Saturday, June 15, 2024

Turkey captures dozens in sweeping operation against terrorist groups

Turkey’s re-elected government has arrested dozens of suspects in a sweeping operation against terrorist groups, including a network accused of masterminding the failed 2016 coup, local media reported.

Police carried out simultaneous raids at 36 locations in Istanbul and captured 28 suspects with alleged connections to the group led by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, the state-run Anadolu agency reported on Wednesday. Four other suspects are believed to be abroad while the search is underway to find another two.

In the southern province of Mersin, police backed up by special forces launched dawn raids to capture 28 suspects over their alleged links to Gulen, and rounded up at least one, the agency reported.

Police also held 21 suspects in the northwestern province of Bursa in another operation against members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Islamic State group, Xinhua news agency reported.

The arrests come after police examined 975 hard disks containing 420 terabytes of data. The disks were obtained from 122 companies, associations, and foundations affiliated with a holding that had been transferred to the trustees’ authorities for alleged ties to the Gulen movement.

The Turkish government blames Gulen and his network for masterminding the coup bid in July 2016, in which more than 250 people were killed.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and the European Union, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than 30 years. The Islamic State, meanwhile, has launched a spate of deadly attacks in Turkey since 2015.

The operation comes after the re-election of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May, as the new government pledges to counter terrorist groups.

Turkey’s new Interior Minister, Ali Yerlikaya, who served as former governor of Istanbul, vowed to battle terrorism soon after taking office early this month.

“Our fight against terrorism, organised crime, cybercrime, drugs, irregular migration, and all other crimes and criminals will continue with great determination,” he said.

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