11 May 2013

Fifty-two people are killed in a bombing in Reyhanl?, Turkey.

2013 Reyhanlı car bombings
LocationReyhanlı, Hatay Province, Turkey
Coordinates36°16′09″N 36°34′02″E / 36.26917°N 36.56722°E / 36.26917; 36.56722Coordinates: 36°16′09″N 36°34′02″E / 36.26917°N 36.56722°E / 36.26917; 36.56722
Date11 May 2013 (11 May 2013)
13:45 (EEST)
Attack type
Dual car bombings
Deaths52[1]
Injured140
Reyhanlı

The 2013 Reyhanlı car bombings took place on 11 May 2013, when two car bombs exploded in the Turkish town of Reyhanlı, a town of 64,000 people, 5 km from the Syrian border and the busiest land border post with Syria, in Hatay Province, Turkey. At least 52 people were killed and 140 injured in the attack.[1][2][3][4]

Turkish authorities accused the government of Syria of being behind the bombings, and within two weeks had charged 12 Turkish nationals who it said were backed by the Syrian government.[5] The state-run Anadolu news agency reported that in February 2018, a Turkish court sentenced nine suspects to life imprisonment and 13 other people to prison terms of 10 to 15 years for the bombings; and that in September 2018 another suspect was captured in Syria and brought to Turkey by Turkish intelligence.[6]

The Syrian government denied responsibility for the attacks. Other groups proposed as culprits include al-Nusra Front, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and Syrian Resistance.

Following the bombings, hundreds of Syrians fled Reyhanli, and some residents blamed the Turkish government for bringing the Syrian Civil War to the town.[7]

Background

Reyhanlı is a town of 64,000 people in the far south of Turkey in Hatay Province, 5 km from the Turkey-Syria border and close to the busiest land border post with Syria, the Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing.

Many Syrian refugees have passed through the town while fleeing from the Syrian Civil War. The nearby Cilvegözü–Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing, which is controlled on the Syrian side by rebels, is the busiest crossing point between the two countries.[8]

On 3 October 2012, mortar fire from Syria killed five people in the Turkish border town of Akçakale. On 11 February 2013, the gate of the Cilvegözü–Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing was the scene of a deadly attack, when an explosion killed 17 people and injured 30 more.[9]

Bombings

Two car bombs were left outside Reyhanlı's town hall and post office. The first exploded at around 13:45 EEST (10:45 UTC),[2] and the second about five minutes later.[10] People attempting to help those injured in the first explosion were caught in the second blast.[9]

A Cumhuriyet journalist reported controversy over the number of fatalities. It was suspected by some[which?] news sources that government and local officials had instructed local health care workers to limit the death toll to 50, while the real number was 177.[11][12]

While some Syrian refugees were caught in the blasts, the majority of the fatalities involved were local Turks.[13] Although there is still no information about the names of the dead, local officials revealed their nationalities, and stated that 5 of 52 people killed by the attacks were Syrian.[14]

Responsibility

Several options have been raised for the responsibility for the attack:

Syrian government or Mukhabarat

On Saturday, 11 May 2013, Turkey's two Deputy Prime Ministers Bülent Arınç and Besir Atalay said "the Syrian Mukhabarat (military intelligence service) and armed organizations are the usual suspects in planning and the carrying out of such devilish plans",[9] and Turkish sources accused Syria of being "behind the attacks".[15] Syria, according to information minister Omran al-Zoubi, immediately denied responsibility for the attacks, stating: "Syria [...] would never commit such an act because our values would not allow that."[13][16]

On 11 May, Turkish authorities said they had detained nine Turks with links to the Syrian Mukhabarat (military intelligence service), as suspects of the bombings.[15][17]

On 13 May 2013, Prime Minister Erdogan said that he held the Syrian government responsible.[18] By 21 May, Turkey had charged 12 Turkish nationals with the attacks, which they believed to have been backed by the Syrian government.[5] On 25 May, Erdogan repeated his accusation that the Syrian regime was behind the attack.[19]

Nasir Eskiocak, a Turkish national captured by the Turkish police on 10 June 2013 and for a while the prime suspect of the attack, said the attack was ordered by the Syrian Mukhabarat (military intelligence service), and then organized by him.[20]

On 12 September 2018, the Turkish National Intelligence Organization announced that they had captured Yusuf Nazik who is one of the main suspects of the 2013 bombing. He was nabbed in a "pinpoint operation" by Turkish intelligence in the regime-controlled city of Latakia. Nazik, born in the Antakya district of the southern province of Hatay, confessed in a video-recorded confession that he played a key part in the bombing as a coordinator between the bombers and the Syrian regime, which he said masterminded the attack. He pointed to a Syrian intelligence officer named Mohammed who had the codename "Hadji".[21]

Al-Nusra Front / al-Qaeda / ISIL

  • Al-Nusra:
    Mehmet Ali Ediboglu (CHP), representing Hatay Province in the Turkish parliament, said on 14 May 2013 he believed the al-Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra) to have planted the bombs, in an attempt "to get Turkey into the war".[18]
  • ‘Al-Qaeda elements’:
    On 25 May 2013, the Turkish hacker group RedHack alleged that leaked or hacked documents of Turkey's Gendarmerie intelligence department linked al-Qaeda-related groups in Syria to the attack, which was denied by Justice and Development Party (AKP) vice president Hüseyin Çelik. Çelik stated that the documents were leaked by a private using a cell phone but its content is unrelated to the bombings and the private is under arrest.[22][23][24][25][26]
    On 27 March 2014, also , Turkey's Ambassador to the OCSE, said the 11 May 2013 attack was carried out by "al-Qaeda elements operating out of Syria", which, in May 2013, may have meant either Jabhat al-Nusra or ISIL.[19][27] That statement was contradicted on 6 April 2014 in a written statement of the Turkish Foreign Ministry who stuck to their conviction that the attack was carried out with support from the Syrian government.[28]
  • ISIL:
    Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in late September 2013, while threatening Turkey with suicide attacks if Turkey would not reopen its Syrian border crossings at Bab al-Hawa and before 7 October, claimed responsibility for the Reyhanli attack of 11 May 2013.[29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36]

Acilciler versus Turkish government

Turkish authorities on 12 May 2013 suspected that former Turkish Marxist group Acilciler, now thought to be based in Syria, might have been revived by his leader Mihrac Ural, and might have ordered the attack.[15] Acilciler was, according to The Huffington Post, long-rumored to have been formed by the Syrian military intelligence service Mukhabarat.[15] The Turkish government on 12 May 2013 believed that Ural and his group, with their ties to pro-government Syrian groups, had carried out the attack.[15] Mihraç Ural, in return, has implicated the Turkish Intelligence Organization.[37]

Gülen movement

In 2015 former Adana prosecutor Özcan Şişman said in a letter to the Cumhuriyet newspaper that he was warned by MIT officers about a planned bombing attack in 2012 and 2013, three days before the Reyhanli attack. And that he was urged by the officers to carry out an operation against the cell. Şişman said he refused to carry out the operation and did not inform the police.[38] Şişman was arrested in the same year and was sentenced 17 years in prison in 2019 for obtaining and exposing state secrets and being a member of the Gülen movement.[39]

Aftermath

There was widespread panic in Reyhanlı following the blasts, with many people attempting to flee the town.[2] Clashes broke out between Turkish and Syrian people in Reyhanlı, and police were forced to intervene by firing into the air to disperse the crowds.[8] Turkish residents of the town reportedly attacked Syrian refugees and automobiles with Syrian license plates.[9]

BBC Journalist Wyre Davies reported from the site of the bombings in Reyhanli that there was 'real anger' among the people on the streets, not just against whoever had carried out the attacks but also against the government in Ankara.[13] Hundreds of Syrian refugees had been forced to leave, 'scapegoats for the crimes of others' in Davies' account, blamed for bringing the Syrian war to the town.[40] The refugees were held to have made the town a target for Assad's agents in Turkey. The media also were unpopular. "Whoever carried out the bombings has deliberately and successfully driven a wedge between two communities who had always coexisted, even before the war, because of cross-border trade and other historic ties", the journalist wrote.[41]

In response to the attacks, the Turkish government sent large numbers of air and ground forces increasing the already heavy military presence in the area.[42]

Protesters clashed with police in the town on Saturday, 18 May, voicing their anger over the government's response to the attack and its decision to take in Syrian refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict.[43]

Turkey sealed the border with Syria for one month in order to stop possible suspects from escaping.[44]

Media ban

The Reyhanlı Court of Peace ordered all voice, written, and visual publications referring to the blasts' aftermath banned, including content describing, and images of, the injured and the dead. The court ruled that the written and visual content would jeopardize the confidentiality and outcome of the ongoing prosecution.[45] On 16 May 2013, the Hatay First Criminal Court cancelled the order issued by the Reyhanlı Court of Peace.[46] Only the state-run and Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) were allowed to cover visits by Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin and Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu to the injured in Antakya State Hospital. When the main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, of the Republican People's Party (CHP), visited the victims at the same hospital on Monday, only reporters from Anatolia and TRT were allowed to cover Kılıçdaroğlu's visit, while reporters from the Cihan News Agency, the İhlas News Agency and the Doğan News Agency were not allowed to do so.[47]

Several media unions protested the media ban imposed on the Reyhanlı bombings and appealed to the courts to remove the ban immediately. The media ban was condemned by several journalistic organizations in Turkey. Atilla Sertel, the chairperson of the Journalists Federation of Turkey, stated that such bans would cause major misinformation and would result in misleading the public. The Press Institute Association of Turkey claimed the court order upholding the ban was a censure and a major blow to press freedom.[45]

Reactions

Domestic

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said, "There may be those who want to sabotage Turkey's peace, but we will not allow that. No one should attempt to test Turkey's power. Our security forces will take all necessary measures."[9] Speaking in Berlin, he said that the bombings were a consequence of global inaction in intervening in the Syrian civil war.[48]

Opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu held Erdogan accountable for the bombings and compared him to Syria's president Assad. Erdogan threatened to sue him in response.[49][50]

International

Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi placed responsibility for the attacks on the Turkish authorities and said, "it was the Turkish government that had facilitated the flow of arms, explosives, vehicles, fighters and money across the border into Syria", and thus "had turned the border areas into centres for international terrorism".[13]

The UN Security Council strongly condemned the Reyhanli bombings, stating, "Any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed."[51] NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also condemned the attack, calling it "despicable", and said that NATO stood by Turkey.[9]

British Foreign Secretary William Hague issued a Twitter statement saying, "My thoughts are with family and friends of the victims. We stand with the people of Turkey."[9] United States Ambassador Francis Ricciardone stated that the U.S. "strongly condemns today's vicious attack, and stands with the people and government of Turkey to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice."[52]

Investigations

On 11 May, the authorities had immediately detained nine suspected Turks.[15] By 20 May, 18 people had been detained.[53]

Investigations have revealed that Ankara was the initial target of the recent attacks in Reyhanlı, according to Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay.[54]

In July 2013, several MİT intelligence officials were dismissed for negligence, after an inquiry concluded that MİT had had sufficient information to prevent the attack, but had failed to share it with police quickly enough.[55]

See also

References

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11 May 1998

India conducts three underground atomic tests in Pokhran.

At 6pm on May 11, 1998 the Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee announced the successful completion of India’s first nuclear tests since the ‘peaceful nuclear test’ of 1974. He read the following statement.

“Today at 1545 hrs, India conducted three underground nuclear tests in the Pokhran range. The tests were conducted with a fission device, a low yield device and a thermonuclear device. The measured yields are in line with expected values. Measurements have also confirmed that there was no release of radioactivity into the atmosphere. These were contained explosions like the experiment conducted in may 1974. I warmly congratulate the scientists and engineers who have carried out these successful tests.”
The photograph is Mr Vajpayee announcing the tests.

According to the Times of India earlier in the day the 500 residents of Pokhran, 35km from the 1974 blast were evacuated. The tests were conducted within hours about 3km north of Khetolai, the people of Pokhran felt the earth shake 3 times within 5 seconds. The residents who also observed the 1974 test immediately knew a nuclear test had just been completed. This also came as no surprise as the increase in military activity at the site had significantly increased over the last year.

When the official announcement came that India has successfully undertaken the nuclear tests, the people of Pokhran started dancing with joy in the main bazaar. Celebrations erupted throughout India, evidence of broad popularity of the tests. All political parties announced their support for the tests.

The tests resulted in immediate condemnation from around the world. The U.S., Japan and Canada imposed sanctions, other countries withdrew ambassadors and made strong complaints.

11 May 1953

A tornado outbreak in Waco, Texas kills 114 people.

The 1953 Waco tornado outbreak was a series of at least 33 tornadoes occurring in 10 different U.S. states on May 9–11, 1953. Tornadoes appeared daily from Minnesota in the north to Texas in the south. The strongest and deadliest tornado of the severe weather event was a powerful F5 on the Fujita scale.[nb 1] It struck Waco, Texas, on May 11, causing 114 of the 144 deaths in the outbreak. Alongside the 1902 tornado in Goliad, it was the deadliest tornado in Texas history and is the eleventh deadliest tornado in U.S. history. The tornado’s winds demolished more than 600 houses, 1,000 other structures, and over 2,000 vehicles. Nearly 600 injuries occurred, and many survivors had to wait over 14 hours for rescue. The destruction dispelled a myth that the geography of the region spared Waco from tornadoes, and along with other deadly tornadoes in 1953, the Waco disaster was a catalyst for advances in understanding the link between tornadoes and radar-detected hook echoes. It also generated support for improved civil defense systems, the formation of weather radar networks, and improved communications between stakeholders such as meteorologists, local officials, and the public.

2Time from first tornado to last tornado
The 1953 Waco tornado outbreak was a series of at least 33 tornadoes occurring in 10 different U.S. states on May 9–11, 1953. Tornadoes appeared daily from Minnesota in the north to Texas in the south. The strongest and deadliest tornado of the severe weather event was a powerful F5 on the Fujita scale. It struck Waco, Texas, on May 11, causing 114 of the 144 deaths in the outbreak. Alongside the 1902 tornado in Goliad, it was the deadliest tornado in Texas history and is the eleventh deadliest tornado in U.S. history. The tornado’s winds demolished more than 600 houses, 1,000 other structures, and over 2,000 vehicles. Nearly 600 injuries occurred, and many survivors had to wait over 14 hours for rescue. The destruction dispelled a myth that the geography of the region spared Waco from tornadoes, and along with other deadly tornadoes in 1953, the Waco disaster was a catalyst for advances in understanding the link between tornadoes and radar-detected hook echoes. It also generated support for improved civil defense systems, the formation of weather radar networks, and improved communications between stakeholders such as meteorologists, local officials, and the public.The Waco tornado was not the only deadly and damaging tornado in the outbreak sequence. On the same day as the Waco disaster, a high-end F4 tornado struck the Texas city of San Angelo, causing catastrophic damage, killing 13 people, and injuring more than 150. The tornado swept away numerous homes and damaged a school, but students inside escaped serious injuries. On May 9, a long-tracked F3 tornado destroyed a large swath of Hebron, Nebraska, and killed five people in the area. The following day, May 10, featured numerous, often long-tracked and intense tornado families across the states of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Two families on nearly parallel paths traveled more than 100 miles  each and killed a combined total of six people, mostly in Wisconsin. At least one of the tornado families reached F4 intensity in Wisconsin. Two other F4 tornadoes also struck Iowa. Additionally, a relatively moderate tornado of F2 intensity caused significant loss of life in a shack in Minnesota, killing six people. Although 33 tornadoes were officially registered from May 9–11, others likely occurred but either went undetected or were not officially documented.

11 May 1927

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is formed.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also known as simply the Academy is a professional honorary organization with the stated goal of advancing the arts and sciences of motion pictures. The Academy’s corporate management and general policies are overseen by a Board of Governors, which includes representatives from each of the craft branches.

The roster of the Academy’s approximately 6,000 motion picture professionals is a “closely guarded secret”. While the great majority of its members are based in the United States, membership is open to qualified filmmakers around the world.

The Academy is known around the world for its annual Academy Awards, now officially known as The “Oscars”.

In addition, the Academy holds the Governors Awards annually for lifetime achievement in film; presents Scientific and Technical Awards annually; gives Student Academy Awards annually to filmmakers at the undergraduate and graduate level; awards up to five Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting annually; and operates the Margaret Herrick Library (at the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study) in Beverly Hills, California, and the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood, Los Angeles. The Academy plans to open the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles in 2017.

11 May 1997

The chess-playing supercomputer called Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format.