A BBC article has claimed that a series of assassinations has taken place in Turkey of men from the countries of the former USSR. There’s evidence that some of the killings were carried out by assassins from Russia; it includes names, photographs and a memory stick left behind carelessly for Turkish police to study.
The article alleges that there have been twelve assassinations of Chechens, Uzbeks and Tajiks who had taken refuge in Turkey. Men like Ruslan Israpilov, for example, who took refuge from the conflict in Chechnya and was one of a number of Chechens who moved to the tiny Turkish town of Ilimtepe, where they thought they could protect each other. Israpilov was killed last May at the age of 46; he was shot at the front door of his flat. As a young man in the 1990s, he had fought with thousands of other Chechens to repel Russian forces from their land.
In November last year, Abdulwahid Edelgiriev, was about to take his niece shopping in the Istanbul suburb of Keyesehir when another car blocked his path. A man leapt out and shot through the window of Edelgiriev’s car, but didn’t hit him. The victim then ran down a path back towards his home, pursued by the attackers. They felled him with one shot, and then stabbed him in the neck, leaving him to bleed to death.
The BBC asks if Russian hitmen have been killing with impunity in Turkey. It lists other Chechens who have been killed under suspicious circumstances.
The reason for the assassinations, claims the BBC, is that Russia believes that the elimination of these individuals was simply in its interests. However, it could also be that individuals like Edelgiriev was suspected by Moscow of playing a key role in a plot to kill Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In making these allegations the article raises the alarming prospect that the murder of Alexander Litvinenko with radioactive polonium in London 10 years is not the only political murder for which Russia is believed to have been responsible.
The Turkish government apparently declined to comment on the subject. “If Russia has indeed been behind these murders on Turkish soil,” concludes the BBC, “then Turkey appears to have done little to prevent it.”