Counterterrorism police in Istanbul detained seven suspects yesterday on charges of assisting the terrorist group Daesh. The suspects, who are currently being questioned by police, are accused of financially supporting the group active in Syria.
The unidentified individuals are suspected of giving financial support to the families of Daesh members jailed in Turkey as well as providing forged IDs to help Daesh recruits travel to Syria and collecting donations at secret, informal "mosques" run by sympathizers of the terrorist group in Istanbul's Sultanbeyli district, according to media reports. The suspects often changed cellphone numbers to avoid surveillance by police and contacted each other through a web-based encrypted messaging app.
Daesh killed scores of people when the group started targeting Turkey in 2013, with attacks on rallies, Istanbul's main airport, a popular nightclub in the city and other venues.
Embattled by counterterrorism operations in Syria and Iraq, the terrorist group has seen its numbers dwindle even further with heightened crackdowns in Turkey. In the past nine months, security forces detained more than 5,400 suspects and arrested more than 900 others in counterterrorism operations. Another 146 Daesh militants were "neutralized" during the same period. Since November 2017, Turkey has stopped more than 5,040 foreigners looking to join Daesh by crossing into Syria and Iraq through Turkey and sent them back to their countries of origin. Security forces have also foiled 10 attack plots. Figures show that some 18,500 suspects are currently being monitored for links to the terrorist group after being identified at airports upon arrival.