Reports from the Turkish news media indicate that Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law, Suleyman M, was arrested just hours before the suicide bomb blast at the United States Embassy in Ankara. Agents from the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), acting on a CIA tip, arrested Suleyman at a hotel in the Çankaya district of Ankara. The Turkish daily newspaper, Milliyet, reported that Suleyman entered the country illegally by using a fake Saudi Arabian passport.
After his arrest, Suleyman M was taken before a Turkish magistrate, who initially ruled that the prisoner would be released, since he committed no other crimes in Turkey besides the passport violation. However, MIT agents took Suleyman back into custody in the courtroom and returned him to the police department, where he will be held until he is deported to Iran.
Following the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11, Suleyman disappeared from the al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, and his whereabouts remained unknown until he resurfaced in Iran in 2002. The Iranian government, to avoid any appearance of openly supporting al-Qaeda, kept Suleyman, and other members of Osama Bin Laden’s immediate family, under house arrest at a luxury villa in Tehran.
Suleyman M maintained a low profile in recent years, and it is rumored that he traveled to Turkey on his forged passport in order to seek asylum. It is alleged that he hoped to reside in Ankara while he negotiated to return to Saudi Arabia, where his wife currently resides.
The United States requested that the Turkish government turn Suleyman over to the CIA for interrogation, but it is reported Turkey refused the request. Certainly, the CIA would like an opportunity to question Bin Laden’s son-in-law about his involvement in al-Qaeda and ascertain if he has any knowledge of future terrorist operations.
There has been no official comment from either Turkey or the United States on any possible link between Suleyman and the perpetrators of today’s suicide bombing at the United States Embassy. It remains to be seen if there will be any friction between the two NATO allies, should Turkey deport Suleyman to Iran without giving the CIA an opportunity to interrogate one of Osama Bin Laden’s closest surviving relatives.