Turkish court orders arrest of two suspected ISIL members
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
AP photoAn Ankara penal court ordered the arrest of two people suspected of having links with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on June 29.
Identified as A.I. and D.D., the defendants were charged with “being a member of a terrorist organization.”
D.D. refuted the accusations he was a member of the terrorist organization in testimony given to the court on June 29.
“I traveled into Syria to distribute humanitarian aid. I am not a member of any terrorist organization,” he said.
It is not known when the suspects were first taken into custody, but an Istanbul-based operation took place last week in different parts of the province, local media reported. An undisclosed number of people suspected to have links with ISIL were apprehended in the operation, local media reported.
Turkey shares a more than 900 kilometer border with Syria, and much recent fighting has taken place on its doorstep.
Turkey has kept an open-border policy throughout Syria’s civil war and has vowed to maintain it, providing a lifeline to rebels battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by allowing supplies in and refugees out.
But the policy has had its costs. Smuggling has thrived, and a growing number of Syrians forced by the war to eke out a living where they can have swollen the ranks of those trying to cross back and forth outside the official border posts.
This situation has compounded the challenge of securing the border for Turkish authorities, already accused of doing too little to stop foreign jihadists from entering Syria and posing an even bigger risk to the wider region.