Turkish authorities have arrested 37 people suspected of belonging to a criminal organization that killed police officer Hakan Telli and injured another policeman during a drug operation in İstanbul last week, the Bianet news website reported on Tuesday.
The suspects were brought to court yesterday, where arrest orders were issued for 37 of 39 people. The charges are “forming and directing a criminal organization,” “membership in a criminal organization,” “premeditated murder,” “drug trafficking” and “violation of Firearms Law No. 6136.” Two suspects were released under judicial supervision.
The arrests come after a clash Friday during a narcotics operation in the Kağıthane district of İstanbul, where police officer Telli was fatally wounded and officer Ahmet Yasin Çevik was seriously injured. According to local media, the suspects opened fire during the operation.
Following the incident, police carried out raids at 97 locations. Various firearms were seized during the raids, including automatic pistols and rifles, along with 585 rounds of ammunition. Additionally, police seized 51 grams of marijuana, 6 grams of cocaine, 57 capsules of cocaine, 6 grams of synthetic cannabinoids, 2.7 liters of acetone, three precision scales and 55 pills of an unspecified narcotic.
The operation and subsequent arrests come amid growing concerns about gun violence in Turkey, where an estimated one in two people owns a firearm. Experts have pointed to the widespread availability of unlicensed firearms as a contributing factor to the rise in violent confrontations and robberies.