Speaking at a news conference, Erdogan said Bakraoui was detained in the southern Turkish province of Gaziantep near the Syrian border and was later deported to the Netherlands. Turkey also notified Dutch authorities, Erdogan said. “One of the attackers in Brussels is an individual we detained in Gaziantep in June 2015 and deported. We reported the deportation to the Belgian Embassy in Ankara on July 14, 2015, but he was later set free,” Erdogan said. “Belgium ignored our warning that this person is a foreign fighter.”
Erdogan’s office confirmed that Bakraoui was deported to the Netherlands. It said he was later released by Belgian authorities as “no links with terrorism” were found. It was not clear when Bakraoui was handed over to Belgian authorities.