Mücahit Yolcu - Ömer Pınar - Mehmet Sezgin / Şanlıurfa, July 22 () - One suspect has been identified in connection with the bomb attack in Turkey’s southeastern province of Şanlıurfa that left scores of people dead and more injured, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on July 21, while also denying any negligence in security.
“One suspect has been identified. The [suspect’s] international and domestic links are being investigated” Davutoğlu said in a press statement in the bomb-struck Şanlıurfa on July 21, after receiving a briefing from the province’s governor, İzettin Küçük.
“As I underlined yesterday, the probability of the [the attack’s] link with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] and the suicide bomber has intensified. But it is not correct to say anything before the results of the final investigation emerge” Davutoğlu said.
“We expect this investigation to be concluded as soon as possible” he added.
A bomb exploded in the garden of the Amara Culture Center, belonging to the municipality in Şanlıurfa’s Suruç district, on July 20, killing at least 32 people and wounding more than 100 others.
The target of the suspected ISIL attack was a meeting of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF). The targeted group was aiming to cross over to the Syrian border town of Kobane, which had been subject to two ISIL attacks over the past 10 months, to bring humanitarian aid and construct a library.
PM hints at infiltration
Davutoğlu denied any negligence regarding security measures, adding an infiltration into the group was possible.
Stating security forces had conducted searches and identification checks when the group of SGDF members were on their way to Suruç, and adding that two people had been detained during those searches on unrelated charges, Davutoğlu said a second security check was not conducted in the premises of the Amara Culture Center upon a demand as the area belonged to the municipality.
“As things stand, the massacre was conducted either by infiltration or by a person from inside the group, who could not be identified, by being a suicide bomber” Davutoğlu said.
Death toll rises to 32
Davutoğlu also mentioned that the death toll had risen to 32, a figure Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş had said early July 21. Davutoğlu added 29 victims were still being treated at hospitals.
“What’s necessary will be done against whoever is responsible for [the attack]. Nobody should ever doubt this,” said Davutoğlu. “This is an attack that targeted Turkey” he added.
Davutoğlu said a cabinet meeting scheduled for July 22 would look at additional security measures for Turkey’s border with Syria.
“We will also discuss an action plan about additional security measures to be taken on our border at the cabinet meeting and will take necessary measures” he said.
Davutoğlu also denied suggestions from some commentators that Turkey and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) had encouraged ISIL in the past.
“Turkey and AK Party [AKP] governments have never had any direct or indirect connection with any terrorist organization and never tolerated any terrorist group” he said.
The bomb was determined to have been made of TNT, while it also contained marbles to increase the effect of its destruction.
On the same day, Turkish General Staff said in a written statement that attacks, some of them armed, had taken place in Turkey’s southeastern provinces, during which the army and its members were targeted.
It said soldiers were beaten, vehicles and heavy construction equipment were set on fire and explosives were thrown at military barracks in seven separate attacks in the Iğdır, Şırnak, Erzurum, Bitlis and Diyarbakır provinces.
120 kg bomb defused in Tunceli
Meanwhile, gendarmerie forces discovered a bomb weighing around 120 kilograms which had been planted on a road heading towards the Sütlüce district of Turkey’s eastern province of Tunceli.
A gendarmerie force conducting their routine security patrols in the region realized early July 21 the bomb was controlled remotely. The bomb was destroyed under controlled conditions by specialized units, while the Tunceli Governorate issued a statement on the 120-kilogram improvised explosive device at around 8:25 a.m.