31/08/2016 10:19 PM AEST | Updated 05/01/2017 10:03 AM AEDT

Turkey Has Arrested 865 People In Connection With Islamic State This Year

More than half were foreigners.

Osman Orsal / Reuters
A protester waves the Turkish flag during a demonstration in front of the Silivri prison, near Istanbul March 14, 2011. Turkish police arrested nearly 200 retired and serving military officers, including former top commanders, who are accused of plotting a coup in 2003 to topple Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government. The trial of alleged plotters of "Sledgehammer" reflects a lingering mistrust between the traditionally secular military and a ruling party that critics say retains Islamist leanings. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

Turkey has arrested 865 people since the start of 2016 in its fight against Islamic State, and more than half of those were foreigners, Interior Minister Efkan Ala said in remarks broadcast on Turkish television channels on Wednesday.

Thousands of foreign fighters from countries including Turkey, Britain, Europe and the United States have joined the Islamist militants in their self-proclaimed caliphate in recent years, many of them passing through Turkey. Turkey has since launched a crackdown on the networks facilitating their passage.

Since launching the crackdown, Turkey has detained a total of 5,803 people, of which about 2,200 were foreigners, the minister said, without giving a precise period.

(Reporting by Asli Kandemir; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Dasha Afanasieva)

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