Justice Min. under fire for handling of Brussels terrorism suspect

Ard van der Steur (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)Ard van der Steur (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)

The opposition parties in parliament are not happy with Minister Ard van der Steur's explanation that Turkey did not follow the right procedures in informing the Netherlands that Brussels bomber Ibrahim el Bakraoui was being deported to the country. According to the opposition, the Minister is only trying to keep his side clean.

El Bakraoui was one of the suicide bombers that attacked Zaventem airport in Brussels on Tuesday. He was deported to the Netherlands in July last year. On Thursday Security and Justice Minister Van der Steur wrote to Parliament that there was no reason to act against El Bakraoui because he was not registered as a suspected jihadist or terrorist on Dutch or international databases.

He added that Turkey did not properly inform the Netherlands about the deportation. They only sent a note to the Dutch embassy, instead of calling as is usual. The note also did not contain any substantive information on why El Bakraoui was being deported.

But the opposition is not satisfied with this explanation. "We still need to hear a lot from the Minister. It took 24 hours until there was a response from the ministry. That actually says enough", D66 leader Alexander Pechtold said to BNR.

"This shows that European cooperation in the field of security is not in order", GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver said. "Turkey and Belgium dropped stitches, but also the Netherlands is quickly trying to sweep it's own side clean."

PVV leader Geert Wilders is also not satisfied. "Unbelievable. Why was a warrant not issued later when they possibly knew more about him. What did the AIVD and MIVD know about him. In short, a thousand questions!" he said.

ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers sees "cause for concern". "Why was the deportation not noticed or questioned?", he asked BNR. The CDA called the state of affairs "extremely amateurish".