Syrian Regime Behind Reyhanlı Attack, Not al-Qaeda Says Turkish Ministry

pirhayati20130513033858530There is no doubt that a deadly bombing that killed over 50 in Reyhanlı on the Turkish-Syrian border in May 2013 was committed by Damascus, Turkish officials have claimed, despite persistence speculation that the attack was staged by al-Qaeda.

“There is no doubt that the Reyhanlı attack was carried out with support from the . Consequently, reports, expressions and attempts aimed at creating a perception as if there are contradicting statements among state officials are completely invalid,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement released late April 6.

The statement came in the form of an official answer to a journalist’s question by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç.

A report by Al-Monitor concerning the May 2013 attack in Reyhanlı town of Hatay, where two car bombs exploded in the town center, killing more than 50 people, apparently prompted the ministry to deliver such statement.

The Al-Monitor report was based on a reported response by Turkey’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Ambassador Tacan İldem, to Armenia’s permanent representative to the OSCE, Ambassador Arman Kirakossian, who claimed that the Armenian-populated town of Kassab in Syria was being attacked from Turkish territory by al-Qaeda-affiliated militant groups.

The Foreign Ministry statement confirmed that during the OSCE meeting in late March, İldem also referred to the Reyhanlı attack, while he was listing incidents in which Turkey was targeted by al-Qaeda.

In the statement subsequently made by the Permanent Representation Office, it was made clear Turkish authorities’ statements citing terrorist elements supported by the Syrian regime as perpetrators of this attack were still valid, the Foreign Ministry said.

The statement by İldem to which the ministry referred is posted on the webpage of the Permanent Representation of Turkey to the OSCE.

“On that occasion we also gave some examples of terrorist attacks in Turkey which were linked to Syria. In this connection, mention was also made of the May 11, 2013, attack on the town of Reyhanlı, initially reported to be linked to al-Qaeda, but later discovered by Turkish security agencies to have been carried out by terrorist elements supported by the Syrian regime. All necessary explanations to the public on the background and perpetrators of this attack have already been made by the pertinent Turkish security agencies. Their statements on this issue remain fully valid,” said İldem’s statement dated April 6.

 

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