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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turks Say Ocalan Spent Two Weeks in Russia




ANKARA, Turkey -- A top Turkish official was quoted Tuesday as saying fugitive Kurdish guerrilla chief Abdullah Ocalan had been stranded for two weeks at a military airfield in Nizhny Novgorod before briefly resurfacing this week in Western Europe.


The Russian Foreign Ministry denied the report, saying Ocalan "has not been, is not and will not be on the territory of the Russian Federation."


The story of Ocalan's travels given to Hurriyet newspaper by Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Korkmaz Haktanir contrasted with Turkish press reports of him shuttling around the world from South Africa and Lebanon to Armenia and Yemen.


Ocalan, sought by Turkey for leading a separatist campaign in which 29,000 people have died, left Rome on Jan. 16 after failing to gain asylum.


Haktanir said the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, had flown to Moscow from Rome on a plane owned by an Italian firm.


"The plane carrying Ocalan landed at the Nizhny Novgorod military airfield. Information sources say the plane never left this airfield until [Sunday]," Haktanir was quoted as saying.


He said the Russian government had not provided Turkey with information about Ocalan's whereabouts.


His private jet was turned away by Dutch authorities Monday morning, the first record of his whereabouts since he left Italy.