Police have arrested 49 Daesh suspects allegedly planning a "sensational" act of terror over the weekend ahead of Turkey's constitutional referendum yesterday.
The suspects, including 41 foreign nationals, were taken into custody following simultaneous raids in seven districts across Istanbul, including Basakşehir, Beylikdüzü, Fatih, Esenyurt, Kartal, Küçükçekmece and Pendik, a security source said.
During the operation, police also seized three handguns -- two for firing blanks -- three cartridges, 16 rounds of ammunition, a radio, a machete, six electronic point-of-sale terminals, a large number of bank cards, military camouflage gear and around $341,000-worth of cash in three denominations.
More than 55 million Turkish citizens yesterday voted on the proposed constitutional amendments that will, if passed, give executive powers to the president and shift the current parliamentary system to a presidential one.
Turkey maintains determined efforts in its counterterrorism operations, not only domestically, but also internationally. In that respect, as part of the biggest countrywide crackdown operation against Daesh, hundreds of people linked to the terrorist group were detained in February as anti-terror police stormed alleged militant hideouts.
The Daesh terrorist group has frequently threatened Turkey. One of the most recent threats was a video that showed a man in hoodies with a backpack passing by police cars and popular landmarks in Istanbul, where the group carried out its first major attack in the country on January 2016, killing a group of German tourists near the famous Blue Mosque.
Since Daesh emerged as a terrorist group in war-torn Syria, Turkey has detained over 5,000 Daesh suspects and deported over 3,290 foreign terrorist fighters, originating from 95 different countries. It also refused entry to more than 38,269 individuals'.