Dec 11 2017

Returning jihadist registers pro-Erdoğan street-fighting group

A self-described jihadist who says he led a team of men fighting in Syria has registered an association to “oppose” opponents of Erdoğan on the streets, the left-wing İlerihaber news website said.

Fatih Kaya, who styles himself the commander of a Türkmen Syrian mountain team, registered the People’s Special Operations (HÖH) in the northeastern city of Trabzon and has since opened an office in Ankara’s central Kızılay district. The society says it is active in 22 provinces.

A member of parliament for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Murat Bakan, asked Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu whether the group was a paramilitary formation and if special permission had been granted for the association to wage war.

“Our commander-in-chief Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced the jihad to us,” a Trabzon news website quoted Kaya as saying. “Let those infidels and traitors memorise this well.”

“As the People’s Special Operations we are ready to carry out all the duties given us by our state.”

The association’s official activity is “the socio-political field”, İlerihaber said.

Thousands of jihadists, including those who have fought for Islamic State, are thought to have returned to Turkey from Syria.