Turkey jails 7 more in Istanbul airport attack

Turkey jails 7 more in Istanbul airport attack
Honour guards carry the portrait and coffin of Eyup Oksuz, a 21-year-old Turkish soldier killed in an attack blamed on Kurdish militants in the eastern city of Van on July 9, during his funeral in Ankara on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 11 July 2016

Turkey jails 7 more in Istanbul airport attack

Turkey jails 7 more in Istanbul airport attack

ISTANBUL: A Turkish court has jailed seven suspects pending trial on terrorism charges over last month’s triple suicide bombing at Istanbul’s main airport, bringing the number in custody to 37, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The attack at Ataturk Airport killed 45 people and wounded hundreds, the deadliest in a series of bombings this year in Turkey.
The seven suspects were detained on charges of “membership of an armed terrorist group” and being accomplices to murder, Anadolu said. The private Dogan news agency said all seven were foreign nationals.
Media reports have said at least 11 of those detained were Russian.
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended his plan to give Syrian refugees Turkish citizenship, arguing there was ample space in the country after a backlash against the suggestion, in comments published Monday.
Erdogan said on July 2 that Syrians could eventually be granted Turkish citizenship “if they want it,” in remarks which were met with anger from opposition politicians and social media users.
More than 2.7 million Syrian refugees now live in Turkey, where they have guest status, according to the Turkish government.
In his first comments on the issue since announcing the plan, the president said if Syrians had dual citizenship it did not mean they had to return to Syria once the conflict was over.
“Is it a must for dual citizens, for people with citizenship, to return to their countries of birth?” he told Turkish reporters on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Warsaw, quoted by the Hurriyet daily.
“When Turks went to Germany in 1963, no one asked whether they would or would not return to Turkey,” he said, referring to the Turkish so-called Gastarbeiter who helped Germany’s economic recovery after World War II.
He added: “There is no need to worry, this country has 79 million people living on 780,000 sq. km of land. “Germany is half our size and has 85 million people,” he added, lightly overstating the German population. “We are a country that can easily overcome (challenges).”
The president even suggested that empty homes built by the state housing agency could be used to house Syrians. “Most of these Syrians work illegally.
“What we’re saying is there needs to be a solution. Among these people, there are doctors, engineers, lawyers, health workers, teachers, all of these people can benefit our country: they can be given citizenship,” Erdogan added.