Turkish police arrested 15 al-Qaeda militants on Wednesday, who are accused of plotting an attack against the United States Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. Police began the investigation when monitoring the first suspect for six months.
Authorities obtained 1,500 lbs of ammonium nitrate, ammunition, maps of Ankara, and two-assault rifles from the suspect’s home. The accused received arms and explosives training overseas. During his interrogation, he made statements that led to the capture of the militants in Ankara, Bursa, and Yalova. The al-Qaeda militants have ties to an active group in Afghanistan, and the Turkish media believe that the plot was an act of revenge for the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Turkish soldiers in Ankara.
This is not the first instance when al-Qaeda militants have been arrested for plotting attacks in Turkey. Last month, 10 suspected militants were detained for planning to attack Incirlik Air Base, a U.S. Air Force base used to transfer supplies to Afghanistan and Iraq. Turkey has previously produced Islamic militants who have ties with al-Qaeda. In 2003, militants killed 58 people during an attack on two synagogues, British Bank, and British Consulate in Istanbul. In 2008, the U.S. Consulate was attacked resulting in the deaths of three policemen.
It is crucial that Turkey continues its efforts to prevent such attacks from occurring. As the Syrian government increases the crackdown on the anti-government demonstrators, Syrian citizens will continue to seek refuge in Turkey. This will only increase chaos for the country’s security establishment, and militants may take advantage of security loop holes by increasing attacks in Turkey.