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Abdullah Ocalan

July 11, 1999

I read Karen Barkey's July 2 commentary, "Threaten, Cajole, but Don't Execute," with interest. Whether the legal and political establishment in Turkey upholds the decision and hangs Abdullah Ocalan, founder of a terrorist organization blamed for 37,000 civilian deaths since 1984 in Turkey--babies, women and children among them--remains to be seen. Ocalan got a fair trial, confessed to his evil deeds, accepted responsibility, was convicted by the court and sentenced to death, a process repeated every day in the U.S.

All this hoopla is created because Turkey and Turks are involved. Whenever that happens, some in the media and politics seem to automatically kick over into "double standards" mode. If some writers and politicians here and in Europe, all urging Turkey not to hang Ocalan for humane reasons, showed 1% of the compassion for the victims and survivors of PKK violence that they show for Ocalan, then there would not be any public support in Turkey for the Ocalan hanging.

I personally am against capital punishment. But I do understand how the victims feel. I deeply sympathize with them and I respect their strong feelings. Fairness requires it.

ERGUN KIRLIKOVALI, Santa Ana

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I agree with Barkey that civility dictates that Turkey should not carry out the execution of Ocalan. In addition, they should also openly accept blame for the 1915 genocide of approximately 1 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks admired so glowingly by Barkey. Turkey must also cease its illegal occupation of North Cyprus of some 20 years, contrary to a long-standing U.N. resolution critical of this invasion by Turkish troops. Then perhaps the Turkish state would gain admission into the European Union. Only by good deeds will Turkey gain the respect it so desperately craves from its European neighbors.

EDWARD C. BAYAN, Northridge

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