Ankara: Turkish police have arrested six people for planning attacks against Syrian refugees who have sought shelter in border camps, a local governor said on Wednesday.
The suspects - all of them Turkish nationals - allegedly plotted “kidnappings and bombing attacks at refugee shelters” in southeastern Hatay province, its governor Celalettin Lekesiz said in televised remarks.
He would not say when the arrests took place but the private NTV television reported that police, acting on a tip-off, carried out raids on several houses in the border province on Tuesday.
The arrests come after 51 people were killed in twin car bombings in the border town of Reyhanli in the same province on May 11, in an incident that shocked Turkey and raised fears of the growing regional impact of the Syrian conflict.
Turkish authorities on Tuesday said they had charged the prime suspect in the Reyhanli blasts, along with 11 others. Dozens have been arrested in connection with the attacks.
All the suspects are Turkish nationals who Ankara believes were backed by the Syrian regime although Damascus has denied any involvement in the blasts.
The attacks were the deadliest on Turkish soil since the start of the Syrian uprising, which began in March 2011 with peaceful protests against the rule of President Bashar Al Assad and has since spiralled into a civil war that has killed more than 90,000 people.
Turkey, a onetime ally and now vocal critic of the Assad regime, currently hosts some 400,000 Syrian refugees, as well as rebels and army defectors.
The Reyhanli bombings fuelled local resentment against the refugees accommodated in camps along Turkey’s volatile border with Syria.
Ankara has repeatedly urged its citizens to remain calm and assured that its open-door policy toward those fleeing the Syrian violence will remain intact.