Suspect In Turkey Blasts Arrested Near The Syrian Border

Turkey car bomb

A man believed to be one of the main perpetrators of car bombings that killed more than 50 people near the Syrian border in Turkey has been detained by the police, officials have said.

According to Hatay governor Celalettin Lekesiz, police had detained a man, who local media named as Mehmet Genc, shortly before midnight on Thursday in Samandag district, near the Syrian border, and that he was being treated as a prime suspect.

Turkey has accused Syria of involvement in the two bombings last weekend in the town of Reyhanli in Hatay province, but the war-torn country has denied any role.

Deputy chairman of Turkey’s ruling AK Party, Huseyin Celik, said the two vehicles used in the bombings were registered to the detained man, and that he had driven one to a blast site in Reyhanli.

State-run broadcaster TRT reported on Friday that Reyhanli’s police chief had been dismissed.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week he did not think the attacks were the result of a weakness in the intelligence services, but that there may have been a “disconnect” between them and the police.

Lekesiz said police were still searching for two other suspected perpetrators, who along with the latest man detained had been trying to cross over into Syria from Samandag but had failed because of stepped-up security along the border.

The Hatay governor said the two men were believed to still be inside Turkey. A total of 16 people were in detention in relation to the bombings, Lekesiz said, four of whom were formally arrested. It was not clear what charges they faced.