Syria-linked agents in complicity with CHP deputies: PM

Erdoğan has claimed that some agents in southern Turkey linked to the Syrian regime are working as accomplices with some deputies from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).

Syria-linked agents in complicity with CHP deputies: PM

World Bulletin/News Desk

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has claimed that some agents in southern Turkey linked to the Syrian regime are working as accomplices with some deputies from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).

The complicity between the agents and CHP deputies is aimed at instigating instability in southern Turkish provinces, according to the prime minister.

Erdoğan's remarks came on Tuesday during his Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) parliamentary group meeting. The prime minister also called on the CHP leader and those deputies to resign. This was the first time Erdoğan has made such a call since the CHP leader was elected to office in 2010.

Erdoğan, in addition, reiterated his earlier claims that the men who are believed to be behind the twin car bombs that killed 52 people in Hatay province's Reyhanlı district on the Syrian border earlier this month also helped officials from the CHP meet with embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2011.

“The man who took the CHP delegation to Damascus is actually the man who planned the dark incident [Reyhanlı attack] in Turkey,” said the prime minister.

A group of CHP officials headed by Deputy Chairman Faruk Loğoğlu went to Syria in the summer of 2011 and met with Assad. Another delegation went to Damascus last year and met with the Syrian president. They secured the release of Turkish journalist Cüneyt Ünal, who was captured by forces loyal to the Syrian regime and kept in custody for 40 days.

Last week, Erdoğan publicly said two men who are believed to be behind the Reyhanlı bombings also helped CHP officials meet with Assad.

Turkey was shocked on May 11 by the twin car bombings in Reyhanlı that killed 52 people and wounded more than 100. Reyhanlı is a principal location for Syrian refugees who have fled the violence in their country.

The prime minister criticized the opposition parties for making efforts at provocation in southern Turkey and dismissed media reports and opposition claims that the twin blasts in Reyhanlı had caused instability and chaos in towns bordering Syria.

In addition, Erdoğan said the CHP has the right to criticize Turkey's Syria policies but has no right to side with a country he described as an “enemy,” referring to Syria.

Also on Tuesday, the Star daily published a photo from an earlier meeting between some CHP deputies and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In the photo is seen Syrian intelligence agency al-Mukhabarat's Anas Asalieh, who uses the codename Abu Firas. Firas is believed to be one of the masterminds behind the Reyhanlı bombings. In addition, he is accused of ordering the bombing of some locations in Syria that support the Free Syrian Army and the kidnapping of opposition leaders in the country.

In the Star's photo, Assad is seen talking to CHP deputies Hasan Akgöl, Mevlüt Dudu, Şafak Pavey and Aytuğ Atıcı. Firas is also one of the participants of the meeting.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu addressed his deputies in a parliamentary speech on Tuesday; however, he did not respond to Erdoğan's claims of connection between the CHP deputies and the Reyhanlı attackers. Instead, he criticized the government for its Syria policy.

“Innocent people pay for the tension [of Turkey] with Syria. The only responsible man for this tension is Erdoğan. … He is a man who trains members for a terrorist organization and sends them to Syria. I am addressing you, Erdoğan, you are the head of a terrorist organization,” the CHP leader said.

The prime minister last week sued Kılıçdaroğlu for his remarks that Erdoğan is a “murderer” and he is a “dictator,” seeking TL 1 million in compensation.

Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized the prime minister for his “belated” visit to Reyhanlı. Erdoğan visited the town on May 25 -- two weeks after the bombings.

The CHP leader also slammed the government over the role security and intelligence flaws played in the success of the Reyhanlı attack.

The Prime Ministry Inspection Board is carrying out an investigation to find out if there was negligence by any state organization or official in failing to prevent the bombings in Reyhanlı. The board has found that the intelligence department of the Turkish police force on May 9 sent intelligence regarding the fatal attack in Reyhanlı to 13 security units, including Hatay's gendarmerie command and the regional MİT branch.

A notice was sent by the National Police Department's intelligence department to Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay; the General Staff; the Foreign, Interior Affairs and Justice ministries; MİT; and the Gendarmerie General Command on May 9 regarding plans of an attack in the Reyhanlı area.

However, it is still a mystery how the assailants managed to carry out the attack in Reyhanlı even though the intelligence about plans for an attack in the town had been obtained beforehand.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Mayıs 2013, 09:50