For two years, Turkish police force tracked members of ISIS who were involved in the organization’s Gaziantep network. Every movement and phone calls ISIS members made were tracked, but in March 2014, such tracking came to an abrupt end. Since when the police stopped tracking them, ISIS militants launched bomb attacks in Turkey that caused the deaths of tens of people. It has been revealed that the tracking of ISIS members came to an end based on an article in the Constitution back then, stating “technical surveillance for crimes of terror and terrorist organizations can’t be more than six months”, which otherwise could have led to “a victimization” in the future.

ISIS made the news in public at the beginning of 2013 in Syria. The group described as Al Qaeda in the beginning started to be known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant). The name ISIS in Turkey came to be known when many young Turks joined ISIS from Adiyaman (a city in southeast of Turkey), which is close to Syria. These members of ISIS later took active roles in bomb attacks in Diyarbakir on 5 June 2015, in Suruc on 20 July 2015 and in Ankara 10 October 2015, killing scores of civilians. Security forces who investigated these bombings revealed that those names who orchestrated them were the terrorists from Gaziantep they tracked. Those suspects were members of Al Qaeda in the beginning and they later joined ISIS.

Nineteen names from Gaziantep have been detected in relation to the bombings in Turkey. These names were also previously tracked between 2012 and 2014. The photos, records and technical surveillance foundings were added to the case that opened in last March by a Criminal Court.

The police found out disturbing facts about ISIS members’ activities in Turkey during two years of tracking and surveillance. ISIS members had paintball games by wearing camouflage outfits for training, organized football games to strengthen organizational ties among its members, tracking and push up exercises in forests as part of their training, arranged charity sale and attended the funeral of ISIS members who died in Syria. Moreover, the members founded unions in cities, where they held meetings and created alternative religious feasts and holy day prayers.

isis training camp in turkey

As stated earlier, tracking and surveillance of ISIS members came to an abrupt end in March 2014. Anti-Terror Branch who tracked ISIS members in Turkey made regular requests for wiretapping and surveillance to the prosecution office, which was rejected in March 2014.

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