21/4 mastermind is someone else – Turkish Envoy
Posted on August 6th, 2019

Sulochana Ramiah Mohan Courtesy Ceylon Today

Turkey’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka Tunca Ozcuhadar alleged that the Easter Sunday suicide bomber Zahran Hashim and his group were mere ‘foot soldiers’ who carried out an attack planned by someone else.

Ozcuhadar clarified that he is not a security expert but said the logic behind the systematic bombings shows that organising simultaneous attacks are a difficult task without proper logistical and financial support.

It does not look like a home-grown terrorist group to me. The interesting part is that Zahran got himself killed, which is awkward for a leader to do. It was a very short-sighted action, hence, there is a mastermind behind all the planning and executing of the bombings. Zahran and whoever next was not the leader but a foot soldier. If he was the leader, he should be alive and this was most likely operated from outside the country. This is my view,” the Envoy said.

He added that two Turkish engineers died in the bomb blast at Shangri-La hotel on 21 April and that a couple of days later, the members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) visited Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, who said that people know that the attacks had nothing to do with Muslims nor Islam, instead there are big powers using radicals for their own power struggle. Islam has nothing to do with IS (Islamic State)… whoever interprets the Quran for a political agenda is not Islamic,” he noted.

Turkey is already fighting IS fighters and are determined to eliminate the terror corridor from its borders.

Condemning the racial attacks on Muslims in the aftermath of the bombings, the Ambassador noted it was difficult to understand why all Muslims were blamed and said it was not the first time where Muslims have come under attack.

Ozcuhadar said that the OIC represents 57 predominantly Muslim countries representing 1.5 billion people and each of these countries has good links with Sri Lanka. Everybody is cooperating with Sri Lanka and none of those countries have an agenda.” He noted that the OIC wants peace to remain in the country and the welfare of its Muslims is a concern to them. Safety and security should be provided to all communities in the country and perpetrators and provokers should be brought to justice. We can only express our concerns.” He said Sri Lanka should grow economically and tourism should pick up and that the country should not ‘shoot itself in the foot’.

He also noted that they did not find a single Sri Lankan going to Syria en route in Turkey to fight for IS.

Turkey issues roughly 1,000 visas for Sri Lankans annually.  

The Ambassador also noted around 3,000 Turkish nationals visit Sri Lanka annually and their National Carrier Turkey Airlines flies  90 percent of the tourists to Sri Lanka.

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