Police conducted an operation against ISIS-linked organizations and individuals in Gaziantep on Tuesday, detaining four suspects.
An automobile with four people, including three foreign citizens, was stopped by a police search in the city center as part of the investigations carried out into individuals who provide logistical support to ISIS. According to a written statement from the Gaziantep Governorate, following the officers' search, a quantity of military equipment, including a drone and several camouflage uniforms, was confiscated.
After being referred to a local court by the Gaziantep Police Department, all four ISIS-linked suspects were jailed, pending trial.
As Turkey carries out airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria and PKK positions in northern Iraq, causing a remarkable loss for the terrorist organizations, hundreds of people with suspected links to ISIS terrorists have been arrested.
As ISIS poses a threat to the security of the country, Turkey continues to take measures against the terrorist group and foreign fighters who seek to join the organization. At the most recent National Security Council (MGK) meeting held on June 29, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu declared that additional security measures were discussed and they will work toward their implementation.
Turkey has been doing its part to identify and deliver potential foreign fighters seeking to cross the border to Syria to join ISIS, despite little cooperation in intelligence sharing from its Western allies. As part of Turkey's efforts, the police force has tightened security at transfer points such as airports, terminals, bus stations and rental car companies with a special risk analysis system, and a team has been tasked with tracking suspicious foreigners who travel to Turkey for the first time and those who are minors who do not have hotel reservations.
Sources at the Prime Ministry released statistical data regarding the fight against ISIS. Since the official declaration on Oct.10, 2013, which defined ISIS as a terrorist organization, Prime Ministry sources indicated that 1,350 people have been deported and 13,500 people from 98 countries have been barred from entering Turkey. It said that 18 percent of the 13,500 people who were barred from entry originated from Europe and North America and 56 percent originated from North Africa and the Middle East. On the subject of Turkish participants joining ISIS, sources asserted that 800 to 900 Turkish nationals had joined of the estimated total 25,000 ISIS fighters.
Regarding accusations that Turkey's border security is inadequate, the sources said that Turkey shares a 1,300 kilometer border with Iraq and Syria, which is a challenge to control. Nevertheless, sources say that the Turkish Land Forces Command patrols the land border 24 hours a day with drones and reconnaissance aircraft. It has also installed lights on a 270-kilometer stretch of the Syrian border, renewed a 1,210 kilometer patrol route, is digging 363 kilometers of trenches and building 90 kilometers of wire fences, 68 kilometers of embankments and seven kilometers of concrete walls. The sources said that more than 48,000 border crossings were intercepted and 175,000 people were caught since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.