One killed, over 290 detained as Turkish police raid suspected ISIL, PKK militants
ISTANBUL / ANKARA
Thousands of police officers have launched raids to arrest suspected members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) following a wave of deadly violence in Turkey, killing one suspect and detaining more than 290 others.
Backed up by helicopters, police raided addresses in 16 Turkish provinces in search of members of ISIL, the PKK and other militant groups at dawn on July 24, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said, noting that 297 people were detained.
Davutoğlu added that a member of the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) was killed in a clash with police during an attempt to resist the arrest with a gun at a house in the Bağcılar district of Istanbul.
In the western provinces of İzmir and Bursa, a total of 16 suspected militants of the PKK were arrested in the initial operation, according to private Doğan News Agency.
The agency also said that some 5,000 police officers joined the raids in 140 addresses in Istanbul, detaining at least 90 people in the city, including 37 foreigners.
In the southern province of Antalya, at least two people, including a teenager, were detained on suspicion of being members of the PKK.
Turkish Prime Minister's office said in a statement that it was determined to fight against ISIL and other militant groups.
It also recalled the July 20 killing of 32 people in an ISIL suicide bombing in Suruç of the Şanlıurfa province on the Syrian border, argued that the killings have been “exploited by the PKK and its affiliated elements, and marginal leftist terrorist organizations.”
“Like it has been the case in the past, today, the state of the Republic of Turkey is determined in its multidimensional fight against the ISIL terrorist organization, the PKK terrorist organization and other international terrorist organizations. All kinds of measures are being taken for our nation’s serenity and security,” it said.
Attacks targeting security forces
On July 23, another policeman was killed in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.
Meanwhile, the PKK’s youth wing Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H) claimed it shot dead an alleged former ISIL fighter in Istanbul late July 21.
Countrywide operations by city
At least 35 suspects purportedly linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its youth wing, the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), were detained in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa on July 24 after Şanlıurfa Police Department Counterterrorism Unit officers raided 49 locations at around 5:00 a.m. in the districts of Viranşehir, Ceylanpınar and Suruç within a pre-dawn anti-terror operation. The police seized a pistol and a rifle from the raided homes.
Seven suspects, including a senior executive from the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) provincial branch, two youths under the age of 18 and a university student, were detained in the Aegean province of İzmir on July 24 in a pre-dawn police operation against suspected members of the PKK and its youth wing, the YDG-H.
At least 10 suspects, including nine members of the HDP, namely Ömer Uzunay, Ömer Gül, Dilber Ak, Melik Özcan, Murşit Karakaya, Azad İmal, Rahmi Bozkurt, Ramazan Apakhan and M.Reşit Mutlu, were detained in the northwestern province of Bursa in an anti-terror police operation on July 24.
Günay Özarslan, a woman alleged to be a member of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), was killed in Bağcılar during an anti-terror police operation after an exchange of fire between her and the police. Özarslan had a record of 22 charges linked to the DHKP-C, according to police sources.
Some 103 other suspects purportedly linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the DHKP-C, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its youth wing, the YDG-H, were detained in vast anti-terror operations by around 5,000 police officers in 26 districts of Istanbul. Some 30 of the detained were reported to be foreign nationals who may be linked to ISIL.
The police seized six pistols, four rifles and several cleavers in raids of suspects’ homes.
Eight suspects linked to the PKK and its youth wing, the YDG-H, were detained on July 24 in the eastern province of Bitlis in a police operation by the Bitlis Police Department Counterterrorism Unit. The police seized an auto-action rifle as well as a large number of documents linked to the organizations.
At least eight ISIL-linked suspects were detained in the southeastern province of Adıyaman on July 24 in a police operation by the Adıyaman Police Department Counterterrorism Unit.
A large number of suspects linked to the PKK were arrested in the western province of Kocaeli on July 24 in a pre-dawn operation by the Kocaeli Police Department Counterterrorism Unit. The police did not provide further details on the operation.
At least 14 suspects, including purported members of both the PKK and ISIL, were detained on July 24 in an anti-terror operation in the capital Ankara by the Ankara Police Department Counterterrorism Unit. Nine of the detained were reported to be ISIL-linked.
Five suspects linked to the YDG-H were detained on July 24 in an anti-terror police operation in the eastern province of Elazığ. The police seized unlicensed weapons and several documents during multiple raids. Further details were not provided.