Italy announces dismantling of Turkish criminal group

Italy announces dismantling of Turkish criminal group
Italy announces dismantling of Turkish criminal group

Italian police announced Wednesday the dismantling of a Turkish armed group “with terrorist objectives” and the arrest of 19 people including a boss of Kurdish origin linked to recent attacks in Turkey.

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Hundreds of police officers were mobilized in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Turkey to arrest these Turkish nationals who were part of an alleged criminal network “aiming to set up a terrorist association to carry out attacks”.

The group is also suspected of murders, international drug trafficking and aiding illegal immigration, said the police in their press release, who resorted to a “complex” series of telephone tapping and benefited from the assistance from Interpol.

Baris Boyun, 39, leader of a gang suspected of murders in Turkey, was arrested by Italian and Turkish police in Viterbo, north of Rome, where he had already been under house arrest since a first arrest in August 2022 on the basis for an international arrest warrant. His extradition to Türkiye was refused by an Italian court.

In Turkey, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said 17 of those arrested were Turkish, including Baris Boyun, and the other two Italians.

In February, the gang was linked to an armed attack on an election meeting in Istanbul of the mayoral candidate from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP party in the March 31 local elections.

The Turkish Interior Minister announced in March a major operation against this group, which led to the arrest of 13 people in the province of Tekirdag (northwest) suspected of planning assassinations and armed attacks.

Eight other people suspected of being part of this gang were arrested in April in Izmir, according to the minister.

According to a press release from the Milan public prosecutor’s office, the criminal group present in Italy was “linked to other foreign groups, spread across European territory”, all “connected within them and capable of helping each other logistically, particularly for the supply of arms and men.

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