After the office of the governor in Ankara cancelled on Sunday a speech by the alleged Islamic State (ISIS) leader in Turkey, Halis Bayuncuk, also known as Abu Hanzala, the ISIS suspect called the decision a threat in a video message he issued on same day.
“We consider this a threat” Bayuncuk said in the video message as he defied the authorities.
Earlier, the announcement of an event featuring Abu Hanzala in a billboard ad as the speaker of a panel organized by an extremist group in Ankara outraged many in social media.
The billboard ads posted in Etimesgut district of Ankara announced that Abu Hanzala will speak in the capital on February 26.
The event is introduced as a speech by a person who talks about Islam “without any fear”.
Abu Hanzala was defined as “the man who introduced thousands of people into Islam”.
On March 25 of last year Abu Hanzala was among the seven ISIS suspects who were released pending trial by an İstanbul [Constantinople] court.
Suspects had been released by the court considering “the situation of the evidence against them and the time they spent in prison”.
The court imposed a travel ban on the suspects.
Bayuncuk was detained in İstanbul [Constantinople] with his wife in July 2015 and later arrested with several other suspected ISIL members.
Bayuncuk led an Eid prayer on July 2015 in İstanbul [Constantinople] where he criticized the Turkish government and made a call for a “holy war”.
The media reported that a group of ISIS militants —allegedly consisting of 1,000 members— gathered at a picnic site in İstanbul’s [Constantinople’s] Ömerli neighborhood to perform the prayers signaling the end of the holy month of Ramadan and the beginning of the celebration of Eid al-Fitr.
Bayuncuk was also detained on Jan. 14, 2014, along with dozens of others during anti-terrorism raids on al-Qaeda cells by the police and gendarmerie units in six provinces across Turkey.
He was later arrested. However, he was released in the eastern city of Van in October 2014 by a controversial court order after Turkey’s government removed the police chiefs who ordered the raids from office.