Turkey Arrests 21 Suspected IS Members In Major Operation
Turkey on Friday detained 21 suspected members of the Islamic State group, including three foreigners, in a major operation in several cities including Istanbul, state media said.
Police detained the suspects in pre-dawn raids in several addresses in Istanbul, as well as Sanliurfa province near the Syrian border, southern Mersin province and Kocaeli province east of Istanbul.
The detainees are suspected of helping the jihadist group recruit people from Europe as well as helping them travel to Syria,
The operation appeared to be the largest one yet targeting IS suspects in Turkey, with arrests in the megacity Istanbul for the first time.
Arrest warrants were issued for at least 30 suspects, Anatolia said, adding that police also seized two hunting rifles, scores of bullets, documents belonging to IS as well electronic equipment and military uniforms.
Video footage showed bearded suspects with their right index finger pointing upward — a gesture used by IS members referring to the unity of God — as they were being led away by Asked by a reporter why they thought they were being detained, one suspect said: “Because you are kuffars (the infidel) targeting Muslims.”
Another young man ironically said: “Because we’re terrorists!”
-Western states have repeatedly accused Turkey of not doing enough to halt the flow of jihadists across its 911-kilometre (566-mile) border with Syria.
Turkey fiercely rejects the accusations, saying it is making every effort to secure a long border and in turn has accused the West of not playing its part to shoulder the burden of hosting 1.8 million refugees from Syria.
In an apparent bid to deflect the criticism, Turkish authorities have arrested a number of