Turkey Weighs into Deadly Dutch Shooting Attack, Erdogan Confirms

Policemen and rescuers are at work, on March 18, 2019 in Utrecht, near a tram where a gunman opened fire killing at least three persons and wounding several in what officials said was a possible terrorist incident. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkish intelligence services have joined investigators in the Netherlands examining whether Monday’s shooting attack in Utrecht was a terror incident or a possible family dispute, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Three people were killed and five injured after a single person opened fire onboard an urban tram in the Dutch city after the morning commute. The shooting sparked a city-wide manhunt and the closure of schools.

The gunman then fled the scene, leading to the manhunt which lasted for much of Monday before his arrest.

Dutch authorities said they were investigating a likely terrorist motive but “cannot exclude” other motives, including a family dispute.

AP reports Dutch police confirmed they have arrested a third person on suspicion of involvement in the attack.

Public prosecution office spokesman Ties Kortmann said Tuesday that three people are now in custody — the alleged shooter, 37-year-old Gokmen Tanis and two others who were also arrested.

“Our intelligence services are investigating all of this, our intelligence chief told me that he was going to gather all details and would come back to me,” Erdogan told Turkish TV channel Ulke TV.

“Some say that it is a family dispute, others say it is a terrorist act,” he said.

The main suspect, Gokmen Tanis, was born in Yozgat, central Turkey. Turkish state news agency Anadolu, citing “relatives” of the alleged assailant, said it may have been a possible “family dispute.”

The father of the suspect, Mehmet Tanis, said his son should be punished if found responsible, a Turkish news agency reported.

He said he had lost contact with his son after returning to Turkey in 2008 after divorcing his wife, the DHA agency reported. She remained in the Netherlands.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the country had been “jolted by an attack”, which he described as “deeply disturbing”.

“There are many questions and rumours,” he said. “It is unclear what the motives are behind this attack.”

The BBC reports local elections would go ahead as planned on Wednesday but flags would be flown at half-mast.

AFP contributed to this report

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