12:24 GMT +318 October 2019
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    Belgian Parliament Says Cooperation on Counterterrorism With Turkey Complicated

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    Belgian authorities find it increasingly difficult to cooperate with Turkey on issues of counterterrorism, due to Turkey’s conduct in its co-efforts, Georges Dallemagne, a deputy head of the Belgian Parliamentary Inquiry Commission, set up to investigate the 2016 terrorist attacks in Brussels, said on Thursday.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — Dallemagne also mentioned the perpetrator of the deadly attacks in the Belgian capital, identified as Ibrahim Bakraoui, who was extradited from Turkey several months prior, and who, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was detained on his country's border with Syria and deported to Belgium, but was nonetheless sent to the Netherlands, with Belgian authorities receiving notification on the day of the extradition.

    "Cooperation with Turkey is considered extremely complicated and, despite numerous efforts of Belgium to improve counterterrorism cooperation with Turkey, we have to say that it remains today extremely difficult and complicated," Dallemagne said.

    He said that according to information received by the commission, one or several Turkish officials were allegedly bribed for Bakraoui to be sent to the Netherlands. Moreover, the data on Bakraoui's extradition was sent to Belgium via an Internet portal, not dedicated for conveying urgent information.

    "We are not the only country and this is not the only such case in relations with Turkey. In 21 out of 35 cases of extradition from Turkey to our country, the information from the Turkish authorities was either received too late, or was not received at all," Dallemagne said, adding that Germany was another country experiencing difficulties in its counterterrorism cooperation with Turkey.

    On March 22, 2016, two blasts hit Brussels Airport, with a third having occurred at Maalbeek metro station, located near EU institutions in the center of the city. The attacks claimed the lives of 35 people, leaving some 340 people injured. The Islamic State terrorist organization, banned in Russia and many other countries, claimed responsibility for the attack.

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