Five Macedonian nationals were arrested in Istanbul over suspected links terrorist group Daesh, Macedonia's interior minister said Saturday.
Mitko Cavkov said the suspects were apprehended in a joint operation between Turkish and Macedonian police on Aug. 12.
"Five Macedonian citizens were arrested during an operation conducted by the Turkish police in Aksaray," Cavkov told a news conference in Skopje, referring to a district on the city's European side. "We confirmed that the suspects aimed to join the terrorist organization."
The suspects left Macedonia on July 22 and were later reported missing by their families. Four suspects from Syria, Albania, Palestine and Morocco were also arrested during the operation, Cavkov added.
At least 23 Macedonian have been prosecuted over Daesh membership, the minister said, and 25 have been killed in Iraq and Syria, where 50 are still thought to be fighting.
Cavkov also revealed parliament had held a meeting on the closure of schools allegedly linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) that is said to be behind the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.
"The session was about supporting the officially elected state institutions in Turkey. This means respecting the will of the Turkish people," he said, adding that any closures would have to be conducted within a legal framework.
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