Negligence in HDP attack being probed: Interior minister

Negligence in HDP attack being probed: Interior minister

Deniz Zeyrek - ANKARA
Negligence in HDP attack being probed: Interior minister

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The release of a suspect accused of perpetrating a deadly attack on a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) rally in Diyarbakır last month even though he had been classified as “a missing person associated with terrorism” is a result of “negli-gence,” Turkish Interior Minister Sebahattin Öztürk has admitted.

The twin blasts on June 5 left four people dead and more than 100 injured two days before the June 7 parliamentary election and added to the already simmering tensions ahead of the tight legislative polls.

“We are looking for aspects of this negligence. We will see in a report by the in-spector as to whether it was a technical [problem] or carelessness and negligence on the part of the staff,” Öztürk told daily Hürriyet on July 7.

Shortly after the attack, O.G., an alleged member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), was arrested on allegations he conducted the attack.

It has emerged that O.G. was interrogated for evading the draft and was re-leased just two days before the attack, even though he was listed as “a person as-sociated with terrorism.” 

“If he was captured and interrogated and it was not noticed that there is an ar-rest warrant about him, then there is negligence,” Öztürk said.

The minister especially drew attention to one point which raised their suspicion. 

“His name is not on UYAP [the National Judiciary Network Information System],” he said. “This and similar records are kept by the Department of Smuggling, Intel-ligence, Operations and Information Gathering at the National Police Department. As a requirement of a protocol, if the record is entered in UYAP, a link and records on that link is seen by the police. It means that [his record] is not entered in UYAP. It should have been in UYAP if there is a terror link,” Öztürk said, noting that in-spectors had been trying to determine for two weeks why the suspect’s record was not in UYAP. 

“We expect their report to be finalized by the end of July and reveal the truth,” he said.
“According to my personal conviction, there is negligence. We are investigating whether it is intentional or not. But even if it is technical, it is still negligence,” he said, recalling that even though his name was not in UYAP, O.G. was being sought as he was reported as “a missing person.”

“That’s to say, he could have been found on this basis without the need for a record in UYAP,” Öztürk said.

Hürriyet reporter İdris Emen revealed that immediately before O.G. joined ISIL and disappeared, his family went to the police and related to them their concerns. 

“Everybody was harmed because of the terrorist attack in Diyarbakır. Four of our citizens lost their lives. Grave trouble occurred in the country before the elec-tion. The attack severely harmed the ruling [Justice and Development Party/AKP] too,” he said.

More than 300 deaths

Noting that the fight against illegal groups such as ISIL, al-Qaeda and al-Nusra has been intensified particularly since the release of hostages by ISIL at the Mosul Consulate General on Sept. 20, 2014, after 101 days in captivity, Öztürk provided numbers for Turkish citizens who have died in Syria while fighting for ISIL.

Accordingly, the bodies of 300 Turkish ISIL militants have arrived Turkey.

“Since New Year, 500 people have been taken into custody on charges of joining the three organizations [ISIL, al-Qaeda and al-Nusra]. Among them, the courts or-dered the arrest of some 70-80 suspects while others were released.