Islamic State terrorists planned attack on the Hagia Sophia in Turkey
Article RadarTHIS ARTICLE CONNECT:
- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
Affected Countries: turkey;
Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu told Hurriyet on Wednesday that ISIS had been planning an attack on the Hagia Sophia.
On Tuesday, Soylu announced that Turkey had arrested a senior member of ISIS/Daesh. Writing on Twitter, he said “Daesh’s so-called emir of Turkey was captured and remanded in custody with important plans”.
Soylu spoke to reporters while visiting Giresun in the Eastern Black Sea region, where there has been extensive flooding. He revealed the name of the ISIS leader was Mahmut Özden, according to Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
Anadolu Agency initially said that Özden had been organising groups of 10-12 people to engage in protest activities, but Hurriyet has now said that the group’s activities appear to be more serious.
Soylu told Hurriyet that Turkey’s own intelligence gathering led to the arrest without the assistance of any other intelligence agencies. He stated that on August 18, ISIS member Hüseyin Sağır had been arrested, and this led to the arrest of Özden on August 20.
Further questions from Hurriyet journalist Abdulkadir Selvi led to a Soylu stating that he believed ISIS wanted to kidnap Turkish politicians and abduct them to Syria.
Selvi also asked why ISIS would want to attack the Hagia Sophia, especially since the Turkish government has recently converted it from a museum into a mosque. Soylu said that since ISIS is an extremist organisation, they wouldn’t care about its conversion, and would still consider it a good target to attack.
In June, an ISIS affiliated magazine based in South Asia, ‘The Voice of India’, published an article discounting the re-conversion of the Hagia Sophia into a mosque, referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a ‘tyrant’, and saying that the conversion did not go far enough, because “the polytheistic manifestations will not be eliminated, nor shall be the intermixing [i.e., men and women praying together] stopped.”
Soylu said that ISIS figures in Turkey were receiving orders from Syria and Iraq, There have been recent signs that ISIS is using the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to regroup, with USA Today noting that recent months have seen a resurgence of ISIS activity in Syria and Iraq.
The United States’ top commander in the Middle East, General Frank McKenzie, also warned in August that conditions in government-controlled areas of Syria allowed militants to move around freely, and that refugee camps were fertile recruiting grounds for extremist organisations.
Source: Ahval News