Russian Citizens Detained in Turkey Clarify Past

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

15th January, 2016


Today new details emerged of the case of three Russians who were detained in Turkey on suspicion of involvement in the terrorist group “Islamic State” (IS; prohibited in Russia). According to the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation, one of the detainees, Aidar Suleimanov, was previously convicted in the homeland of extremism and declared internationally as wanted in connection with the recruiting of people for ISIS. He denied this information, assuring that it is not related to terrorist groups and has been arrested on another occasion. The lawyer of the detained Russians Nurali Citil in a conversation with “Kommersant” called the incident “the machinations of the secret services” of the Russian Federation.

As was said by the official representative of the Russian foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova, one of the suspects — the native of Tatarstan Aidar Suleimanov, was born in 1984. According to the diplomat, the Russians left the country in 2013, and last year he was in absentia declared at first Federally, and then was placed on the international wanted list of Interpol at the request of Russia “in connection with the engagement in the activity is prohibited in the Russian Federation of ISIL (another name for Islamic State) and recruitment for this organization.” According to “Kommersant”, the two other detainees are countryman Ruslan Haybullov and native of Dagestan, Kamaludin Babayev.

As a reminder, the scandal around the arrest of Russians started after the terrorist attack in the heart of Istanbul at Sultanahmet Square on January 12th. However, the citizens of the Russian Federation were detained on the eve of January 11th during the antiterrorist operation conducted by security forces in several Turkish cities.

“About the relationship of Aidar Suleimanov – ISIS was well known to all interacting through the Interpol countries, including Turkey, said Maria Zakharova.— This is the case, when charged with terrorist activities in Russia, the extremists feel quite at ease in the territory of foreign states”.

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However, in the open database of Interpol, as of yesterday, Aidar Suleimanov was not listed among the internationally wanted. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tatarstan’s information about the detention of Russians is not confirmed. A source in regional law enforcement bodies of Tatarstan in an interview with “Kommersant” said that the police department  has not initiated the search of Suleimanov and claims it does not matter. According to him, they can use the FSB.

Aidar Suleimanov in an interview with “Kommersant” declared that he has no relation to the terrorists and was first arrested “on another occasion”. Previously, a video was circulated on the website of Dogan news Agency, which shows police in the presence of journalists removed three men (presumably the Russians) from the house and were put in a car.

The lawyer of the detained Nurali Citil refused to comment on Kommersant’s case, but called the incident “the machinations of the Russian special services”. And one of the friends of the three men, who asked not to be named, assured Kommersant that “Not Suleimanov, nor other detainees were never told about the problems in Russia, and sympathy for ISIS was hard to suspect”. According to the interlocutor of Kommersant, citizens of the Russian Federation detained in Antalya  lived in Turkey for at least three years, all had families and properties.

The interlocutor of Kommersant said that Aidar Suleimanov was engaged in business (selling honey), and Ruslan Haybullov “many years ago left Tatarstan abroad to learn”. “We in no way are suspects nor suspected. At least the police have no claim to it”,— said the interlocutor of “Kommersant” in law enforcement bodies of Tatarstan. The interlocutor of “Kommersant” in Istanbul, an acquaintance of the detainees, said Haybullov and Suleimanov remain in the deportation center, where they were placed after the conversation with the Prosecutor and they can probably go 48 hours without charge.

“And the Dagestani (Kamaludin Babayev) had his detention extended, as a picture where he is holding a weapon was revealed — like with hunting, but he decided to hold it”,— said the interlocutor of Kommersant. According to him, a native of Dagestan, the Russian side transferred the dossier, which can communicate his attitude about gangs.

According to a Kommersant source in law enforcement bodies of Dagestan, 33-year-old Kamaludin Babayev is a native of southern Dagestan, and in recent years resided in Makhachkala and visited the mosque on the Kotlova street, which until recently was considered the main mosque of supporters of the Salafist branch of Islam.

As was underlined by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the detainees refused to make contact with the Consulate of the Russian Federation, but Russian diplomatic interlocutors of “Kommersant” in Turkey promised to follow the fate of fellow citizens and seek a meeting with them.

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