Biggest probe into ISIL in Turkey completed
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Cihan PhotoTurkey’s biggest investigation into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) organization in the country has been completed, with some 67 ISIL-linked suspects blacklisted.
A 315-page indictment prepared by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Murat Çağlak was recognized by the Istanbul 13th Court for Serious Crimes in the comprehensive investigation. The indictment also named leading militants to have headed ISIL activities in Turkey.
İlyas Aydın, 26, was stated in the indictment as the chief militant of the terrorist organization’s Turkey branch. The indictment carried a penalty of up to 15 years in prison for Aydın, on charges of “forming and heading an armed terrorist organization.”
It stated Aydın called would-be jihadists to join ISIL on pro-ISIL social networks and that he delivered religious speeches in mosques and ostensibly Islamic-holy places.
The other ISIL leader was identified as Halis Bayancuk, a senior ISIL leader based in Istanbul who was arrested in an Istanbul raid in late July this year, in the indictment, with his jihadi nickname stated as “Abu Hanzala.” Bayancuk faces up to 10 years in prison on the charge of “being a member of a terrorist organization.”
The indictment stated an ISIL militant under arrest, Asaad Khelifalkhadr, who was detained with a fake passport. Khelifalkhadr is facing up to five years in prison on a charge of “fabricating false documents.”
Khelifalkhadr was stated in the indictment to have welcomed prospective militants coming from abroad to join the fight in conflict zones in Iraq and Syria, and provided them with accommodation. Khelifalkhadr, whose jihadi nickname is “Abu Suheyf,” was stated to conduct recruitment activities for ISIL, met the medical needs of prospective militants and carried out activities to finance the organization.
The indictment also stated the youngest militant to be 19 years old and the oldest militant to be 49 years old. Among the militants implicated in the indictment were Kuwaitis, French, Libyans, Colombians, Syrians and Saudi Arabians.
Turkey has stepped up counterterrorism activities against ISIL after militants from the group were implicated both in the Suruç bombing and the twin suicide blasts in Ankara.
The perpetrator of the deadly suicide attack in Suruç, a district in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, was identified as an ISIL militant, who killed dozens of civilians and left more than 100 injured on July 20.
The suicide bomber of the Ankara blasts was also identified as an ISIL militant, who killed more than 100 and left hundreds wounded outside a train station in the Turkish capital on Oct. 10. The attack in Ankara was the deadliest act of terrorism in Turkey’s history.
Turkish authorities have captured over 2,627 ISIL members, including 837 foreign nationals, over the past three years, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported, since adding the group to the country’s official list of terrorist organizations in 2013.
Some 632 of the detained individuals were subsequently arrested and 120 tons of bomb-making materials has been seized. More than 100 of the arrested suspects were foreign nationals.
In 2013, 230 ISIL members were detained, 152 of whom were of Turkish nationality.