Two Turkish citizens have been named among the victims of a series of deadly bombings in Sri Lanka on Sunday, 21 April, that claimed the lives of over 300 and injured hundreds more.
The Turkish victims were named by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Twitter. Writing in Turkish he said:
“Unfortunately, we lost our citizens Selçuk Nariçi and Yiğit Ali Çavuş in the treacherous attacks in Sri Lanka”.
Extending his condolences to families of the victims, Çavuşoğlu added: “We are in contact with their families and we will ensure the quick return of their bodies to our country.”
Sri Lanka’daki hain saldırılarda vatandaşlarımız Serhan Selçuk Nariçi ve Yiğit Ali Çavuş’u maalesef kaybettik. Merhum vatandaşlarımıza Allah’tan rahmet, ailelerine başsağlığı diliyorum. Aileleriyle temas halindeyiz, cenazelerin ülkemize süratle getirilmesini sağlayacağız.
— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) 21 April 2019
According to local news reports, both men were engineers working in Sri Lanka who had gone to a hotel in the capital Colombo to have breakfast where one of the bombs were detonated.
Talking to press outside his Kadıköy home, Yiğit Ali Çavuş’s father Mehmet said his father was employed as an engineer by a private firm in Sri Lanka. He said:
“He was a sparkling child who finished ITU [Istanbul Technical University] with honours and spoke two languages. He was a successful boy for his country, so how can they slaughter these types of people.”
Retired civil servant Mehmet Nariçi condemned the terror attack outside his home in Gölbaşı, near the capital Ankara, on Sunday. His son Selçuk was the third of four children, who had graduated from Gaziantep.
Mr Nariçi said Selçuk had started work immediately after graduating:
“He was always working abroad. He was previously in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Mauritania, and in Sri Lanka for the past three years. We lost him this morning in a terrorist attack. We were informed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the [Turkish] Ambassador to Colombo. Many officials from institutions and organisations have called us to offer their condolences and to tell us they share our pain.”
The devastated father added, “I lost my young son to terrorism. These attacks must end, no one else should be sacrificed for terrorism.”
Sri Lankan officials inspect St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, north of Colombo, after multiple explosions targeting churches & hotels across Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019
Both victims’ families had been contacted by Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu and other officials to offer their condolences and to confirm the bodies of the two men will be returned to their families as quickly as possible.
On Easter Sunday, Sri Lanka was rocked by a wave of co-ordinated bombings that killed more than 300 people at churches and luxury hotels.
It is the deadliest violence in the country since the end of the civil war a decade ago. Most of the victims are believed to be Sri Lankans, but at least 31 foreigners are also among the dead, with over a dozen people still unaccounted for.
News of the bombings was first reported at about 08:45 (03:15 GMT) on Sunday. Six blasts took place within a short space of time. Three were at churches during Easter Service: in the Kochchikade district of the capital, Colombo; in Negombo, to the north; and in the eastern city of Batticaloa.
The other three blasts rocked the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in Colombo.
The Kingsbury Hotel after being targeted by a blast in Colombo on April 21, 2019
Two further explosions were reported later as police searched for suspects – one in Dehiwala in southern Colombo, and another one near the Colombo district of Dematagoda, during a police raid.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but the tactics resemble those used by extreme Islamist groups such as Al Qaeda. Suspicion has fallen on National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), a previously little-known group in Sri Lanka that had splintered off from another hardline Islamist group in the country.
Muslims in Sri Lanka make-up a minority of the country, with just under 10% of the 21 million population identifying themselves as Muslim. About 70% of Sri Lankans are Buddhist.
Main photo top of Selçuk Nariçi (left) and Yiğit Ali Çavuş. Originally from Turkey, the two engineers were killed on Easter Sunday as they were having breakfast at a hotel in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.