A suspected Islamic State member believed to have been planning to attack a World War I commemoration at Gallipoli attended by hundreds of Australians and New Zealanders has been arrested in Turkey.
The Syrian national was detained in Tekirdag, a northwest province close to the Gallipoli peninsula, a Tekirdag police spokesman said on Wednesday.
Every year, Australians and New Zealanders travel to Turkey for memorial services commemorating the 1915 Anzac military campaign to drive Ottoman troops from Gallipoli and the Dardanelles region.
Soldiers from New Zealand, Australia, Turkey and other countries held several services at Gallipoli on Wednesday, ahead of Thursday’s dawn service marking the landings.
Listen to Mamamia’s daily news podcast The Quicky on the people we should remember this ANZAC Day. Post continues after audio.
The police spokesman did not specify which day the detained suspect may have been planning to carry out the alleged attack.
Turkey has said Islamic State was responsible for several bombings that took place in 2015 and 2016, which killed some 200 people in total.
Although the militant group has not been active in Turkey of late, authorities still carry out routine operations against suspected Islamic State members.
This year’s Anzac service comes a month after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan faced criticism in Australia and New Zealand for comments he made after a lone gunman killed 50 people in two mosques in Christchurch on March 15.
Erdogan played a video from the shootings at local election rallies and said the gunman had targeted Turkey by saying in a manifesto posted online that Turks should be removed from the European half of Istanbul.
He also threatened to send back in coffins anyone who tried to take the battle to Istanbul.
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, has been charged with 50 counts of murder for New Zealand’s worst peacetime mass shooting.
Fifty other people were injured in the attacks, which occurred during Friday prayers.
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