Turkey deported Brussels attacker to the Netherlands but they set him free, Erdoğan says

Published 23.03.2016 18:33
Updated 23.03.2016 21:21
Turkey deported Brussels attacker to the Netherlands but they set him free, Erdoğan says

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday said that Turkey had previously deported one of the Brussels terror attackers and had notified Belgian authorities.

Turkey's Presidency identified the Brussels attacker who was deported by Turkey in June as Ibrahim El Bakraoui.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart Klaus Iohannis, President Erdoğan said that Turkey had caught one of the Brussels attackers in southeastern Gaziantep province in July 2015 and deported him, but was released as Belgium did not establish terror links with the suspect.

''Belgian embassy was notified on July 14, 2015 about the deportation of the attacker, who was later released in Belgium'' Erdoğan said and added that Belgium could not find terror links with the suspect, despite Turkey's warnings.

Erdoğan continued by saying that the Netherlands was also involved in the matter as the suspect was deported to the Netherlands at his own request and the Dutch authorities were also informed about the incident.

The president also underscored that it is crucial for the international community to take a determined stance against terrorism.

Turkey has consistently promoted to take a firm stance against terrorist groups, namely PKK, its Syrian offshoot YPG/PYD, left-wing Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), and Daesh for their direct threats against its national security.

Explosions on Tuesday at the Brussels airport and a city subway center killed 34 people, including three suicide bombers, and wounded over 270 people.

A suspect being sought in the terrorist attack on the Brussels airport is still on the run, Belgian officials have said.

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