Turkey informed Belgium over attacker’s terrorist links: Erdoğan

Turkey informed Belgium over attacker’s terrorist links: Erdoğan

Turkey informed Belgium over attacker’s terrorist links: Erdoğan

AFP photo

Turkey formerly informed Belgium authorities about the terrorist links of one of the attackers in the March 22 Brussels bombings, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said March 23. 

Erdoğan said Turkish authorities informed the Belgian Embassy in Ankara in a note on July 14, 2015, that one of the Brussels’ attackers was a foreign fighter, but that Belgian authorities had released him after Turkey deported him. 

“One of the perpetrators of the Brussels attack is a person whom we detained in June 2015 in [the southeastern province of] Gaziantep and deported,” Erdoğan said at a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart in Ankara.

“We informed the Brussels Embassy of the deportation process of the attacker with a note on July 14, 2015. However, the Belgians released the attacker despite his deportation,” Erdoğan said.

Despite this information, the Belgians could not determine any ties with terrorism, he said.

Erdoğan also referred to the Netherlands, saying Turkey deported the attacker there in June 2015 and informed the Netherlands via a note.

The president also said the world has to “redefine terror, terrorism and terrorists.”

Meanwhile, a Belgian prosecutor said that two of the bombers, who blew themselves up in the deadly train and airport attacks in Brussels, during which 31 people were killed and 270 others were injured, were brothers and were known by police for serious crimes. Links to last November’s Paris massacre were also determined.  

Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui are Belgian nationals with major convictions “not linked to terrorism,” federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said at a dramatic news briefing on March 23.