On the same day when the U.S. Embassy in Ankara was attacked by a suicide bomber, the Turkish daily news had an exclusive front-page report with the headline: “Bin Laden’s son-in-law arrested in Ankara.”
According to this exclusive report on Feb. 1 by Tolga Sardan, the CIA had tipped off the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) that Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, Suleiman Abu Gheith, has entered Turkey with a forged passport, and that the Turkish security forces have recently arrested him at a hotel in Ankara’s Cankaya district, where Turkey’s presidential palace, the U.S. ambassador’s residential compound, and a number of embassies are also located.
The former spokesman of the world’s most deadly terror network reportedly escaped Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and settled in a camp in Iran. The Milliyet story said Abu Gheith appeared before a Turkish judge, but he was “let free as he did not commit any crime in Turkey except entering the country with a forged passport. Despite his release though, he was returned to the Turkish security forces for deportation. Although the U.S. asked that he be extradited to them, Turkish authorities have sent him back to Iran based on technical legal procedures.”
Considering Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s complains that the West is taking sides with PKK terrorists and failing to extradite them back to Turkey like allies should do, this report had the potential to turn the coin to the other side, and bring an international spotlight into Turkey’s terrorism laws as well as its legal definition of a “terrorist,” and the country’s responsibilities for the larger safety and security of our world.
In this context, it’s certainly convenient that it’s not an al-Qaeda franchise that conducted the attack to the U.S. Embassy on Feb.1. Turkey could actually have found itself in a very difficult situation if this were to be somehow related to al-Qaeda, and that the country’s image might significantly be compromised.