Two recent cases show Turkish gov’t’s increasing tolerance for ISIL militants

Two recent cases related two alleged militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have showed the increasing tolerance of the Turkish government led by Islamist autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for ISIL militants.

A Turkish court has ordered the release pending trial of the wife of a Syrian ISIL fighter, days after a prosecutor declared it was seeking a 15-year sentence on bomb-making charges, Cumhuriyet daily has reported on Tuesday.

Shortly after Syrian national Afra Shaar married her husband Faysal, who she acknowledges was an ISIL fighter, the pair moved to Turkey’s Diyarbakır province. They stayed there for over six months, before moving back to Syria, where Faysal died fighting for the extremist jihadist ISIL, according to Afra’s statement.

Shaar then moved back to Turkey to live with Faysal’s parents. Turkish anti-terror police raided their home in December 2017, after an informant reported that Shaar was a potential suicide bomber. “I am certainly not a suicide bomber,” said Shaar in her statement. “Because if I was, I would have gone to kill Assad’s soldiers. It was them who killed my husband.”

During the raid, police confiscated three mobile phones, two tablets, a laptop and a desktop computer, and two sim cards. The digital files discovered included sound files bearing the ISIL logo and numerous pictures showing Faysal and Afra posing with weapons.

Meanwhile, pro-govenrment Hürriyet daily has reported an interesting story on Wednesday about an ISIL militant who has been sought by red notice. According to the report, a fugitive suspect in the 2015 Ankara train station attack, sought with a red notice for links to the ISIL, was captured by Georgian police in 2017 and extradited to Turkey, but only two days later, he was spotted again trying to enter Georgia.

“As he (Nusret Yılmaz) was attempting to enter Georgia through the Sarp border gate in the mid-2017, the Georgian police determined there was an arrest warrant against him and extradited him to our country. But two days later, the person in question attempted to enter Georgia once again by legal means through the Sarp border gate and was not accepted into Georgia,” said a letter sent by the Justice Ministry to the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office on Feb. 1, 2018.

The letter indicated ISIL militant Yılmaz was being sought with a red notice from Interpol and when authorities tried to access the relevant data on his entry to and exit from Turkey, the system gave an “error.”

The Ankara bombing was the deadliest terror attack carried out in Turkey by ISIL, with suicide bombers targeting NGOs and supporters of left-wing parties holding a peace rally outside the capital’s main train station, weeks ahead of the Nov. 1, 2015 general election.

Following the attack, charges against 36 ISIL suspects were filed at the Ankara 4th High Criminal Court. On April 5, 2016, a warrant was issued against fugitive suspect Yılmaz over charges of being a “member of an armed terror organization.” However, Yılmaz has still been at large since then.

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