Turkish authorities detain more than 800 suspected ISIL members

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Turkish police detained more than 800 suspected ISIL members in nationwide anti-terrorism operations, seizing a number of documents and firearms in the raids.

According to local media, most of those detained are foreign nationals. All of this came after an ISIL terrorist opened fire inside a local night club on New Year’s Eve, killing 39 people.

CGTN’s Natalie Carney reports.

Turkish authorities detain more than 800 suspected ISIL members

Turkish authorities detain more than 800 suspected ISIL members

With Ankara vowing to continue that operation in an effort to clear terrorists from its border, it has now become ISIL's number one target - leaving the battle against terrorism here at home, far from over. CGTN's Natalie Carney reports.

Simultaneous raids in more than a third of Turkey’s 81 provinces began Sunday morning with police detaining some 450 suspects in the initial phase, which has been touted as Turkey’s biggest crackdown against ISIL.

Many were believed to have disseminated propaganda, recruited new members and prepared terrorist acts in the country.

Turkish police launched numerous raids against ISIL in the past, but never on this scale.

Journalist Murat Cicek said it’s all-dependent on intelligence sharing.

“Thousands of potential ISIL members have been arrested, deported, sent back to their own countries, but this process needs intelligence from other countries. For instance, England didn’t give us any information, so some English citizens passed the Turkish border and joined ISIL. It was only after they had left Turkey, that England warned us about them,” he said.

Yet many Turks remained skeptical as dozens of those previously detained have already been released.

In Istanbul, authorities launched operations in seven different neighborhoods which resulted in the detentions of prominent ISIL operatives. In addition, nearly 300 people suspected of having connections to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were also detained. Some 700 other suspects were taken into custody, said to be linked to the terrorist network, which Ankara believed was behind the last summer’s attempted coup.

More than 600 people were killed in terror related incidents last year alone including 39 during a New Year’s celebration inside a popular Istanbul nightclub.

ISIL claimed the attack was in response to Turkey’s military operations in Northern Syria.

With Ankara vowing to continue that operation in an effort to clear terrorists from its border, it has now become ISIL’s number one target – leaving the battle against terrorism here at home, far from over.