Turkish security forces have stepped up arrests of suspected jihadists since 102 people were killed in twin suicide bombings outside the central station in Ankara. The blast was blamed on Isil-linked terrorists.
Last week, police seized 20 Isil suspects in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya, days ahead of a summit of world leaders from the Group of 20 nations, which takes place on November 15 and 16 and will be attended by the world’s most powerful leaders, including President Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, the Russian president.
Turkey is seen as a favoured entry point for extremists, European fighters in particular, wishing to join the ranks of Isil in neighbouring Syria.
On Tuesday, it emerged that French police had arrested a man in Toulon suspected of being in the final stages of planning a terror attack in the southern French port and naval base.
The 25-year-old, under surveillance after trying unsuccessfully twice last year to travel to Syria, was charged on November 2.
While he was being monitored, he had a parcel delivered by the post office which was found to contain a combat knife and a mask.
During questioning he admitted he had been in contact with a Frenchman currently in Syria with Isil who had encouraged him to act. According to Le Monde, the contact is called Mustapha Mokeddem, who recently travelled from France to Syria despite a travel ban.
Growth industry: the rise of the beard transplant
From New York hipsters to London bankers, men are increasingly turning to surgery in their quest for perfect facial hair, as Theo Merz discovers
“If someone said to me, ‘You’re really vain and you’ve just wasted a load of money’, I’d probably tell them they were right,” says Jamie, who underwent a facial hair transplant four months ago to even out his designer stubble. “But I look in the mirror and I have a bloody great beard, so no regrets.”
The 37-year-old, who works in the entertainment industry in London, says he has been “rocking” stubble in the style of American designer Tom Ford for years, but was unhappy with the patchy distribution of his facial hair. After finding out a friend had undergone a hair transplant for his scalp, Jamie booked a consultation with the friend’s surgeon, who suggested he could have the same done on his face.
“He said he could take the hair from under my chin and just put it where I wanted. The only thing that was painful was when the needle went in to anaesthetise my face, then the rest of it was kind of boring. It was three hours of making little cuts and then putting the hairs in one by one.”
The cuts left a crust of tiny scabs which disappeared after five days, and the hairs themselves fell out shortly after, leaving only the root behind. A couple of weeks later they started to re-grow and Jamie now almost has the beard of his dreams – though he still plans to go back for more work.
“Now people get beard envy when they see me, but I’m a perfectionist so I want another few hairs here and there,” he says. “All in all it will have cost me about £3,000. I know a few people in entertainment who’ve had it done; I guess it’s more common because we’re in a creative industry.”
Reports from New York this week that hipsters were turning to hair transplants in their quest for the perfect beard swiftly circulated round the world. But as Jamie and his colleagues prove, this is far from being a uniquely American phenomenon.
In fact, according to the International Society of Hair Restoration, more than 4,500 facial hair transplants were carried out in the UK last year – up 13 per cent on the year before, making the procedure more than three times as popular as nose jobs among British men.
Surgeons carrying out the procedure in the UK put this down to a fashion for wearing beards – as promoted by celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck and even, until recently, Jeremy Paxman – as well as growing awareness among the public that operations like these are possible.