Turkey reportedly didn’t apprehend an ISIS militant responsible for deadly attacks in Turkey despite determining his location 19 times.
The whereabouts of ISIS emir Yunus Durmaz, who was sought over the attacks in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, the Suruç district of the southeastern province of Urfa, the capital Ankara and Istanbul’s Taksim, was determined 19 times between April 29 and May 19, 2016, daily Evrensel reported on Sept. 24.
Reports and court files since ISIS’ twin suicide bomb attack on Oct. 10, 2015 that killed over 100 people and wounded scores of others proved massive negligence of Turkish authorities in preventing ISIS attacks.
Antep First Heavy Penal Court ruled for the phone records of Durmaz, who was responsible for the ISIS cell in the southeastern province of Antep, to be tracked in April 2016 over the Diyarbakır, Suruç, Ankara and Taksim attacks.
His plans on attacking the Istanbul office of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), daily Cumhuriyet’s Ankara office, the G20 Summit in the southern province of Antalya, 2016 Expo in Antalya and Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Turkish Republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, were also determined.
Authorities then tracked his whereabouts through phone signals 19 times between April 29 and May 19, 2016, but didn’t apprehend him.
Durmaz was also not apprehended after the attack on Antep police headquarters that killed three police officers on May 1, 2016, of which he was among the planners.
According to Evrensel, police took action when it received a tip on Durmaz’s plan to attack a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) congress.
Durmaz blew himself up during a police raid on an ISIS cell on May 19, 2016. All data on him was ordered to be destroyed on June 6 of the same year.
His name was also known by authorities before ISIS. Durmaz went to Iran in 2006 and then to Afghanistan to join jihadists. He was nabbed in Pakistan in 2009 and was extradited to Turkey.
Upon his arrival, police questioned him, but he was freed shortly after.
Durmaz was also being tracked in 2012 as part of authorities’ efforts to surveil al-Qaeda militants.