The Turkish Foreign Ministry has denied allegations by Israel’s military intelligence chief that there are al-Qaeda bases in Turkey, calling such claims “groundless.”

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç dismissed the Israeli claims, saying that Turkey had been subjected to al-Qaeda attacks in the past and is still under threat. Bilgiç also added that as a result of the drawn-out Syrian crisis, some groups sympathetic to the al-Qaeda ideology have found fertile ground in the war-torn country and that those group’s activities also posed a threat to Turkey.

“Turkey is fighting effectively against the groups that have made use of the situation in Syria and is in cooperation with the international community over the matter. Turkey is also fulfilling its obligations to the United Nations Security Council’s pronouncements on al-Qaeda and groups affiliated with al-Qaeda,” Bilgiç said.