Claims of an assassination attempt against Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu have raised confusion, with police and the municipality releasing contradicting statements.
Turkish media on Dec. 1 reported that ISIS' assassination attempt against İmamoğlu, who is from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) was thwarted and the militants who were preparing for the attack were apprehended.
The claims were met with shock on social media, prompting police to refute the reports.
When asked whether such a threat against İmamoğlu existed and was thwarted, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu gave an obscure response.
"We receive intelligence like this from time to time, but they are not disclosed to the public," Soylu told daily Sözcü columnist Uğur Dündar on Dec. 2, adding that such intel is evaluated "meticulously."
"If necessary, intelligence teams notify the police officers responsible for protecting the individual and share information in order for them to be more careful. Additional security can be provided if needed," he said.
According to Soylu, operations against the groups posing threats would be carried out in the meanwhile but "these are not disclosed."
Earlier, Istanbul Municipality Spokesperson Murat Ongun said that they received information on Nov. 23 about a threat against İmamoğlu's safety following "intelligence on a terror organization."
"Within the framework of this information, the existing precautions have been maintained and sensitivity has been increased," Ongun said, adding that they have not been notified about the capture of any suspect in relation to the incident.
Bilgi dahilinde mevcut önlemler korunmuş ve hassasiyet artırılmıştır. Tarafımızda herhangi bir eylemcinin yakalandığı bilgisi mevcut değildir. Başkanımızın açık kaynaklarda görüleceği üzere rutin programları ihbar tarihinden beri sürmektedir.— Murat Ongun (@Mrt_Ongun) December 1, 2020
Online news portal OdaTV claimed on Dec. 1 that a group of ISIS militants had been caught while attempting to plot İmamoğlu's assassination. OdaTV said that İmamoğlu's security guards had been instructed to “be more careful” on Nov. 23.
Shortly after Turkish media outlets' reports on the issue, Turkish police on Dec. 1 released a statement, denying that an assassination attempt was in place. It also refuted claims that the assassins were apprehended.
“From time to time, we receive such unverified information or notices against public officials, statespeople, individuals under protection, people, institutions or places that can create sensation due to their duties,” the statement read, adding that such notices are shared with “the relevant people” and the “necessary measures” are then taken.
Bazı basın yayın organlarında yer alan “İMAMOĞLU’NA yönelik suikast emri verilen DEAŞ Militanları yakalandı” haberi ile ilgili 01.12.2020 tarihli basın açıklamasıdır.— Türk Polis Teşkilatı (@EmniyetGM) December 1, 2020
Ayrıntılı bilgi için; https://t.co/LVIuIxRZNz pic.twitter.com/OcwVr7QZDt