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Reports of Daesh 'assassination attempt' on Istanbul Mayor cause confusion

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu in Istanbul, Turkey on 8 September 2020 [Nevzat Yıldırım/Anadolu Agency]
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu in Istanbul, Turkey on 8 September 2020 [Nevzat Yıldırım/Anadolu Agency]

Claims and denials of an assassination attempt on the Mayor of Istanbul by Daesh have caused confusion across Turkey, with contradictory statements being issued by the media, police and politicians.

The initial claim was made by Turkish media when it was reported yesterday that the terror group had attempted to assassinate Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu. The attack was said to have been thwarted by the authorities.

Istanbul Municipality Spokesperson Murat Ongun wrote on Twitter that information was received on 23 November regarding "intelligence on a terror organisation." He went on to say that, "Within the framework of this information, the existing precautions have been maintained and sensitivity has been increased."

As the news caught on and spread on social media, however, police refuted the reports and denied that such an attack had taken place. "From time to time, we receive such unverified information or notices against public officials… institutions or places that can create sensation due to their duties." Such information, it was pointed out, is then shared with "the relevant people" resulting in "necessary measures" being taken.

READ: Turkey launches security campaign against Daesh

Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu then told the newspaper Sözcü that, "We receive intelligence like this from time to time, but it is not disclosed to the public." Such vital intelligence, he added, is evaluated meticulously. "If necessary, intelligence teams notify the police officers responsible for protecting the individual and share information in order for them to be more careful. Additional security can be provided if needed."

The vagueness of Soylu's statement confused many people even more.

Despite the reports being denied and toned down, extra policemen have reportedly been added to İmamoğlu's security team. This, it was explained, is a routine precaution.

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