Police have detained the planners of two deadly bomb attacks carried out by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 2016 in Istanbul.
Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin stated that 44 people were detained in anti-terror operations on July 13, including those who planned deadly car bomb attacks in Beşiktaş and Vezneciler last year.
“In the investigations, it was revealed that one of those detained studied the area before organizing the Beşiktaş attack and escaped from the bomb-laden car at the last minute. Another one was the organizer of the attack against a vehicle carrying our soldiers in Vezneciler,” Şahin told reporters in a press briefing on July 13.
The operations were carried out in coordination with the National Intelligence Agency (MİT), he added.
During the press briefing held jointly with Istanbul Provincial Police Chief Mustafa Çalışkan, Şahin said the authorities received intelligence of a PKK cell planning attacks in Istanbul.
Operations were subsequently carried out in 13 districts of Istanbul, the northwestern province of Kocaeli, Ankara and the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır and Hakkari, Şahin said, adding that weapons were seized in the searches carried out at three businesses and four different depots.
“Thirteen weapons were seized and three were long-barreled rifles. There are also two shotguns and similar weapons. In addition, 161 kilograms of explosives were confiscated, and we also have many documents and materials. Investigations are ongoing,” Şahin added.
Saying that Istanbul was saved from “very serious attacks,” he thanked the intelligence and police forces for carrying out a successful operation.
“We think Istanbul was saved from very serious attacks that could have led to sensational results. As the security units, we will continue our operations with the same speed and determination,” Şahin said.
Some 30 police officers and eight civilians were killed in the twin bomb attacks near the Vodafone Stadium in Istanbul on Dec. 10, 2016.
The bomb attack in Vezneciler was carried out on June 7, 2016 and 11 people were killed, of whom six were police officers and five were civilians.
Both attacks were claimed by the PKK.