ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Latest on attack on Istanbul airport (all times local):
The European Union says it still wants Turkey make changes to its anti-terrorism laws that EU officials say are used to muzzle dissent — a stance rejected by Turkish officials in the wake of the bloodshed at lstanbul’s airport.
“New demands directed at Turkey, that would encourage the terrorists,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday. “We can’t make any changes in our terrorism laws. Tomorrow maybe, when conditions change.”
Cavusoglu and other high-ranking officials from Ankara were at EU headquarters to resume negotiations on their country’s application to join the European Union. As part of a deal to secure Turkish help in cutting the flow of migrants into Europe, the EU wants Turkey to narrow its legal definition of terrorism and amend other laws to bring them in line with EU standards.
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, whose country holds the revolving EU presidency, indicated the bloc’s position remains unchanged following the attack at Ataturk Airport that killed 42 people on Tuesday.
“We cannot have our agenda being decided by terrorists. We have an agreement with Turkey, we’re working on the benchmarks, and that will continue,” Koenders said. “And I hope we come to an agreement.”
The German government says Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken with Turkey’s president, assuring him that Germany stands by the country in the fight against terror.
Merkel’s office says the chancellor condemned Tuesday’s attack on the main Istanbul airport and offered her condolences in a Wednesday evening telephone conversation with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A government statement Thursday said the leaders agreed that “the threat from fanatical terrorism must be faced together.”
Relations between Germany and Turkey have been strained since the German Parliament voted on June 2 to label the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago genocide. That decision infuriated the government in Ankara.
Turkey’s state-run news agency says police have detained 13 people in connection to the deadly airport attack. Anadolu Agency says the three foreign nationals are among the group of suspects detained in Istanbul on Thursday.
Anadolu said police conducted simultaneous raids at 16 locations in the city, Anadolu said. Tuesday’s gunfire and suicide bomb attack on Ataturk Airport killed 42 people and wounded more than 230 others
Turkey’s state-run news agency says nine suspects linked to the Islamic State group were detained during a large-scale police operation in the coastal city of Izmir.
The Thursday morning raids unfolded simultaneously in the neighborhoods of Konak, Bucak, Karabaglar and Bornova neighborhoods, according to Anadolu Agency.
Police say they found three hunting rifles and documents relating to the Islamic State group, the prime suspect for the attack on Istanbul’s International Ataturk Airport that killed 42 people.
The report says the suspects were in contact with IS militants in Syria and were engaged in “activities that were in line with the organization’s aims and interests,” including providing financial sources, recruits and logistical support.
Turkey’s state-run news agency says police have conducted a series raids in Istanbul neighborhoods, targeting Islamic State suspects following the gunfire and suicide bomb attack at Ataturk Airport which killed 42 people.
Anadolu Agency said police searched residences in Istanbul’s Pendik, Basaksehir and Sultanbeyli neighborhoods but it was not clear if any arrests were made.
Authorities blamed the IS group for three assailants’ coordinated attack late Tuesday on one of the world’s busiest airports, that also injured more than 230.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility by the militant group.
A Turkish news report says security forces have killed two suspected Islamic State militants at the border with Syria.
Private NTV television said Thursday the two Syrian nationals “were neutralized” after they ignored security forces warnings, but provided no further details. It was not immediately clear if they were trying to cross illegally into Turkey.
NTV, without citing any sources, said one of the two militants was wanted by Turkey on suspicion that he would carry out suicide attacks in the capital Ankara or in the southern city of Adana.
The reported incident comes days after suspected IS militants attacked Istanbul’s busiest airport with gunfire and bombs Tuesday, killing 42 people and wounding more than 230 others.