Turkey offers $14 million bounty for 23 wanted ISIL militants

Turkey offers $14 million bounty for 23 wanted ISIL militants

İdris Emen - ISTANBUL
Turkey offers $14 million bounty for 23 wanted ISIL militants Turkey’s Interior Ministry has updated its list of “wanted terrorists” to include 23 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants following the jihadist organization’s twin suicide bombing in the country’s capital on Oct. 10, 2015. The government has offered rewards of more than 42 million Turkish liras (more than $14 million) for any information leading to the suspects’ capture.

The ministry ranks those included on the list in five color-coded categories from red (most wanted), to blue, green, orange and grey.

Three militants, İlhami Balı, Mustafa Dokumacı and Yunus Durmaz, are on the red list with 4-million-lira rewards offered for each. 

Balı is purportedly ISIL’s “emir” in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, while Dokumacı is the leader of the extremist group dubbed “Dokumacılar,” which has carried out suicide bomb attacks and recruited militants for ISIL in the southeastern province of Adıyaman. 

Yunus Emre Alagöz, one of the suicide bombers in the Oct. 10, 2015, Ankara attack which claimed 101 lives, and his brother, Abdurrahman Alagöz, who killed 33 students in a similar attack in Suruç on July 20, 2015, were both members of the “Dokumacılar” group.

The third militant on the red list, Durmaz, is believed to be preparing for a bloody terror attack to follow up on the recent explosion in Istanbul’s busy and touristic İstiklal Avenue on March 19 that killed five, including the suicide bomber, and wounded 39. 

The remaining 20 ISIL militants are on the blue list, with rewards of up to 1.5 million liras to those who provide support in their capture. Three of the wanted militants, Mahmut Gazi Tatar, Hüseyin Peri and Savaş Yıldız, are believed to be held captive by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria. The list includes five women, two of foreign nationalities. 

Meanwhile, Turkish authorities have arrested four alleged ISIL militants, including two would-be suicide bombers, in Gaziantep near the Syrian border. One of the suspected bombers, identified as Mehmet Mustafa Çevik, was among the 20 militants wanted on the Interior Ministry’s blue list. The militants were believed to be plotting suicide attacks in Gaziantep or other cities, according to the governor’s office. 

A second arrested militant was Ercan Çapkın, the brother of Erkan Çapkın, one of the suspected suicide bombers behind the İstiklal Avenue attack. 

“As part of efforts to detain E.Ç., it was revealed that the person was inside our city [Gaziantep] acting in collaboration with another suspect. The duo was accompanied by two people who might later seek terror attacks in our city or other cities as suicide bombers,” a statement from the Gaziantep Governor’s Office announced on April 4. 

According to the statement, Çapkın, Çevik and two other suspects identified as H.K. and İ.G. were detained in an operation on April 1. 

All four suspects were arrested by a local court on April 4.