Anti-terror teams of the Turkish National Police detained 81 people in six cities including foreigners in operations against the terrorist group Daesh yesterday.
In the early hours of the morning, elite anti-terror teams in armored vehicles raided several locations in Istanbul's Beylikdüzü, Başakşehir, Kağıthane, Fatih, Gaziosmanpaşa, Pendik and Güngören districts. Elsewhere in Turkey, police raided buildings where Daesh suspects were believed to reside in such as Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa in the southeast, Erzurum in the east and Kırklareli and Edirne, two cities west of Istanbul and on the border with Greece and Bulgaria.
Twenty of the foreign suspects were "below the age of 18", police sources said. Twenty-one Turkish nationals captured in operations are accused of being senior members of the terrorist group in Turkey and recruiters for foreign fighters. They are also accused of arranging the travel of foreign fighters to Syria and providing medical treatment for injured Daesh members smuggled into Turkey from Syria. Suspects were found in possession of two pistols, 200 bullets, military fatigues and digital and print material believed to be used for the terrorist group's propaganda. Sixty foreigners will be deported, while Turkish suspects are expected to be remanded in custody.
Turkey has been a prime target of suicide attacks since the rise of Daesh in the region. In the most recent attack in Gaziantep, nearly 60 victims were killed in August when a bomber detonated himself at an outdoor wedding ceremony, prompting Ankara to launch Operation Euphrates Shield to secure the border with Syria and clean the area of terrorists.
The country, which shares a lengthy border with Syria, is popular among Daesh's foreign recruits from all across the globe.
Since 2011, Turkey has deported more than 3,290 foreign terrorist fighters from 95 countries and refused more than 38,269 individuals entry to Turkey in its fight against the terrorist group, which counts the Muslim-majority country among its enemies.