ISIL militant scouted Turkish Parliament for possible attack, indictment states
ISTANBULA prosecutor's indictment has stated that an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant conducted reconnaissance for possible attacks on the Turkish Parliament, local ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters, and mosques, Doğan News Agency reported on Feb. 8.
According to the indictment prepared by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office’s Terror and Organized Crime Bureau regarding 35 suspects, of whom 28 are currently under arrest, Selim S. had conducted reconnaissance in the parliament on Oct. 12, 2016 after receiving orders from ISIL. The militant cased the parliament to carry out attacks.
Upon receiving intelligence, police carried out technical and physical surveillance on the suspect, who was determined to have been dressed inconspicuously, shaved off his beard and roamed around the AKP building and the Kocatepe Mosque.
Selim S. arrived in Istanbul later in the day via plane and cased the Zeynebiye Mosque in Istanbul’s Halkalı neighborhood and the Zeynebiye Culture House, which are both used by Shiite Jafaris.
Surveillance footage of Selim S. has been added to the file of the case. The order to conduct the reconnaissance and an attack on Turkey was reported to have been possibly ordered by two ISIL militants in Syria, identified as “Abu Darda Al Turki” code-named Metin Ç. and “Abu Hamza” code-named Mustafa G., according to the indictment.
After receiving the orders, Selim S., in order to carry out the attacks, contacted three people, who were identified only as İbrahim D., Şuayip A. and Abdulsamet Ç. “Trucrypt” and “Teamviewer” programs were used while he was communicating with ISIL militants in Syria.
The prosecutor sought aggravated life sentences for six suspects, including Selim S., for “attempting to remove the constitutional order.” Up to 15 years of prison sentence is being sought for all of the suspects over “being members of a terrorist organization.”
The indictment was sent to the Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court.
Turkey in 2016 was hit by a string of attacks blamed on ISIL and the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) that left hundreds dead.
Recently, 39 people were killed, mainly foreigners, in the earlier hours of the new year when a gunman went on a rampage inside a posh Istanbul nightclub.
ISIL claimed responsibility for the massacre, making it the first time it had claimed responsibility for an attack on Turkish soil since its first large-scale attack on June 5, 2015.