Ex-PM Davutoğlu should testify at Suruç bombing case, says victims’ lawyers

Ahmet Davutoğlu, who recently established the Future Party following his fallout with Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), should testify as a witness in the case of the 2015 bombing in the border town of Suruç, as he was the prime minister at the time, lawyers representing the victims said during a case hearing on Friday.

“Davutoğlu was the prime minister in this country when the Diyarbakır, Ankara and Suruç massacres occurred, why wouldn’t he testify?” lawyer of the Suruç bombing victims and Şanlıurfa Bar Association Chairman Abdullah Öncel said, repeating the demand from a previous hearing.

The court in a November hearing rejected the demand to have Davutoğlu testify.

“Davutoğlu had said (certain politicians) would not be able to show their faces in public. Bring him here and let him tell all that he knows,” Şemsa Yurtgül, the mother of one of the victims, said in November.

On July 20, 2015, a suicide bomber targeted a group of left-wing activists who had gathered in the southeastern Şanlıurfa province’s Suruç district to take supplies for the reconstruction of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani across the border following the end of an ISIS occupation. Thirty four people were killed in the attack.

The massacre marked the beginning of a series of Islamic State (ISIS) attacks in Turkey, including the suicide attack in the Ankara Train Station on Oct. 10 that killed 110 people.

Davutoğlu made headlines last year over his statements on the string of terror attacks that rocked the country.

“If the terror related cases are investigated, many people will not be able to go show their faces in public,” Davutoğlu had said in August. “When Turkish history is written in the future, the period between (the two elections on) June 7 and November 1 will be one of the most critical times.”

During Friday’s hearing, the court ruled for the release of the last remaining suspect in the Suruç bombing.

Families of the victims demanded that the alleged head of ISIS in Turkey, İlhami Balı, testify in court.  

“(Turkey) has the power to bring İlhami Balı to court,” Abdullah Öncel added.

Survivor Aydeniz Aslan said in the five years since the explosion, barely any progress had been made in the case. Radio recordings and security camera footage related to the explosion were still not presented to the court, Aslan added.

“Why doesn’t the court hear testimony from the then anti-terror unit chief Oğuz Davarcı?” lawyer Sezin Uçar asked. “He previously said that the police had received intelligence on a possible suicide against socialist youth.”

The court ruled to bring suspect Yakup Şahin to testify in the next hearing set for May 20.