Turkey Detains 16 Accused of Links to Islamic State After Bookshop Clash

ANKARA (Reuters) -

Turkish police detained 16 people accused of links to Islamic State on Tuesday after protesters used sticks and stones against security forces trying to shut down an unlicensed religious bookshop, the governor’s office said.

Police had tried to close the shop in the southeastern city of Bingol overnight, the governor’s office said, adding that the shop supported Islamic State activities in the country.

Islamic State has conducted numerous attacks across Turkey, including on a eatery in Istanbul on Jan. 1, 2017, in which 39 people were killed.

“Teams of our police intervened … while attacks using sticks and stones were carried out against our security forces,” the governor’s office statement said. The suspects had been detained for assaulting a law enforcement officer, intentionally causing injury and damaging public property, it said. Footage from the operation showed dozens of people clashing with police using sticks, while gunshots were heard.

Since a failed 2016 coup, Turkey has investigated and tried tens of thousands of people accused of terror links in a crackdown which rights groups say has been used as pretext to quash dissent.

The government has said its actions are necessary given the gravity of the threats faced by Turkey.