Erdoğan says Turkey knew about Baghdadi operation

Turkey knew about the U.S. operation against Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Sunday and provided intelligence to the United States, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday.

Baghdadi blew himself up in a tunnel in Syria on Oct. 26 after being cornered when U.S. special forces raided his compound in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, just 5 km from the Turkish border. 

“We as Turkey contributed to the United States (operation) to kill Baghdadi,” Turkish daily Hürriyet quoted Erdoğan as saying during his ruling party’s executive board meeting. 

The president said U.S. helicopters had used airspace under Turkish control over the northwestern Syrian towns of Afrin and Jarablus.

“We gave intelligence support. Our intelligence units worked with those of the United States,” Erdoğan said. 

“We knew that there would be an operation against Baghdadi. We warned our units in Afrin and Jarablus and ordered them not to open fire,” Erdoğan said. 

Hürriyet did not say whether Erdoğan had indicated when Turkey had been informed by Washington about the operation against Baghdadi.

Since the killing of Baghdadi, Turkish authorities have stepped up operations against ISIS members in Turkey.

The Turkish police detained 11 people over links to ISIS in operations in the central Anatolian province of Çankırı, Hürriyet reported on Friday. 

One of the suspects detained is a person who worked as the private aide of Baghdadi and other high-ranking ISIS members, the daily said.