Authorities dismantle three crime groups, says minister

Authorities have dismantled three organized crime syndicates, resulting in the arrest of 63 suspects, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced on Feb. 22.

According to the minister, the operations targeted criminal networks involved in various illicit activities - including fraud, illegal lending practices and extortion. Speaking via his social media account, he provided details of the operations, which unfolded simultaneously across several regions of Türkiye.

The first operation, spearheaded by the Aydın gendarmerie and extending into the capital Ankara, İzmir and Muğla, led to the apprehension of 35 suspects, including alleged ringleaders Teoman Avcı and Ferdi Kayhanlı.

The individuals were implicated in fraudulent schemes related to vehicle sales, causing financial harm to numerous citizens. Yerlikaya revealed that the suspects were associated with a staggering 46 million Turkish Liras ($1.47 million) in suspicious financial transactions.

In Kastamonu, authorities conducted a four-month investigation resulting in the arrest of 21 suspects, among them the purported leader Ömer Çınar. The group was reportedly operating under the guise of a jewelry enterprise, exploiting victims by offering financial services in exchange for hefty commissions. Investigations uncovered a total of 105 million liras ($3.37 million) in illicit gains linked to 14 shell companies.

Meanwhile, in Balıkesir, seven suspects, including alleged ringleader Salih Babayiğit, were apprehended following a separate inquiry. Babayiğit stands accused of coercing individuals facing financial hardships into signing blank promissory notes and providing loans at exorbitant interest rates.

Additionally, the group is alleged to have employed threats and violence...

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