A notice sent by the police chief of the eastern province of Kars last October to the police units in the province warned that there are sleeper cells belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant across 70 out of 81 provinces in Turkey, according to a report in the Cumhuriyet daily on Wednesday.
The notice, which was marked as “confidential” was sent by Kars Police Chief Faruk Karaduman, to the police units in city center and districts of Kars on Oct.28 based on the accounts of a police informant in the ranks of ISIL. The police informant reportedly received intelligence about ISIL’s activities from a senior ISIL militant based in Syria.
The provinces where ISIL sleeper cells allegedly exist include provinces such as İstanbul, Trabzon, Samsun, İzmir, Diyarbakır, Mardin, Adana, Bingöl, Gaziantep, Kilis, Adıyaman, Şanlıurfa, Mersin, Bitlis, Van, Batman, Konya, Kocaeli, Bursa, Kahramanmaraş, Siirt, Şırnak, Aydın, Ağrı, Antalya, Edirne, Osmaniye, Iğdır, Niğde, Amasya and Ordu.
Karaduman warned police units about the risk of ISIL attacks on pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), Republican People’s Party (CHP) and other left-wing organizations as well as tourist spots and asked his personnel to be careful about these risks.
The police chief’s warning came in the aftermath of a terrorist attack in the heart of Ankara on Oct. 10, which claimed the lives of 104 people when two ISIL suicide bombers blew themselves up among mostly pro-Kurdish and leftist activists who came together to attend a peace rally.
Since June 2015, Turkey has been subjected to many ISIL attacks, which claimed the lives of around 150 people including foreign nationals.
Turkey has long been accused by experts, Kurds, and even US Vice President Joe Biden of enabling ISIL by turning a blind eye to the vast smuggling networks of weapons and fighters during the ongoing Syrian war. Its move was reportedly part of attempts to trigger the downfall of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.