It has only taken Turkey a few years and hundreds of deaths, but the country is finally taking the war on ISIS seriously.
The country’s Interior Ministry has updated its most-wanted list with 23 ISIS operatives. Most of them are believed to have been involved in the terrible terror attack in Ankara on October 10, 2015. All in all, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has offered up to $14 million for information that leads to the capture or death of 23 ISIS jihadists.
According to the English edition of Hurriyet, which is one of Turkey’s most respected secular newspapers, three terrorists lead the pack with rewards of 4 million lira each, which is $1.4 million.
Balı is ISIS’ emir in the southeastern province of Gaziantep. That makes him ISIS’ leader in that part of Turkey. Dokumacı, meanwhile, is the head of a terror cell called the Dokumacılar, which has taken responsibility for several terror attacks and is ISIS’ main recruiting tool in another province in the southeastern part of Turkey, Adıyaman.
For instance, Abdurrahman Alagöz — who killed 33 people in Suruç on July 20, 2015 — was a member of the Dokumacılar. The same goes for Yunus Emre Alagöz, who was one of the suicide bombers in the Ankara attacks mentioned above (101 people were killed in those attacks).
The last one, Durmaz, is believed to be planning a new terror attack in Turkey that aims to kills dozens if not hundreds of civilians.
The 23 terrorists on the updated list fall into five different color-coded categories. The three killers aforementioned fall into the red category. The other categories are green, blue, orange and grey. Those in the third category are deemed the most dangerous.
The remaining 20 ISIL militants are on the blue list, with rewards of up to 1.5 million liras to those who provide support in their capture. Three of the wanted militants, Mahmut Gazi Tatar, Hüseyin Peri and Savaş Yıldız, are believed to be held captive by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria. The list includes five women, two of foreign nationalities.
It’s better late than never, of course, but it’s also extremely saddening that it took this long for Turkey to finally take the battle against ISIS seriously. If the Turks had joined the fight — both military and legally — earlier, the terror attacks in Istanbul and Ankara may have been prevented.
Because the Turks didn’t do anything against ISIS for so long, the terror group was able to smuggle its fighters into Turkey, where they built the infrastructure they needed to not only spread into Europe, but also to carry out terror attacks in Turkey. Turkish citizens have paid the price already for their government’s apathy, and I fear they’ll suffer more in the weeks and months ahead.