Istanbul bombing linked to Ocalan arrest


SUPPORTERS of the jailed Kurdish rebel leader, Mr Abdullah Ocalan, threw a hand grenade into a Turkish coffee-house on Sunday night, wounding 17 people, police said yesterday.

"This was clearly a political attack of theirs," a police spokesman said, referring to Mr Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers' Party rebels. The attack in Istanbul's Esenler district was the most serious of a number in the city on Sunday evening. Sporadic violent protests in support of guerrilla leader have broken out across Turkey since he was arrested on February 15th.

Mr Ocalan is on a prison island in the Sea of Marmara awaiting trial for treason.

Turkey will allow Norwegian delegates to attend the trial after turning down other international requests, a member of Norway's parliament said yesterday.

Mr Lars Rise, of the Christian People's Party, said he had been personally invited by the vice-president of Turkey's national assembly, Mr Uluc Gurkan, to bring a parliamentary delegation.

The leader of a small Kurdish party in Turkey said yesterday he would appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against a recent court ban on his party. The Constitutional Court outlawed the Democratic Mass Party last week, ruling that its programme opposed Turkey's unity and territorial integrity.

The High Court last month filed a closure case against the country's biggest Kurdish party, the People's Democratic Party, accusing it of recruiting for the rebels.

The party's leader, Mr Murat Bozlak, is in jail pending trial for alleged links to Mr Ocalan's guerrillas.