76 members of the international terrorist organization Islamic State have been arrested in Turkey following a crackdown by security forces.
The Daily Sabah reports that those arrested include 5 foreign nationals plotting a New Years’ Eve terror attack in the Turkish capital, Ankara. Documents, weapons and ammunition have also been seized.
The arrests serve as a demonstration of the success of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy. Trump has long applied pressure to Turkey to root out the Islamic State network. In exchange for allowing Turkey to take action against the communist Kurdish militias operating in U.S.-controlled regions of Syria, Turkey appears to have taken a heavy hand against the Islamic State.
“President R.T. Erdogan of Turkey has very strongly informed me that he will eradicate whatever is left of ISIS in Syria….and he is a man who can do it plus, Turkey is right ‘next door’. Our troops are coming home!” Trump said on Twitter in December 2018.
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Previously, Turkey appeared to be turning a blind eye to the Islamic State’s activities, with some reports indicating that Turkey was even buying oil from the Islamic State and thus indirectly funding their violent jihad against the West.
“Turkey is the main consumer of the oil stolen from its rightful owners, Syria and Iraq. According to information we’ve received, the senior political leadership of the country – President Erdogan and his family – are involved in this criminal business,” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov claimed in 2015. “Maybe I’m being too blunt, but one can only entrust control over this thieving business to one’s closest associates.”
Now, however, Turkey has reconciled with Russia and the two powers are cooperating in the fight against the Islamic State.
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Washington political elites, such as Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and former National Security Advisor John Bolton, have been critical of Trump’s cordial relationship with President Erdogan.