Turkish authorities rounded up dozens of individuals suspected of having links to the militant Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper reported Sunday. The arrests came a day after two suicide bomb blasts killed at least 95 people at a peace rally in Ankara, the Turkish capital, marking the deadliest attack in recent Turkish history.
At least one of the 36 people detained by police Sunday was suspected of arranging accommodations for ISIS recruits headed to Syria. Police raided an apartment belonging to the man, identified only as IC, where nationals from France, Italy, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Tunisia and Egypt were reportedly staying.
Another 14 people were arrested in counterterrorism operations in the central Turkish city of Konya, and another 14 in the southern Turkish city of Sanliurfa. Police officials did not provide details of the arrests, but they did say that police seized "organizational documents." An additional seven people were arrested in the coastal city of Izmir, where an unregistered pistol and rifle were also seized.
There was no indication that any of the individuals arrested were linked to Saturday's attack in Ankara. Suspicion of responsibility for the attack quickly fell on ISIS or the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has recently relaunched a decades-long war with the Turkish state. But Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that two other outlawed left-wing groups could also have been responsible. The government called for three days of mourning after Saturday's attack.
Tensions have soared in Turkey since July, when a bombing killed dozens of left-wing activists in the southern Turkish city of Sanliurfa. Although the suicide bomber was an ISIS sympathizer, Kurdish militants immediately blamed the attack on Turkey's failure to stem the spread of ISIS and launched a series of retaliatory attacks on Turkish security forces. Saturday's attack occurred at a peace rally calling for an end to the months-long fighting between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militant groups, which has centered in Turkey's restive southeast region.
Following the attack, the PKK called for a ceasefire, but fighting between Kurdish militants and the government has continued, as the Turkish military continued to launch airstrikes Sunday and two Turkish soldiers were killed.