World Bulletin / News Desk
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said last week's Afyonkarahisar arsenal blast, which left 25 soldiers dead, may have been caused by a private who pulled the pin of a hand grenade out of curiosity about its design.
Speaking to reporters during his visit to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Thursday, Erdoğan said according to information he received from Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel, there were three kinds of grenades inside the munitions depot. Two of them were manufactured by the state-owned Turkish Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation (MKE) and the other kind was imported from Germany.
The German-made grenades are of a different design than the Turkish ones. Erdoğan said that experts believe the blast is highly likely to have been caused by a curious private who pulled out the pin of one of the German-made grenades.
The 25 soldiers were killed when an explosion ripped through the munitions depot in the western province of Afyonkarahisar on Sept. 5. A fire followed the explosion, and the soldiers' remains were retrieved after the fire was extinguished. Two noncommissioned officers, two special sergeants and 21 privates were killed in the blast.
Separate investigations into the explosion by military and civilian prosecutors are under way, while initial reports have said the blast was due to mishandling of hand grenades by officers who were classifying them.
Meanwhile, an Eskişehir military court on Friday arrested a commander, Ali Duran, as part of the probe into the blast and released two others pending trial. Duran is accused of involuntary manslaughter.
Erdoğan last week announced that four military officers had been removed from their posts and reassigned to other military units in the wake of the explosion.
An arrest warrant for the four was also withdrawn, Gulden Sonmez, a lawyer for the victims, wrote on Twitter after a closed door hearing in Istanbul.
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