Turkey detains 304 people for alleged Islamic State ties

Turkey detains 304 people for alleged Islamic State ties
Turkish authorities detained the suspects across 32 cities in the country, chiefly in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir.
2 min read
22 December, 2023
The arrest of over 300 suspected IS affiliates was carried out under Operation Heroes-34 [Getty/file photo]

Turkish authorities have detained 304 people allegedly affiliated with Islamic State after launching a sweeping operation against the group, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said Friday.

The majority of the suspects were detained in Turkey's three biggest cities of Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir, Yerlikaya said on social messaging platform X. He said the operation, "Operation Heroes-34", was carried out simultaneously across the country.

Eighty-six suspects were detained in Istanbul alone.

"We will continue to fight against terrorism with determination until the last terrorist is neutralised," he said.

IS extremists have carried out a string of attacks on Turkish soil, including against a nightclub in Istanbul in 2017 that left 39 people dead.

"We will not allow any terrorists to open their eyes, for the peace and unity of our people. We will continue our battle with the intense efforts of our security forces," he said, sharing footage of the operations which showed police entering apartments and buildings and dragging suspects into vehicles.

Islamic State controlled one third of Iraq and Syria at its 2014 peak. Though beaten back, it continues to wage insurgent attacks.

It has conducted numerous attacks across Turkey, including on a nightclub in Istanbul on January 1, 2017, in which 39 people were killed.

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Authorities have ramped up operations against Islamic State and suspected Kurdish militants in recent weeks, after Kurdish militants detonated a bomb near government buildings in Ankara on October 1.

Turkey regularly conducts operations at home and in northern Iraq on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which it regards as a terrorist organisation.