Results tagged “Turkey”

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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.

Turkish Airlines denied allegations that it carried weapons to Boko Haram in Nigeria, after a leaked audio recording surfaced in which an airline executive purportedly asked a Turkish intelligence official whether the cargo might be used to kill Muslims or Christians. Justice Minister Bozdağ denied the possibility of conditional release for jailed Kurdistan Workers' Party leader Abdullah Öcalan. Five men charged with torturing and murdering three Christian missionaries in April 2007 were conditionally released.

In their first phone conversation in six months, President Erdogan and US President Obama "agreed on the importance of close cooperation ... to address the growing terrorist presence in Syria." Authorities removed 207 officers from their posts in the Ankara police counterterrorism unit today. The ruling AKP party is seeking to restructure Turkey's national intelligence system to put the agency directly under the prime minister's control.

The Financial Action Task Force said Turkey is the only NATO country to have a "gray" rating, due to concerns over Turkey's system for identifying and freezing terrorist assets pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions. The Foreign Ministry said it is in fact making efforts to provide budget support to Somalia in 2014. A previously reported attack on a headscarf-wearing woman during the June 2013 Gezi park protests was revealed as nonexistent; the woman who made the claim is a close relative of an Istanbul AKP party official.

A Ukrainian man on a flight from the Ukraine was arrested at Istanbul airport for claiming to have a bomb and demanding the plane take him to the Sochi Olympics. Gunmen attacked the office of the Nationalist Movement Party in Istanbul, two weeks after attackers killed a party adviser and injured seven members. Azerbaijani journalist Mahir Zeynalov has been deported for "posting tweets critical of high-level state officials." The tweets have accused the Erdogan government of obstructing the arrest of al Qaeda affiliates and allowing wanted al Qaeda-linked terrorist Yasin al Qadi to escape Turkey in late December.

Foreign Minister Davutoğlu said Turkish forces "had to hit" an Islamic State of the Iraq and the Sham convoy on Jan. 28 as the al Qaeda-linked group is threatening Turkey. Thousands of Turkmen living along the Syrian border have entered Turkey over the past week, fleeing clashes with ISIS. Syrian National Coalition offices in Istanbul and Gazientep were closed on Feb. 2 due to security threats posed by ISIS.

Turkish national intelligence and police reported that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham is planning to attack targets inside Turkey with car bombs; it also said Turkish forces destroyed three ISIS vehicles inside the Syrian border on Jan. 28. According to the report, ISIS now controls the Azaz, Jarablus, and Yayladağı border posts and is fighting with the Islamic Front, which controls the Bab al-Hawa crossing near Hatay's Reyhanlı district. The activist group Greenpeace claimed that in Mersin unauthorized construction has begun on Turkey's first nuclear power plant.

Israel's head of military intelligence said al Qaeda maintains bases in Turkey, reportedly in the provinces of Karaman, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa, and warned that foreign jihadists enter Syria weekly but "do not stay there." Prime Minister Erdogan visited Tehran in an effort to improve relations and secure a discount for the purchase of natural gas, which Turkey must import.

The government is reportedly introducing legislation that would allow the National Intelligence service to legally transport weapons to the Syrian rebels. Nearly 500 police officials have been reassigned and largely demoted in Ankara and Izmir, and across the country 96 judges and prosecutors were reassigned. Syrian opposition members in Istanbul said Turkish officials warned them of the possibility of car bomb attacks by the Assad regime and by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham.

Turkish intelligence issued a warning that ISIS suicide bombers planned to attack hotels in Hatay, Ankara, and Istanbul in an attempt to target members of the Syrian opposition and Free Syrian Army in advance of the Geneva II talks. The army said it discovered and destroyed a 500-meter-long pipeline used for smuggling oil into Hatay from Syria. Two Russian nationals were detained by border guards after crossing into Turkey from Syria. Turkish officials closed the Cilvegözü border gate in Hatay after a car bomb targeted a nearby rebel-held border post in Syria, and closed the Öncüpınar border crossing in Kilis after clashes erupted across the border in Azaz between rebels and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham.

Police stopped as many as seven trucks in Adana that were carrying weapons and explosives near the Syrian border; the Adana governor's office said the trucks were on a regular duty for National Intelligence. Foreign Minister Davutoğlu claimed that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham is working with the Assad regime in Syria. The opposition CHK party continued to question Prime Minister Erdogan's alleged close links to US-designated global terrorist Yasin al-Qadi; and to Usama Qutb, the nephew of both Muhammed Qutb, a mentor of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri, and Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood founder and assassin of Egyptian president Gamel Abdel Nasser.

The prosecutor's office in Van claimed that the recent operation resulting in the rest of some 25 suspects was aimed at al Qaeda, not the IHH charity. On Jan. 15, 13 of the suspects were referred to court; five of them were released yesterday, four were released pending bail, and the remaining four were detained. Also yesterday, 12 more detainees were referred to court. A Turkish media report said the al Qaeda suspects planned to assassinate US President Barack Obama. Numerous victims of an alleged car bomb attack on Jan. 15 at a checkpoint in the Syrian Carablus district along the Turkish border were hospitalized in Gazientep.

Authorities referred 13 of 28 suspected al Qaeda members to court after their recent arrest; the remaining suspects are still being interrogated. Among those arrested are al Qaeda's alleged senior member in Turkey, Halis Bayancuk, along with the terror group's second-in-command in the Middle East, İbrahim Şen. Some three senior al Qaeda operatives are said to have escaped to Syria before the operation. The Interior Ministry has removed 35 police officers responsible for the operation in İstanbul, replaced the police officers guarding the eight prosecutors of the investigation, and demoted counterterrorism chiefs in Kilis and Van. The detainees are suspected of sending fighters to Syria, facilitating the movement of al Qaeda members from Afghanistan and Pakistan, fundraising for al Qaeda, and providing aid and weapons to fighters in Syria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Davutoğlu claimed that the Assad regime in Syria has not yet begun to fight al Qaeda. The family of Prime Minister Erdogan is being drawn into a corruption probe involving its ties to designated global terrorist Yasin al Qadi, a wealthy al Qaeda-linked Saudi businessman who reportedly entered Turkey illegally several times in recent years. Turkey closed two of its border crossings into Syria this week due to clashes between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham and rebel groups. Turkey is said to be quietly supporting the Islamic Front in the border areas. A Brazil-bound Turkish airlines flight from Istanbul made an emergency landing in Algeria due to a bomb scare.

After the Jan. 1 interception of a truck in Hatay carrying weapons bound for Syria, the police who stopped the vehicle, as well as Hatay counterterrorism officers, were relocated. The Adana prosecutor filed a criminal complaint alleging obstruction of justice by government officials, including the Interior Minister and Turkish intelligence, for preventing a search of the truck. The UN said it wants inspections of all trucks entering Syria from Turkey. The national opposition party accused the government of sending arms to al Qaeda in Syria.

Security forces seized a truck in Hatay province carrying arms and ammunition that was headed for the Syrian border. The Hatay governor then tried to take the truck from the soldiers but failed; the Hatay public prosecutor is investigating. Opposition political parties vowed to block government efforts to curb the powers of judges and prosecutors. The government has begun building a four-meter-high wall in Gaziantep province along the Syrian border.