A senior official at an umbrella organization of Alevi NGOs said on Friday that Turkish police warned them against potential attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
Ali Arıkan, the secretary-general of Alevi Culture Associations, said their director was told by police that ISIS may target them and asked them to take measures against possible attacks. He said their two branches in the capital of Ankara and one in Istanbul received special caution against the threat. Arıkan noted a past attack against two senior officials at the umbrella body and said they urged all members to take precautions. "We were warned last week but did not reveal it so as not to panic any people. But the threats were leaked to the press," Arıkan said. "We will not allow anyone to start sectarian strife by attacks. We call on the public to keep calm," he said.
Alevis are the second-largest religious community in Turkey after Sunni Muslims. The country is among the targets of ISIS, which wages a brutal war in Syria. In October, an ISIS-linked militant carried out a suicide bombing in Ankara claiming the lives of 103 people. He was the brother of another suicide bomber who killed 32 people in southeastern Turkey at a rally in July.