Nine charged in Turkey Bombings

ISTANBUL, Turkey - A Turkish court on Tuesday charged nine suspected accomplices in last week's Istanbul suicide bombings, alleging they aided or were members of an illegal organization, reports Associated Press. Three other suspects were released, defense lawyer lawyer Selahattin Karahan said. The charges come less than a week after last Thursday's suicide bombings at the British consulate and the British-based HSBC bank, which left 30 people dead. According to CNN, no trial date has been set and the charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Seven other detainees were released. Four other detainees had already been released Monday, apparently for lack of evidence. The charges came just five days after the bombings of the British consulate and a London-based bank in Istanbul. Fifty-seven people died in those attacks and the earlier bombings of two synagogues in the city. On Wednesday, authorities arrested six people in connection with the synagogue bombings. A court charged five with "attempting to overthrow the constitutional structure," which carries a life sentence. The sixth was charged with "helping illegal organizations," punishable by five years in prison. On Monday, Istanbaul Gov. Muammer Guler said authorities were making progress in the investigation and had used DNA samples to identify the man who rammed an explosive-packed pickup truck into the consulate. "We've identified the culprits who carried out the attack on the British Consulate," Guler said. "We have all the details and we know their connections." Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a televised national address on the eve of the religious holiday ending the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, appealed to Turks to resist terrorism. "This is a war between justice and cruelty, good and bad, and true and false, it is our right to expect every sensible person to stand by justice, good, and truth in this war," Erdogan said. Police are examining the hard drives of 10 computers taken after the synagogue bombings from an Internet cafe in the city of Bingol. The cafe belonged to the brother of one of the suspected bombers, a local official said by telephone. On Sunday, Erdogan said it was too early to confirm al-Qaida involvement. Foreign and Turkish officials say the attacks bore the hallmarks of the network led by Osama bin Laden Experts speculate that Hezbollah may have been backed by Turkish authorities in the early 1980s to counter Kurdish separatists fighting a bloody insurgency against the military in the southeast. Turkey now sees the group as a threat to the secular state and is investigating any links to al-Qaida. Under government instructions, sermons in mosques around the country were to carry an anti-terrorism message at the start of the three-day religious holiday ending Ramadan on Tuesday.

Sources: Associated Press, CNN

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