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Turkey detains 56 high-priority suspects from 18 countries

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Turkey declared on Wednesday that it had apprehended 56 high-priority suspects wanted by 18 countries for offenses ranging from drug dealing and money laundering to murder, counterfeiting, and assault. 

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya shared this information, stating that the suspects were flagged on Interpol’s “red notice” on “diffusion message” systems, triggering alerts for their arrest and extradition.

The detained individuals are sought by countries including the United States, Germany, India, several former Soviet republics, and various parts of Asia and the Middle East. 

While the names were not disclosed, the arrests were part of coordinated security operations across 11 provinces, including Istanbul.

Yerlikaya’s office did not reveal specific details about the suspects but emphasized that they were apprehended in a synchronized effort, stating, “The suspects are being processed in accordance with the procedures of the relevant countries.”

In recent weeks, Turkey’s interior ministry and MIT intelligence service have conducted a series of high-profile raids. Before New Year celebrations, they detained over 200 individuals allegedly linked to the Islamic State group. Additionally, 34 people accused of spying for Israel were detained on Tuesday.

Interior Minister Yerlikaya, known as a close political ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has actively announced major arrests since his appointment last year. 

Despite ruling out a mayoral run in Istanbul’s upcoming elections in March, he aims to retain his position as interior minister. Erdogan’s party aspires to regain control of Turkey’s three main cities—Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir—from the secular opposition in the upcoming polls.

Yerlikaya emphasized the importance of the operations, stating, “Our fight against crime will continue with determination, no matter where they hide, we will find them and bring them to justice.”

 

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