Secret witness says ISIL running bookstore in Turkey’s Gaziantep province

A secret witness mentioned in an indictment drafted regarding an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attack in Gaziantep last year has said one of the suspects of the attack is running a bookstore in Gaziantep for ISIL, the Birgün daily reported on Tuesday.

The ISIL attack on the Gaziantep Police Office on May 1, 2016 claimed the lives of three police officers while it left 27 police officers and seven civilians injured.

The secret witness cited in the indictment with the code name, “Pyramid,” claimed that one of the suspects of the attack, Cuma Şahin, is running a bookstore in Gazinatep on ISIL’s behalf.

“He [Cuma Şahin] runs the Mekke Bookstore around the Elmacı Bazaar, he is known as the bookseller Cuma. He runs a book store for DAESH [another acronym for ISIL] terrorist organization. He hides materials that belong to the organization in book boxes,” the secret witness said.

The bookstore in question is still running in Gaziantep, according to Birgün.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had also revealed following their capture of Syrian town of Tabqa that the ideological indoctrination material for the ISIL have been printed in Turkey. It was reported by Birgün daily that, a book titled “Şehadet Yolunda Cihad Erleri – Jihad Soldiers on the Path to Martyrdom” written by Harun İlhan, which was seized in ISIL hideouts in Tabqa, shows Turkey as the place of the publication.

SDF had also seized many written documents and books originated from Turkey besides of massive weapons and ammunitions during their searches in the city following the capture of Tabqa after 50 days of fights.

ISIL has carried out multiple terrorist attacks in Turkey over the past several years, which claimed the lives of hundreds of people.

The Turkish government is being widely criticized for turning a blind eye to the ISIL’s activities and failing to crack down on its militants and sleeper cells across the country. As the books and publishing houses which are propagating ISIL and al-Qaeda’s radical Islamist ideology and call for violence and terror freely in Turkey, the same country is the leading jailer of journalists in the world.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 258 journalists are now in jails, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 236 are arrested pending trial, only 22 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 105 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the coup attempt. (SCF with May 23, 2017

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