On Thursday morning, the Turkish authorities released seven suspects that were arrested for alleged membership in the Turkish branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS).
With the final 7 suspects released, all of the 94 detainees accused of being ISIS members have been released by the Turkish authorities.
According to a statement from the 13th District Court for Serious Crimes, Halis Bayancuk, Cemil Aslan, Enes Yelgün, Erdal Yaşar, Mehmet Karlı, and Syrian nationals Muhammed Mustafa Halli and As’ad Khalif Al-Khodr were released on Thursday.
Bayancuk used the nom de guerre “Abu Hanzala” and was accused of being the mastermind behind ISIS’ Turkish enterprise.
Among other things, Bayancuk is well-known for his speeches in support of ISIS, which were regularly uploaded on Youtube.
In one of his speeches, Bayancuk comments on the infighting between the jihadist groups operating in northern Syria during the Winter 2013.
He says “ISIS members are our Muslim brethren; if someone attacks ISIS, we consider it an attack against us”.
Halli and Al-Khodr gave their testimonies with the help of an interpreter and denied the charges that they escorted two French-national women from Istanbul to the southeastern province of Gaziantep in order to have them enter Syria to join ISIS.
“As I am in the tourism business, we sometimes escort foreigners upon their demand. But I have not sent anyone to ISIS. I do not support ISIS, or its ideas,” said Al-Khodr, who admitted entering Turkey illegally.
Halli said he entered Turkey illegally to flee the conflict in Syria, first arriving in Gaziantep before continuing on to Istanbul, where he runs a tea house.
He also denied charges that he sent anyone to Syria to join ISIS.
One of the previously released suspects in the case, Gökhan Bulut, took part in the trial through the voice and video informatics system (SEGBİS).
He said in his testimony that he had found the bombs for which he was arrested in a car he had rented, and denied that they belonged to him.