Turkey’s biggest investigation into the Islamic State (IS) organization in the country has been completed, with some 67 ISIL-linked suspects blacklisted.
A 315-page indictment prepared by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Murat Çağlak was recognized by the Istanbul 13th Court for Serious Crimes in the comprehensive investigation. The indictment also named leading militants to have headed IS activities in Turkey.
İlyas Aydın, 26, was stated in the indictment as the chief militant of the terrorist organization’s Turkey branch. The indictment carried a penalty of up to 15 years in prison for Aydın, on charges of “forming and heading an armed terrorist organization.”
It stated Aydın called would-be jihadists to join IS on pro-IS social networks and that he delivered religious speeches in mosques and ostensibly Islamic-holy places.
The other IS leader was identified as Halis Bayancuk, a senior IS leader based in Istanbul who was arrested in an Istanbul raid in late July this year, in the indictment, with his jihadi nickname stated as “Abu Hanzala.” Bayancuk faces up to 10 years in prison on the charge of “being a member of a terrorist organization.”
The indictment stated an IS militant under arrest, Asaad Khelifalkhadr, who was detained with a fake passport. Khelifalkhadr is facing up to five years in prison on a charge of “fabricating false documents.”
Khelifalkhadr was stated in the indictment to have welcomed prospective militants coming from abroad to join the fight in conflict zones in Iraq and Syria, and provided them with accommodation. Khelifalkhadr, whose jihadi nickname is “Abu Suheyf,” was stated to conduct recruitment activities for IS, met the medical needs of prospective militants and carried out activities to finance the organization.
The indictment also stated the youngest militant to be 19 years old and the oldest militant to be 49 years old. Among the militants implicated in the indictment were Kuwaitis, French, Libyans, Colombians, Syrians and Saudi Arabians.
Turkey has stepped up counterterrorism activities against IS after militants from the group were implicated both in the Suruç bombing and the twin suicide blasts in Ankara.
The perpetrator of the deadly suicide attack in Suruç, a district in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, was identified as an IS militant, who killed dozens of civilians and left more than 100 injured on July 20.
The suicide bomber of the Ankara blasts was also identified as an IS militant, who killed more than 100 and left hundreds wounded outside a train station in the Turkish capital on Oct. 10. The attack in Ankara was the deadliest act of terrorism in Turkey’s history.