Russia’s foreign ministry said on Thursday a Russian man arrested after this week’s deadly Istanbul bombing was suspected of having links to Islamic State and that such extremists “feel comfortable” in Turkey.
The ministry made the statement after a suicide bomber blew himself up in the center of Istanbul on Tuesday, killing 10 German tourists. Turkish police later arrested three Russians and authorities said on Thursday the army had killed almost 200 Islamic State militants in response to the blast.
One of the Russians arrested in Turkey was Aidar Suleimanov, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
She said Suleimanov, born in 1984, was suspected of being linked to IS, while Russian news agencies quoted an unnamed Russian security source as saying he was suspected of helping send new recruits from Russia to the militant group.
“This is precisely a case where extremists accused of terrorist activity in Russia feel comfortable living for so many years in certain foreign states,” Zakharova told a weekly news briefing. “These terrorists are confident of full safety and that they cannot be reached by Russian justice.”
She went on to criticize Turkey’s attitude toward suspected militants, saying: “The country’s authorities have often declined to cooperate, including with the Russian Federation … even when all personal data have been identified and all necessary evidence gathered and submitted properly.”
Turkish police have arrested seven people on suspicion of involvement in the recent Istanbul terrorist attack.