Six suspects detained in the aftermath of a fatal attack in Hatay's Reyhanlı district were referred to prosecutors at the Adana Courthouse on Monday for interrogation.
On May 11, one car bomb exploded outside the town hall, while another went off outside a post office in Reyhanlı, a main hub for Syrian refugees and opposition activity in Hatay. Fifty-one people were killed, and as many as 100 were injured in the bombings.
The suspects were brought to the courthouse under tight security measures. Among the suspects is Mehmet G., who was captured by the Hatay police last week. Mehmet G. is said to be the owner of two vehicles that were blown up in the attack and to have carried out the deadly bombings. He is reportedly Turkish and comes from Hatay.
It was not immediately clear whether the prosecutors ruled to release the suspects or referred them to the court for arrest.
Last week seven suspects were arrested in connection with the attack. Five others were released by a court pending trial.
On Monday Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay spoke to the media about the ongoing investigation into the deadly bombings and said all of the suspects captured so far are Turkish men. "Those who carried out the attack and killed our people are all Turkish. Those who have been captured and are still being sought by the police are Turkish," he said, denying media reports that some of the attackers are Syrian and that they fled to Syria after having carried out the attack.
In addition, Interior Minister Muammer Güler said three of the six suspects referred to prosecutors for questioning are believed to be the main perpetrators of the attack.
Also on Monday, Reyhanlı District Governor Yusuf Güler told the media that the state has paid TL 3.8 million to people whose houses and places of business were damaged in the bombings. According to Güler, 1,338 houses and shops sustained damage in the attacks.
On Saturday Hatay Governor Mehmet Celalettin Lekesiz paid a visit to families of some of the victims of the bloody attack and expressed his condolences. Speaking to reporters after the visit, the governor said the attack was aimed at destroying the centuries-old peace and calm in Hatay. “The attack caused sorrow and grief in all of Turkey. We will overcome the pain through solidarity. We will not allow anyone to damage the unity and fraternity of our society,” he stated.
Claim: Attack financed by Syrian businessman
The Milliyet daily claimed on Monday that the bombings in Reyhanlı were financed by a Syrian businessman, identified as Ammar M.H.A., who currently resides in the US. Turkey has reportedly contacted the CIA and FBI to apprehend the businessman.
According to the daily, the businessman met all the expenses of the attack, including the two vehicles that exploded as well as the money given to the assailants. The assailants were reportedly given 5 million Syrian pounds (approximately TL 128,000) to carry out the attack. The businessman allegedly gave the money to Nasır Eskiocak, a Turkish man who is being sought as the number one assailant in the attack. Eskiocak shared the money with his team of assailants.
Turkish police say Eskiocak is around 40 years old, and he has a criminal record in Turkey for possessing an unlicensed gun. The police suspect him of being an agent working for the Syrian intelligence agency al-Mukhabarat.
Many Turkish government officials blamed the attack on the Syrian regime and al-Mukhabarat. Damascus, however, denied Turkey's allegations that it was involved in the bombings.
The police found that a team of 17 people carried out the attack in Reyhanlı. One ton of TNT and C3 explosives were used in the bombings. The explosives were brought into Turkey from Latakia by sea. The explosives initially arrived in Hatay's Samandağ district and were later transported to Reyhanlı. The captured attackers said they monitored and checked the attack sites several times, and in return they received 5 million Syrian pounds.
According to police sources, the order for the Reyhanlı attack came from a commander of al-Mukhabarat, and Mehmet G. carried out the attack. The Mukhabarat general is identified by his codename -- Gen. Ethem. And the twin car bombs were exploded using a remote control by Mehmet G. Eskiocak ensured the coordination between Ethem and Genç. Genç and Eskiocak reportedly held several meetings prior to the Reyhanlı attack.
In addition, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) discovered that Ethem and Eskiocak had met a few times in Syria's coastal city of Latakia in the recent past. The latest meeting between Ethem and Eskiocak took place on May 8 -- three days before the deadly blasts in Reyhanlı.
CihanLast Mod: 21 Mayıs 2013, 09:26