Turkish man denies terror charge in landmark ISIL case
A woman carrying a child reacts at a damaged site after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's president Bashar al-Assad on a mosque in Idlib city, after rebels took control of the area April 3, 2015. REUTERS/Ammar AbdallahA Turkish man who is accused of joining the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has told court in a landmark case that he went to Syria not to fight, but "to live in a place governed under Sharia law."
The Chief Public Prosecutor's Office filed a court case in Ankara April 4 against Musa Göktaş for allegedly joining a terrorist group in Syria, according to Anadolu Agency.
The 38-year-old suspect, the first Turkish citizen who was arrested for joining ISIL, went to Syria along with his two children in October 2014 and later returned to Turkey after a four-month long stay.
Prosecutor Derda Gökmen pleaded with the court to punish Göktaş on charges of joining a terrorist group.
Göktaş, however, denied all charges and said that he only went to Syria "to live in a place governed under Sharia law," and not to fight alongside any terrorist group, the report said.
Turkey shares an 800-kilometer long border with Syria. Thousands of people from all over the world are believed to have joined militants, including those of ISIL, in Syria and Iraq.
Göktaş reportedly returned to Turkey to sell his house and take his wife to bring her to northern Syria. His 15-year-old twin sons stayed in an ISIL-controlled town of Turkey's war-torn neighbor.