Prime Minister Erdogan visits bomb-hit Reyhanli- UPDATED

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday paid a visit to the border town of Reyhanlı, saying "do not give exploiters an opportunity, and neither will we.”

Prime Minister Erdogan visits bomb-hit Reyhanli- UPDATED

World Bulletin/News Desk

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday paid a visit to the border town of Reyhanlı, a district of the southern province of Hatay where twin car bombs killed 51 people and injured dozens more on May 11.

Erdoğan’s visit came earlier than expected, as deputy Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Hüseyin Çelik earlier said in a Twitter post on Monday that the prime minister will meet with families of the victims and will also have meetings with locals in the town on May 30. The prime minister held a meeting in Reyhanlı on Saturday where he expressed solidarity with the local people.

During his speech to the people of Reyhanli, Erdogan said, “There are those exploiting this situation. Do not give these exploiters an opportunity, and neither will we.”

"We have not been, are not, and will not be abandoning you as a government or as a state. I simply have this favor to ask of you: do not give a premium to those organizations exploiting this situation trying to create discord amongst us.”

Erdogan expressed that Turkey is a strong country which would persevere amid these trying times, and that the Syrian opposition would topple the dictator Assad soon.

"Those who are trying to protect their own posts and continue their dictatorships are now harassing our peace in Turkey [...] But these days will pass and with God's willing, the day is near for the opposition forces in Syria to topple this dictator," Erdogan told the crowds.

Turkey has allowed its territory to be used as a logistics and organizing base for rebel forces and political groups seeking the ouster of the Syrian president. The country is also home to more than 300,000 Syrian shelter seekers, nearly 25 thousand of whom took refuge in Reyhanli town.

Reminding of the plight of the Syrians, Erdogan stated, “My brothers who came from Syria are your brothers. Never say negative things to our brothers which will force them from here. I believe my Reyhanli brothers would never do this. Only those with no respect toward others would do this.”

"We will embrace our Syrian brothers and sisters and we will not allow anyone to sow seeds of hatred among us. I believe when the day comes and peace is restored in Syria our brethren here will return to their homes," Erdogan said.

The twin car bombs ravaged the border town of Reyhanlı, which is a main hub for refugees and opposition forces who are trying to topple the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.

Turkey blamed the Syrian regime for attacks but Damascus has denied any role in the Reyhanlı bombings.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Mayıs 2013, 16:47