All 3 Russians detained in Turkey belonged to foreign terror groups – Russian state source
“There’s information about the three Russian citizens who were detained in Turkey, that they had links or participated in foreign terror groups,” the source told TASS news agency.
“Moreover, one of them was previously put on Russian and international wanted lists. The two others left the territory of Russia with the declared intention of studying on the territory of Middle Eastern countries," he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, Turkey’s Dogan news agency reported that three Russian citizens were detained by the Turkish police over links to terror group Islamic State.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed the detention of three Russian citizens by the Turkish law enforcement authorities over alleged ties with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).
“According to police reports, these persons have refused to make contact with Russian consular employees,” the ministry said on its website.
Earlier, Russia’s consul general in the Turkish city of Antalya, Aleksandr Tolstopyatenko, has also said that the arrests took place, but added the reasons for them “are being established.”
The three Russians were among the nine suspects detained by the Turkish police on Tuesday in the cities of Antalya and Izmir over alleged links with Islamic State.
The move was a response to the suicide bombing which took place in central Istanbul earlier that day, killing 10 people and injured 17 others.
Turkish authorities said the person who carried out the attack was affiliated with IS.
All those who died in the suicide blast at Sultanahmet Square were tourists from Germany.
However, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said that "based on what we know from the investigation so far, there are no indications that the attack was explicitly targeting Germans.”
The minister stressed that the tragedy would bring Berlin and Ankara closer together, and urged Germans not to change their travel plans to Turkey.
During a joint press conference in Istanbul with his German counterpart, Turkey’s interior minister, Efkan Ala, said one person had been detained specifically in connection with the Sultanahmet Square bombing.
The arrest was made in Istanbul late on Tuesday, Ala said without revealing any further details.
According to the minister, Turkey has already arrested more than 3,300 people in operations against Islamic State, including 220 suspects in the week prior to the Istanbul attack.
Ala confirmed media reports that the fingerprints of the perpetrator of the Istanbul attack were on record with the Turkish authorities.
However, he stressed that the bomber “was not on the wanted individuals list. And neither is he on the target individuals list sent to us by other countries."
After the blast, Ankara said that the perpetrator was identified from body parts as a Syrian who was born in 1988 and entered Turley shortly before the attack.
But reports in several local newspapers claimed the bomber’s name was Nabil Fadli, and that he was a Saudi Arabian citizen looking for asylum in Turkey.
Four more people were arrested on Wednesday in connection with the Istanbul blast, in addition to an earlier detained suspect, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.
The suicide bomber entered Turkey as a migrant, the PM said, adding that the perpetrator’s “link to Daesh has been determined.” Daesh is an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
But Davutoglu stressed that “Daesh is an intermediary organization,” hinting that some other group, which he didn’t name, actually masterminded the attack.