Turkey to welcome 2020 amid tight security

Turkey to welcome 2020 amid tight security

Turkey to welcome 2020 amid tight security

As the world prepares to welcome 2020, Turkey has been preparing for New Year’s Eve celebrations with many festivals and events across the country.

Turkish citizens along with foreign tourists have been attracting much attention to Istanbul’s Taksim Square and İstiklal Avenue, decorated with illuminated sculptures.

In the southern resort city of Antalya, thousands of people gave an early welcome to the New Year with a festival kicked off on Dec. 22.

The festival area, embellished with massive pine trees and enormous snow globes, also stand out with its animation activities, food courts and a mini amusement park.

A DJ performance by “Santa” also drew much attention from the visitors.

Nevertheless, Turkish authorities have been taking all kinds of security measures to prevent any incidents from happening during the festive celebrations.

The Interior Ministry on Dec. 29 announced that a total of 317,121 security personnel will be on duty on New Year’s Eve across the country to ensure security at the maximum level. Some 83,398 out of this figure will include gendarmerie forces while the remaining 233,723 will be composed of police officers.

In a written statement, the ministry said that security measures, commenced on Dec. 30, will also include aerial and naval surveillance. Some 716 air crafts and marine vessels will operate as part of the security measures. Some 650 sniffer dogs will also be used to detect substances such as explosives or illegal drugs.

In metropolis Istanbul, the security precautions will be at the “maximum level,” the ministry’s statement read. Within this context, 1,858 motorized units, including eight aerial and marine vessels will take security measures. Furthermore, 60,716 security officers will be in the field in Istanbul.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu also issued a circular to the governorates of Turkey’s 81 provinces, urging tight security measures.

“According to the circular, necessary security measures will be taken in crowded public places such as shopping malls, airports, bus, minibus and train stations; and marketplaces, and patrols will be increased,” the statement said.

The Istanbul Governorate announced that some 42,545 police officers, 7,083 gendarmerie forces and 347 coast guard personnel will be on duty.

The statement underlined that security officers will be urged to refrain from any distracting gadgets, such as mobile phones.

“All notices will be assessed within the shortest time, and adequate units will be referred. The units’ (public security, traffic, crime scene investigation and etc.) coordinated and simultaneous referral to the scene will be planned. Technical tools and sniffing dogs will be used in an effective manner while performing the duties,” the statement added.

The ministry’s statement also conveyed that provincial authorities on migration management will be notified if security forces detect any foreigner traveling without a passport, a travel warrant or any document in substitution of a passport.

According to the ministry, the Identity Disclosure Law will be “meticulously implemented” regarding especially apartment blocks and daily rental houses.

Meanwhile, Turkish police on Dec. 30 detained 102 people with suspected links to ISIL in the countdown to New Year’s Eve, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

Police have rounded up suspected ISIL terrorists in late December in the last two years, since the New Year’s Day in 2017 when an ISIL attack on the Reina nightclub in Istanbul’s Ortaköy district claimed 39 lives.