Turkish prosecutors demand up to 15 years in jail for suspected ISIL members
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
DHA File photo from an anti-ISIL operation in Istanbul.Seventeen suspected members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) face up to 15 years in jail for “membership of a terrorist organization” due to their alleged activities within the ISIL-linked “Tatlıbal” group.
The indictment, which was prepared by a public prosecutor in the Ankara Office of Crimes against the Constitutional Order, claims that the suspects frequently traveled into conflict zones where they conducted illegal activities. The prosecutor demanded from 7.5 to 15 years in prison for the suspects.
The suspects had long been under surveillance by the authorities and the indictment also included contents of wiretappings, claiming that the suspects used code words to convey secret messages. During their conversations, the militants described Turkey as “Dar al-Harb” [“land of war,” where Islam does not dominate] and the republic as an “idolatrous order.”
Activities such as voting, sending children to school, working in Turkish state institutions, praying behind a state imam, serving in the army, and using the legal system, are all considered to amount to abjuration of religion by ISIL members.
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of some of the suspects remain unclear, as at least two are believed to be in Raqqa, an ISIL stronghold in Syria.
Turkey has been under pressure to step up security against suspected ISIL militants in the country, after initial criticism that it acted too slowly to recognize the threat.
ISIL was blamed for a bomb that killed four people at a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) rally in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on June 5, 2015. An ISIL militant also killed 33 civilians on July 20, 2015 at the Amara Cultural Center in the southeastern district of Suruç. Two ISIL militants then killed at least 100 people attending a peace rally in Ankara on Oct. 10, 2015, in the deadliest single terrorist attack in Turkey’s history. On Jan. 12, the group was also blamed for a suicide attack that killed 10 German tourists near the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.