Turkish court rules against Davutoglu testifying in Suruc terror bombing case

The demand for former Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu to testify as a witness into the Suruc terror bombing has been rejected by a Sanliurfa court, the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya Agency (MA) reported on Friday.

The suicide attack carried out by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Suruc district of Turkey’s southeastern Sanliurfa province claimed the lives of 33 people and wounded 104 more on July 20, 2015. It remains one of the deadliest terror attacks in the country’s recent history.

The explosion took place in the course of a meeting of a youth group which included mainly Kurdish university students with projects to help rebuild neighboring Kobane in Syria.

The Sanliurfa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office prepared an indictment on the attack 18 months later and the case started in May 2017 against three suspects.

Yakup Sahin had already been arrested as a suspect in another case and the others, Deniz Buyukcelebi and Ilhami Balli, being in Syria.

During Friday’s hearing held by the Hilvan 5th Heavy Penal Court the Sanliurfa Bar Association head Abdullah Oncel demanded that  Davutoglu who was Turkey’s prime minister at the time, be called as a witness and give his statement regarding the attack.

“I think the court should take a bold step and rule to hear Davutoglu as a witness… They should listen to everybody who is responsible for the bombing. … Had the government wanted it to be so, this bombing might not have happened,” Oncel argued.

The court, however, decided on Friday not to hear Davutoglu as a witness during the case and set the next hearing for January 31, 2020.

The judges also rejected a request by Sevda Celik Ozbingol, one of the lawyers representing the victims’ families, that they issue an arrest warrant for Abdullah Omer Aslan.

On the previous hearing of the case, the court accepted a criminal complaint filed against Aslan, who was captured by citizens nearby while taking photos of the dead and the injured in the wake of the explosion in Suruc.

After being sidelined by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the aftermath of a snap election, Davutoglu resigned from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in May 2016.

The former PM, who has been planning to form a new political party to challenge Erdogan and his AKP government, is expected to announce it in the upcoming months.

In reply to a claim by senior AKP members that he left them alone in the fight against terror, Davutoglu in August said that “many people would not be able to go out in public if one is to rake up the past with regards to the fight against terror.”

Referring to the time period between two elections held in Turkey in 2015, he added: “If the history of the Republic of Turkey would be written one day, the most critical part of that history will be the period between June 7 and November 1.”

Turkey saw a number of deadly terror attacks in various cities after the ruling AKP had lost the majority in parliament for the first time in its 13-year rule in the June 7 general election. The attacks continued until the AKP regained control of parliament on November 1.

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