Around 60 people have been detained in anti-terror operations held simultaneously in six provinces against an alleged Islamic organization, Doğan news agency reported yesterday.
The operations were held in the southeastern provinces of Adana and Osmaniye as well as Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Kahramanmaraş, Konya, Mersin and Adıyaman in southeastern Turkey. The Islamist organization in question called "Vasat" became known after a bomb attack on a Bible stand in Gaziantep on Sept. 14, 1998 that killed a 4-year-old child.
The police forces raided 17 locations in Gaziantep and detained 16 people there who allegedly have links to the Vasat organization.
The Doğan news agency said 13 of the detainees were a result of the raids in Şanlıurfa.
Police also engaged in a shootout with militants in Istanbul, but Istanbul Governor Muammer Güler declined to comment on whether those operations were connected.
The leader of the Vasat organization, Şahmerdan Sarı, was detained during the operations in Gaziantep as well. Sarı had remained in prison for being the leader of the same organization and was released from prison a while ago, Doğan reported.
The detained suspects were allegedly launching operations in line with directives from Sari, Doğan reported, adding that they were holding meetings in Şanlıurfa and collecting money in the name of the organization.