spokesperson Grigoris Delavekouras said the newspaper reports were serious and necessitated investigation. He said Greece expected a briefing from the competent authorities in Turkey. 

Some political parties in Greece also said the claims should be investigated. The Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) said Yılmaz’s statements published in the paper revealed the party’s President Yorgos Karacaferis was right when he had claimed Turkish intelligence was behind the fires.