Warning letter before Suruç attack was for police not civilians, claims former Turkish police chief
İsmail Saymaz – ISTANBULThe former police chief of the Suruç district in Şanlıurfa province has claimed that a warning letter, sent from the Şanlıurfa provincial police HQ to the Suruç district police office three days before an ISIL suicide bomb attack in Suruç last July, warned them about an attack targeting security forces – rather than the group that was attacked.
Submitting a written plea to the Suruç court trying former police chief Mehmet Yapılıal on charges of “misconduct” over the July 20, 2015 attack that claimed 33 lives, Yapılıal said the letter issued a warning about an attack targeting security forces, rather than the cultural center where the suicide blast ultimately took place.
Yapılıal also noted that the scene where the attack occurred in Suruç, the Amara Cultural Center, was private property belonging the local municipality and that its internal security had to be provided by the municipal police or private security personnel. He said the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members who run the municipality had not taken any measures to protect the site.
“No information was sent about a suicide bomb attack that would target a group coming to our district,” he said, but despite this lack of information he had taken “necessary security measures with his teams around the cultural center and the small streets around it, while also carrying out a road inspection for two days.”
At the time of the attack, at least 300 members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF) were staying at the Amara Culture Center as part of a summer expedition to help rebuild Kobane, a town in northern Syria lying directly across the border from Suruç.