Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said one of the perpetrators of two attacks on the Brussels airport and another at a busy subway station in the Belgian capital Tuesday that killed at least 30 people was deported by Turkey last year.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart Klaus Werner Iohannis at the presidential palace in Ankara, Erdoğan said one of the attackers of Brussels explosions was captured by Turkish security forces in June 2015 in Gaziantep and was subsequently deported.
The Turkish president did not name the attacker but said he was detained at Turkey’s border with Syria at Gaziantep. He added that Ankara gave formal notification to Brussels of his deportation on July 14.
“We notified the Belgian Consulate about the deportation on July 14, 2015. However, the Belgians released that person. They could not establish his links to terror despite our warnings. The Netherlands is also involved. We had deported him to the Netherlands upon his request and that country was also notified about this,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan claimed that Belgian authorities released the attacker.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks that left at least 30 dead 23 wounded, but authorities said it’s too soon to say for sure whether the terror group was behind the blasts.
Two of the bombers have been named as Khalid el-Bakraoui, who killed 20 people on the Brussels metro, and his brother Ibrahim, who attacked the airport with two others.
Some reports said Turkish officials have identified the suspect they had in custody and deported last year was el Bakroui.