An official indictment against 11 alleged al Qaida militants was made public today which revealed a plot to bomb “all the churches in Ankara,” as well as the Turkish Parliament and U.S. Embassy in Istanbul.
The daily Taraf newspaper reported today that al Qaida militants arrested in July had plans to attack both churches and clergy. The plan was outlined in a 50-page indictment, prepared and filed by the Special Prosecutor’s Office in Ankara.
It also entailed plans for proposed attacks on Turkey with subsequent plans to attack the United States and other countries.
Documents, CDs, and other materials retrieved during the July attack stated it was “more advantageous to wage jihad against Turkey than the United States.”
Al Qaida leaders also forbade members from involvement in the Turkish government in any way including through military service or sending their children to a public school.
Information discovered during the raid included detailed maps, sketches, building diagrams, and lists of the names and home addresses of Christian clergy and other church workers residing in Ankara.
Video footage revealed members being trained in the use of Kalashnikov rifles and also interrogation evasion tactics to be employed upon arrest that included withholding all information about the organization.
The operations were based on the statements of a leading suspect who was captured in Ankara and was known to have knowledge of building bombs.
Al Qaida has a substantial presence in Turkey although not as prevalent as in Somalia or Yemen. According to the National Counter-Terrorism Center, Turkey suffered 40 terror attacks resulting in 22 deaths, in 2010.
In the month previous to the raid 10 other members of al Qaida were arrested for attacks plotted on Incirlik Air Base. Al Qaida was also responsible for the 2003 bombings in Istanbul that left 56 dead and 700 wounded.