Thirty suspected Daesh terrorists, all foreign nationals, were arrested in the capital Ankara for plotting terrorist attacks in the city ahead of New Year's Eve.
Police seized illegal documents during the raids that led to the arrests, a government official said yesterday, asking not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media. In another operation in the southern Adana province on Sunday, police captured 10 other terrorist suspects, five with links to the PKK and five others with links to Daesh.
The Adana Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said the raids were part of the measures ahead of New Year's Eve. The raids were supported by the Special Task Force and conducted in 20 different locations.
Turkish security forces have been involved in a long-running campaign to rid Turkey of Daesh terrorists.
On Dec. 28, prosecutors in the capital Ankara issued arrest warrants for 64 people. Counterterrorism units of the Turkish National Police, aided by police intelligence, arrested 52 of those suspects and operations were underway to capture the rest.
The suspects were part of the Daesh network in Ankara. The Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in the capital said that the operations targeted the terrorist group's activities in the city, and police seized a gun, a cache of money and digital and printed material containing the terrorist group's propaganda.
Daesh, which is blamed for a string of terror attacks in Turkey over the past three years, saw a decline in membership with militants fleeing Syria and Iraq where it once controlled large swathes of land. Turkey helped Syrian moderate opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) in a 2016 operation in war-torn Syria to regain control of Daesh-controlled towns.
During the Operation Euphrates Shield Turkish military had cleared northern Syrian towns of Jarablus, Azaz, al-Bab, Dabiq and al-Rai from the terrorist group. Following the Euphrates Shield operation, which ended in March 2017, Turkey has also put forward efforts to bring life back to normal and enable Syrians in Turkey to return back to their homes.
Foreigners looking to join Daesh in Syria have mostly attempted to use Turkey as their crossing point. Turkey has taken significant measures against foreign Daesh members and urged Western countries for intelligence cooperation. According to official figures, some 2,000 people were arrested, and 7,000 others were deported in operations against Daesh in Turkey, while around 70,000 people were denied entry to Turkey over their suspected links to the terrorist group. Security forces have also foiled at least 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.