Police in the western city of Bursa and the central city of Kayseri caught three Daesh suspects with connections to France in separate operations against the terrorist group yesterday.
Counterterrorism police in the central city of Kayseri captured Murat Yerlikaya, a Daesh suspect of Turkish origin and his Moroccan girlfriend Nadia N. yesterday in operations against the terrorist group. The woman was later released with judiciary control while a court remanded Yerlikaya in custody.
Media outlets reported that the duo were under police surveillance on suspicion of plotting terror attacks on the New Year celebrations in the city after they arrived in Turkey from France two months ago. A search of cellphones and computers belonging to the pair found Daesh propaganda material.
In Bursa, counterterrorism police launched operations against Daesh militants suspected of infiltrating into Turkey from Syria and caught 12 suspects, including two French women with international arrest warrants who were wanted by France. The suspects were detained in simultaneous operations in Bursa's five districts. The nationalities of the other suspects were disclosed as Syrian. Police found fake Syrian IDs in the possession of the two French women.
Daesh, which killed dozens of people in attacks targeting Turkey, heavily relies on foreign fighters. Embattled by continuous operations in Syria and Iraq, the number of its members has dwindled in the last two years.
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.
In October, two French Daesh suspects were caught near a village on the Turkish border with Syria; the suspects, who had outstanding international arrest warrants, were trying to sneak into Turkey.