Turkey arrests six over 'minting coins for ISIL'
ISTANBUL - Agence France-Presse
AA PhotosTurkish authorities on Oct. 7 arrested six suspected members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) extremist group on suspicion of trying to illegally mint coins for use in areas controlled by the extremists in Syria.
Police in the southeastern region of Gaziantep on the border with Syria also seized coin punches, presses and other coin-making equipment, the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) said, quoting a statement by the regional governor's office.
The regional police force issued a picture of the sophisticated equipment piled up in front of the police force's flag. According to Turkish media reports, 56 coins in four different sizes were seized.
Another picture showed a punch to produce a coin with Arabic writing on one side and a picture of the world on the other.
There have been reports that ISIL is keen to impose its own currency in the areas it controls in Syria to free itself from the global financial system.
Acting on a tip-off, Turkish police raided the would-be mint in the town of Şahinbey just south of Gaziantep city.
The suspects, who include foreigners of unspecified nationality, were sent to court after being detained and remanded in custody ahead of trial, AA added.
Turkey has been under pressure from its Western partners to crack down on the activities of ISIL jihadists inside the country and stop extremists from crossing into neighbouring Syria.
The authorities have arrested hundreds of foreign jihadists in the last months and Ankara says it is doing all it can to secure its borders and maintain security.