Results tagged “Turkey”

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Halis Bayancuk a.k.a. Abu Hanzala, the alleged head of al Qaeda in Turkey who was arrested with dozens of other operatives on Jan. 14, was released under a new court system introduced in July. Among those detained on Jan. 14 was İbrahim Şen, an ex-Gitmo detainee and a top al Qaeda leader in the Middle East. So far, six of the 25 suspects were indicted and only four remain in custody. Turkish officials denied reaching an agreement with the US on the use of İncirlik Air Base in Adana province, but said talks are continuing.

At least 29 people have been killed and dozens wounded in nationwide protests against Turkey's refusal to assist Kurdish forces against the Islamic State in Kobane. Turkish authorities have detained 16 Kurdish PYD fighters seeking to flee across the Syrian border into Turkey; two of them were unarmed females. Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), has warned that a massacre of Kurds in Kobane will doom peace talks with the PKK. Three policemen were gunned down in Bingöl. The US is asking Turkey to take a larger role in the coalition against the Islamic State. A lawyers' group accused the Erdogan government of "instigating the [Islamic State] to kill."

The Parliament authorized the deployment of Turkish troops in Syria and Iraq and the temporary basing of foreign troops in Turkey; the opposition called the vote an attempt to curry favor with the West and topple the Assad regime, not a serious move against the Islamic State. Authorities arrested 16 female anti-Islamic State protesters on the Bosporus Bridge. Turkey's top general assured the small cadre of Turkish soldiers guarding the Suleyman Shah tomb in Syria that the military "will come to your side the moment we receive any word about you."

Prime Minister Erdogan said Turkey will fight the Islamic State "and all other terrorist organizations in the region." Turkey is planning to establish safe havens inside northern Syria to protect areas controlled by the Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Front. The government is also asking Parliamentary approval for deployment of Turkish troops abroad and allowing foreign troop deployments on Turkish territory. Deputy Prime Minister Arınç claimed that the Islamic State is advancing on the Turkish enclave around the tomb of Suleyman Shah in northern Syria. Turkey added Ansar al Sharia Tunisia and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, along with 14 UN-designated terrorists, to its list of people and entities associated with al Qaeda. Police arrested three alleged Islamic State sympathizers at Istanbul University. New NATO head Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed NATO's commitment to protect Turkey.

Turkish intelligence warned officials in all 81 provinces about some 22 bomb-laden Islamic State vehicles in the country as well as 30 possible suicide bombers. Police are monitoring IS groups in Ankara and Konya, as well as IS cells in Hatay, Adana, Gaziantep, Kilis, Şanlıurfa, İstanbul, and Mersin. A deputy prime minister said 60,000 Syrian Kurds have crossed into Turkey in the last 24 hours, fleeing the IS advance in northern Syria. Prime Minister Erdogan said 49 Turkish consular personnel held captive by the IS in Mosul, Iraq since June 11 were freed in an operation by Turkish intelligence. The IS reportedly insisted that the hostages be given to Turkey at the border with Syria, not in the contested Kurdish region, where IS is clashing with Kurdish forces. Turkey's consul general for Mosul claimed that some US airstrikes hit very close to the hostages' location, but that "without the US bombing, perhaps we wouldn't be able to survive."

Defense Minister Yılmaz said Turkey has not provided any support to the US in its air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq, noting that the Islamic State still holds captive 49 Turks from Turkey's Mosul consulate. Turkey is planning to set up a second refugee camp inside Iraq for Turkmen fleeing the Islamic State; some 300,000 are said to have been displaced in the past two months but most are not allowed into Turkey.

The deputy of the opposition CHP party showed news media yesterday copies of official records confirming that Syria-bound trucks stopped in January by unwitting local authorities in Adana were carrying rockets that Turkish intelligence was supplying to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. The military claimed that two soldiers and six Kurdish fighters were killed in a clash in the border town of Ceylanpınar; the YPG denied its fighters were involved. Mehmet Görmez, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, called the Islamic State's caliphate "illegitimate," warned that the group's intolerance of other faiths "heralds the collapse of a civilization," and stated that of the 1,000 Muslims killed daily worldwide, "[a]lmost 90 percent of them are killed by other Muslims, their brothers. Muslims need not look beyond themselves for the causes of these conflicts."

A Shiite mosque in Istanbul was vandalized twice in two days. Following a July 7 agreement by Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden to develop an "action plan" to prevent jihadists from returning to Europe, Turkish authorities have begun talking to families of jihadists and investigating aid organizations that allegedly helped fighters cross over into Syria. Turkish authorities estimate that 600-700 Turks have joined the Islamic State, but the actual number may be in the thousands. The Turkish company that supplies electricity to Mosul in Iraq suspended the electricity export two weeks ago as the contract ended, but the Erdogan government has no plan to prevent the company from providing power to the Islamic State-controlled city. Erdogan called for the IS to release 49 Turks kidnapped last month from the Turkish consulate in Mosul, including the consul-general.

A former Turkish fighter with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham in Syria claimed that as many as 6,000 Turks have gone to Syria to fight, "thousands" have joined the Islamic State, and that of an estimated 23,000 ISIS fighters in Syria, 17,000 have sworn to fight in the organization until they die. A wounded 14-year-old Turkish boy who had been fighting for the ISIS in Syria was found by Turkish soldiers near the border in June. The trial of 13 gendarmes accused of spying for intercepting Syria-bound trucks belonging to Turkish intelligence began last week in Adana; the proceedings are closed because they deal with "state secrets."

The first group of Turks leaving Libya after being threatened with arrest on espionage charges arrived home. Turkey has added Boko Haram to its list of terrorist organizations, in line with the recent UN designation of the group. The Turkish Armed Forces General Staff last week refuted claims that four Turkish military intelligence officers had been detained by Iraqi soldiers in Fallujah on charges of training ISIS militants.

A Syrian passenger left hand grenades in a bag on a bus bound for Istanbul. Turkey and Iran are planning to sign at least six new economic and political agreements. Turkey designated the Al Nusrah Front a terrorist organization on June 3.

Authorities detonated a suspect package found outside the US Embassy in Ankara. The founder of a popular online forum was given a 10-month suspended sentence for blasphemy; he was among 40 members charged with insulting religion. "Smugglers" from Syria attacked a military border post at Hacıpaşa in Hatay province.

The public prosecutor's office in Adana is seeking life sentences for 13 gendarmes who on Jan. 19 stopped, searched, and filmed the contents of trucks that reportedly were carrying arms into Syria. A similar incident, allegedly involving the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH), also occurred on Jan. 1 in Hatay. The government has already removed the prosecutor, police chiefs, and gendarmerie commander involved in the search of the cargo, which top officials at the time called a "state secret." The İHH said Syrian warplanes hit two of its trucks in Aleppo today, killing a Syrian worker and injuring two others; the Young Muslims Delegation, an İHH partner in Syria, was also involved in the humanitarian mission.

Authorities claimed that the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has kidnapped 331 children in the last six months. According to a National Police report, the Kurdistan Communities Union and the PKK have set up 48 training centers throughout 10 provinces, instructing 8,500 young people in tactics and ideology.

The day after reports emerged that Prime Minister Erdogan was seeking to extradite influential Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen from the US, sources in the Ankara Prosecutor's office said no investigation has yet been launched against Gulen; his activities may be investigated, however, in relation to the leak of a conversation of top Turkish officials discussing a false-flag operation in Syria. The government ruled out the possibility of house arrest for PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Prime Minister Erdogan confirmed that Turkey sent a convoy to protect the tomb of Suleyman Shah, a tiny piece of Turkish territory inside Syria's province of Aleppo. Turkey reportedly deployed six tanks and 12 armored vehicles within 200 meters of positions held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. In late March, Turkish officials allegedly discussed staging an attack against ISIS near the tomb in order to justify military operations in Syria. Nearly 500 counterterrorism officers in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir were removed and demoted.

Syrian rebels and eyewitnesses claimed that Turkey had allowed Islamist rebels to enter Syria for the Kasab offensive; the Erdogan government denied the claim. An Adana prosecutor who in January stopped and searched trucks on suspicion they were carrying weapons into Syria has been removed from his post and reassigned; two officers arrested in the same incident were released. About 280 police officers, including some in counterterrorism units, were reassigned in four provinces in the past two days. An official said Turkey now hosts over 900,000 Syrian refugees.

Authorities shut down YouTube after the airing of leaked audio in which the foreign minister, the intelligence head, and a top general are heard discussing possible military operations in Syria. Foreign Minister Davutoğlu said publicly yesterday that Turkey would take steps to protect its security, including an operation in Syria to protect the tomb of Süleyman Shah. In the unverified recording, an official says: "An operation against ISIL has international legitimacy. We will define it as al Qaeda .... When it comes to the Suleyman Shah tomb, it's about the protection of national soil." Two suspected ISIS (ISIL) members and two policemen were injured during a raid in Istanbul on March 25. An intelligence expert said that the Iran-backed Tawhid-Salam is the most dangerous terrorist group Turkey has faced.

The military said Syrian missile systems locked on to five Turkish jets patrolling the border. The military is on heightened alert after Turkish forces shot down a Syrian jet on March 23 that allegedly strayed into Turkish airspace. Syrian military forces are battling al Qaeda-linked rebels for border territory in Syria's Latakia province, and have accused Turkey of assisting the rebels. An Armenian group in the US called on President Obama to demand that Turkey stop facilitating attacks by al Qaeda-linked fighters in Kasab in Latakia.

In a complaint to the UN, Syria accused the Turkish military of allowing and providing cover for the Al Nusrah Front and the Ahrar al Sham brigade to attack Syrian forces from Turkish territory near Kasab. Interior Minister Ala said two Albanians and a Kosovan who killed a gendarme and a policeman at a checkpoint in Niğde on March 20 were possibly members of al Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham; the attackers, who entered from Syria, had grenades and weapons. Turkey recently threatened to retaliate if harm came to the tomb of Süleyman Şah in northern Syria, where ISIS and rebel groups have clashed. A police report said the explosive PETN was detected at the site of an ammunition dump blast in Afyonkarahisar that killed 25 soldiers in 2012.