Turkish PM Erdoğan cites possibility of negligence over Reyhanlı blasts
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The Prime Ministry will be looking into claims of negligence concerning the May 11 attacks. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made public on May 14 that he has assigned the Prime Ministry Inspection Board to uncover any possible neglect concerning the May 11 twin bomb attacks that killed dozens of people in the town of Reyhanlı, in Hatay province, near the Syrian border.
“The attack, the powers behind it and the sub-contractors used have been clarified to a very large extent at the moment. It has been determined that those who carried out this loathsome attack are an organization within Turkey that is related to the Syrian regime and that they are citizens of Turkey,” Erdoğan said at a parliamentary meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), as he noted that the number of suspects in custody rose from nine to 13 as of yesterday.
‘Reveal all aspects’
“Our security forces and intelligence units are continuing to work with great sensitivity in order to shed light on all aspects of the incident, to reveal all perpetrators and to prevent similar attacks from taking place. In the meantime, the Prime Ministry Inspection Board will additionally continue its work to investigate whether there is negligence here, who is responsible for this negligence and all of these matters,” Erdoğan said.
The prime minister’s announcement came a day after the General Staff underlined that Turkey’s border with Syria is protected by the Turkish Land Forces, except the border gates. The General Staff also stated that the protection of the border gates is not part of the Turkish Armed Forces’ responsibility, according to law. It added that all people and goods that are captured while trying to cross the border illegally are announced on the website of the General Staff.
Damascus’ proposal for joint probe shot down
Ahead of his departure to Washington, Erdoğan also rejected Damascus’ proposal for a joint inquiry over the Reyhanlı attack.
“Are we expecting those who sent us this message to say, ‘Yes, we’re the ones who did this?’” Erdoğan said during a press conference at Ankara’s Esenboğa Airport.
The prime minister also said Turkey no longer considered the Syrian government to be “legal,” stressing that there was no interlocutor with whom such an inquiry could be carried out. “They have all abandoned the country up to the top official,” he said.
Earlier, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi had proposed the opening of a joint investigation with the Turkish government into the blasts. "If the government of Erdoğan calls for a joint, transparent investigation by the two countries, we would have no objection in order to find the truth," al-Zohbi said.
“The truth must be announced to the Syrian and Turkish people," he was quoted as saying by state media.