Turkey detains two suspects with 148 authentic passports
AA PhotoDozens of passports seized when Turkish counterterrorism units detained two suspects at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport are authentic passports, all but one issued by EU-member countries, a senior Turkish official has said.
Bahrı Ö., 54, and Ahmad A., 58, were detained on Dec. 17 after being surveilled by the Istanbul Police Department’s Counterterrorism Department over suspected links with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The suspects, a Turkish citizen residing in Belgium and a Syrian citizen, respectively, were placed under surveillance upon their arrival from a European city.
The Turkish suspect has a criminal record in the past due to a case involving the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Yet the same Turkish official told Hürriyet Daily News on Dec. 18 that their investigation was still underway as to whether the suspects’ actual link was with the PKK or ISIL.
“Still, the number of passports and the fact that they are authentic passports indicate the two suspects have been acting as part of a big global network,” the official said.
In addition to those 148 passports, the security forces also seized an original driving license issued in France. Among those passports, seven were from Britain, four from Germany, three from Ireland and Denmark, two from Lithuania, Austria, Belgium, Poland, Italy and the Netherlands, and one from Portugal, Romania, Spain, Luxembourg and Russia.
The passports were hidden in a mini pizza oven, officials said, while 10 SIM cards belonging to mobile network operators in Turkey and abroad were also found.