World Bulletin / News Desk
Four commanders have been removed from their positions after a deadly arsenal blast last week that left 25 soldiers dead, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference at Esenboğa Airport in Ankara before his flight to Azerbaijan for a meeting of the Turkey-Azerbaijan High Level Strategic Cooperation Council, Erdoğan also criticized Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu over his recent allegations that during private meetings with various military officers, Kılıçdaroğlu was informed that a majority of the higher-ranking military personnel believes that last week's ammunition depot explosion in Afyonkarahisar was most likely a result of sabotage. Erdoğan said that the military will take legal action over the remarks.
“The military believes that there is a 99 percent likelihood that the blast was caused by sabotage,” the CHP leader said in an interview with the Güneş daily on Monday.
“The commanders talked about a mechanism that is activated when it is manipulated from outside. We need to look at this, though without excluding that 1 percent possibility [of the cause not being sabotage],” Kılıçdaroğlu further stated.
A total of 25 soldiers were killed in the huge explosion and subsequent fire at an ammunition depot in the western province of Afyonkarahisar last week. The explosion sent shockwaves across the country with its high death toll. Both military and civilian authorities are investigating the cause of the explosion, while initial reports have said the blast was due to the mishandling of hand grenades by officers who were classifying them.
Erdoğan also responded to criticism directed against Afyonkarahisar Governor İrfan Balkanlıoğlu, who welcomed Chief of General Staff Necdet Özel after the blast and gave him some souvenirs from Afyonkarahisar, posing with the military chief for photographers while smiling and presenting him with the gifts. Although it is normal that the two came together, Erdoğan said, it is not quite right to present gifts on such a day and to post the photographs on the website of the governor's office.
Foreign minister and European Commission VP exchange views over the phone on visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in Schengen
'Turkey is one of the countries - with its open-door policy - from which Europe should take lessons,' says Guy Ryder
'We must do everything that we can to continue to discuss as it is likely that by July 1 certain things will not be put in place, in other words the visa exemption (will not be granted) as some conditions will not have been fulfilled,' German chancellor says
In air operation in northern Iraq early Monday, Turkish Air Forces destroy weapon caches, shelters, camps
Turkish president deems current humanitarian system 'inadequate for solving urgent problems'
Tuesday’s papers cover extraordinary congress where Turkey’s ruling AK Party elects new party chairman
At least 125 United Nations member states gather in Istanbul on Monday and Tuesday to address intl humanitarian concerns
Sirnak’s central Geylani Mosque has been bombed by PKK terrorists, leaving several Quran copies burnt and torn
President Erdogan asks new leader of ruling AK Party Binali Yildirim to form government
Binali Yildirim elected as AKP's new chairman, who is now set to replace Ahmet Davutoglu as prime minister
Airstrikes in northern Iraq's Qandil and Metina regions Thursday also destroyed terrorist PKK shelters
Security forces seize bomb-laden vehicle in SE Turkey
'A happy Laylat al Bara’at to our honorable nation, to our kin abroad, and to the whole world of Islam,' says Mehmet Gormez
EU has called for changes to Ankara's legislation on terrorism – a demand criticized and rejected by Turkish government
International Turkish Ukrainian Businessmen Association opens new branch in western Ukrainian city Lviv
Turkish FM Cavusoglu meets his US counterpart Kerry to discuss volatile situation of Syria and Iraq