Coskun Demir, aka Abu Hanzala, a 27-year-old resident of Turkey’s eastern province of Erzurum, is part of a radical cell and has helped many Turks to join al-Qaeda and ISIS organizations and other extremist armed groups in Iraq and Syria.
According to security sources, Demir is currently in pre-trial detention.
According to investigations, Demir had been in contact with another Turkish terrorist, Abu Bakr, who Turkish authorities say was the mastermind of ISIS attacks inside Turkey.
Evidence also showed that Demir was in contact with a Turkish man known as Mohammed Selev, who is wanted on charges of belonging to ISIS.
In his testimony before the court on May 30, 2018, Demir admitted to supporting ISIS through social media sites and defended his position in seeking to overthrow the secular regime in Turkey.
Turkish authorities arrested him in November 2017 for his activities with ISIS, and he was charged on December 21 but was later released pending trial.
He was arrested again in May 2018 on similar charges, and a second indictment was filed against him on June 13, 2018. Police found dozens of extremist books while searching his home.
During the trial, which ended on November 22, 2018, the new prosecutor, Mustafa Savaş, who took over the case asked the court to acquit Demir of all charges.
The Supreme Criminal Court of Erzurum unanimously decided to acquit Demir, saying he had the right to exercise freedom of expression.
According to reports based on official statistics, the majority of suspects officially arrested on charges of association with al-Qaeda and ISIS in Turkey were quickly released by court proceedings, and the number of successful convictions remained very low in the Turkish criminal justice system due to the political environment lax.
The number of foreign fighters arrested in Turkey, among those passing from its borders to reach Syria and Iraq, has reportedly risen from only eight in 2014 to 499 in 2015.
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