Deeper questioning sought over blast

Deeper questioning sought over blast

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Deeper questioning sought over blast

‘All details concerning the explosion should be meticulously handled,’ says MHP leader. AA photo

Widely held suspicions about the true cause of an explosion at a military depot need to be eliminated urgently, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said yesterday.

Their response came hours after Forestry and Waterworks Minister Veysel Eroğlu said the deadly incident in the western Anatolian province of Afyonkarahisar, which killed 25 soldiers and wounded several others, was an accident. “All details concerning the explosion should meticulously be handled; possibilities such as sabotage and a terror attack should not be covered up with preconceived and cheap approaches,” Bahçeli said in a written statement.

“The matters such as why the counting of hand grenades at the second-largest ammunition dump was left to an evening hour, and which steps were taken beforehand to prevent probable disasters, should be clarified. The doubts cast and the questions lingering over the explosion should be eliminated through judicial and administrative processes,” he said.

Speaking with the other co-chair of the party, Gülten Kışanak, at a press conference in Diyarbakır, Demirtaş began his remarks by offering condolences to the families of those killed in the blast and later joined Bahçeli in voicing doubts over the cause of the explosion. “We can’t know whether this was an accident or something else; whether a fair and influential investigation will be conducted; and whether the truth will be announced to the public,” Demirtaş said. “Whatever happens, it is obvious that [the blast] is a grave incident which is not ordinary,” he said, while also voicing a lack of confidence in the government regarding the punishment of those responsible for the explosion. “We wonder whether even one commander will be interrogated; whether a high-level commander, that’s to say, the chief of General Staff, will act honorably and resign; and whether the defense minister will account for [the blast],” he said.

Experts raise doubts

Not only politicians, but also retired high-level commanders also raised questions. The accidental explosion of armory ammunition is very rare, retired Brig. Gen. Haldun Solmaztürk told private CNNTürk news television channel.

“The possibility of the blast’s being an accident is lower than the possibility of its not being an accident. This ammunition does not explode because it falls down. If it is an accident, it is an incomprehensible accident,’’ Solmaztürk said, adding that military ammunition is kept in sturdy boxes and these boxes are resistant to external impacts. He said there is no way an explosion could be caused by one hand grenade falling. Also speaking with CNNTürk, retired Col. Mithat Işık said: “There must have been an emergency situation in order to do this [counting of ammunition] at night time. Unless there is a huge fire, hand grenades do not explode either by falling down or by being stepped on."