Italy's refusal to extradite Ocalan to Turkey, where he faces murder and terrorism charges, had raised tensions between the two countries before Rome quietly expelled him in December. The Kurdish rebel's whereabouts had been a mystery before his arrival in Holland, and will become so once again -- because whatever his destination, Ocalan will likely have to use the back door.
The shifting sands of politics create their own forms of purgatory. Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan landed his plane in Holland Monday, but was turned away -- and Turkey's most wanted man once again has nowhere to go. Greece immediately denied it had any intention of admitting the fugitive previously ousted from both Russia and Italy. A Greek foreign ministry spokesman said Monday, "We don't see how his presence in Greece would be useful." That may be Ocalan's problem: "He's no longer of any use to anyone," says TIME correspondent William Dowell. "Syria had once used Ocalan's PKK as a means of putting pressure on Turkey over the water dispute between the two countries, but that conflict has abated somewhat. Now Ocalan is just a potential embarrassment for anyone sheltering him."