BEIRUT

Middle East

Turkey opens trial over deadly 2012 bombings

  • Officials work on one of the scenes of the twin car bomb attacks in the town of Reyhanli of Hatay province near the Turkish-Syrian border May 12, 2013. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

ISTANBUL: The trial opened in Turkey on Monday of 33 people accused of involvement in a deadly bombing in a town near the Syrian border, with prosecutors seeking mammoth life sentences.

The suspects face charges of murder, attempted murder and injuring victims over the twin car bombings in the town of Reyhanli in May last year which left 52 people dead.

The attacks, the deadliest on Turkish soil since the start of the Syrian conflict almost three years ago, fuelled local resentment against the refugees living in camps along the volatile border.

Prosecutors in the southeastern city of Adana demanded so-called aggravated life sentences and up to 3,597 years in prison each for 17 of the suspects, including Mihrac Ural, the alleged mastermind, CNN-Turk television said. 

The remaining 16 defendants, who are accused of complicity in the attacks, face prison terms of up to 15 years if convicted. 

At the time, Ankara blamed Turkish extremist groups backed by the Syrian government for the Reyhanli bloodshed, although Damascus denied involvement.

Turkey, a vocal critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, currently hosts more than 600,000 Syrian refugees, as well as rebels and army defectors.

 
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