Turkey voices concern over citizens’ alleged link to Bangkok bombing
The Turkish embassy in Bangkok expressed concern Thursday over reports alleging that its citizens were involved in a deadly bomb attack in the Thai capital last month, dpa reports.
The first suspect in the August 17 bombing of a Hindu shrine that killed 20 people was arrested Saturday. He held a fake Turkish passport and was reported by news outlets to be a Turkish national.
The embassy said it was dissatisfied with “false information given in certain press reports that this person is a Turkish citizen.”
“Thai authorities should provide clear and correct information about this news report,” a spokesperson from Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was quoted as saying.
“Our Embassy in Bangkok stated that he is not a Turkish citizen.”
The statement added that the Turkish embassy in Bangkok was in contact with Thai authorities.
The unidentified suspect reportedly used a fake passport to travel from Turkey to Vietnam before entering Thailand through the Thai-Cambodian border.
His apartment was raided by security forces on Saturday, and fake Turkish passports and bomb-making materials were found.
The arrest led authorities on Sunday to another suspect’s apartment, where more bomb-making materials were found.
The fingerprints found on the bomb-making materials match those of the second suspect, identified by authorities as Yusufu Mieraili. He was arrested Tuesday near the Thai-Cambodian border.
He is believed to be the prime suspect in the case. He has admitted being at the shrine but denied planting the bomb.
The suspects belong to “a very large network” comprised of both Thai and foreign elements, Police Chief Somyot Poompanmoung said.
The apartment raided on Sunday is owned by Thai citizen Wanna Suansan, who is currently in Turkey and is wanted for questioning by Thai authorities.
Wanna said she is innocent and that she planned to return to Thailand to defend herself.
Authorities on Wednesday also issued an arrest warrant for Wanna’s husband, Emrah Davutoglu, who is also believed to be in Turkey.
The Post Today newspaper reported Thursday that Thai police arrested a third person suspected of involvement in last month’s attack. He was allegedly in contact via phone with Wanna.
Security analysts said the bomb attack in central Bangkok did not fit the pattern of local and regional terror groups.
Some speculated that the most likely culprits were Turkish far-right groups unhappy with Thailand’s deportation of Uighur refugees back to China. Uighurs are a Muslim ethnic minority in north-western China that speaks a language related to Turkish.
So far, eight arrest warrants have been issued.
The Turkish Embassy said the Thai authorities had not contacted it about the arrest warrants.