Turkey detains 147 suspects over alleged Daesh links: Minister

Turkish authorities rounded up scores of suspects with alleged links to Daesh in nationwide raids, a government minister said on Tuesday.

During simultaneous raids carried out in 30 cities across the country, 147 suspects were detained, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced on social media.

Daesh has said they were responsible for the attack on a Moscow concert hall, killing at least 139 people. Affiliated media channels have published graphic videos of the gunmen inside the venue.

Turkish authorities established that one suspect, Fariduni, entered Turkey on February 20 and returned to Russia via Istanbul airport on March 2.

The suspect checked into a hotel in Istanbul’s conservative Fatih neighbourhood on February 21 and checked out six days later.

During his initial questioning, he admitted to have travelled to Turkey because his visa in Russia had expired, according to a Turkish official.

Fariduni posted eight times on his social media account on February 23, with the location set as “Aksaray Istanbul”, and the pictures apparently showing the Fatih Mosque, the official said.

The other suspect, Saidakrami, arrived in Istanbul on January 5. He checked into a hotel in Fatih the same day and checked out on January 21.

He then returned to Moscow on March 2 on the same flight as Fariduni, according to the Turkish official.

“We assess that both individuals became radicalised in Russia given the short amount of time they spent in Turkey,” he told AFP.

The official said Turkey would continue to fight all terror groups including IS, “without interruption.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the deadly Moscow attack in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin last weekend, with whom he has forged close ties.

Erdogan told Putin Turkey was ready to cooperate with Moscow in the fight against terror, according to his office.

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