Airport employees mourn for their colleagues, who were killed in Tuesday’s attack at the airport, during a ceremony at the worldwide departure terminal of Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey, June 30, 2016.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared Saturday that Syrian President Bashar Assad was a “more advanced terrorist” than the Islamic State group, despite the deadly attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport that Turkish officials blame on IS. However, TAK did claim a bombing that killed one person at Sabiha Gokcen Airport, Istanbul’s other airport, late previous year.
The attackers arrived by taxi, officials said.
Speaking to reporters later, Mr Cavusoglu said Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mr Erdogan may meet next month. One possible reason is a reluctance to be seen as killing fellow Muslims; another is its desire to exploit the violent rift between Turkey and Kurdish rebels, said Anthony Skinner, director of the analyst group Verisk Maplecroft.
The suspected suicide bombers were Russian, Uzbek and Kyrgyz nationals, a Turkish government official said on Thursday.
Turkey’s interior minister said the explosives used were a mix of RDX, TNT and PETN that were “manufactured”, which chemist and explosives expert at University of Rhode Island, Jimmie Oxley, described as being military-grade, raising the question of how the attackers obtained the bombs. The assailants raised the suspicion of airport security on the day of the attack because they showed up in winter jackets on a summer day, several media outlets reported.
It noted that nine suspected militants, thought to have been in contact with Islamic State members in Syria, have been detained in raids.
Some agencies named one of the men as Osman Vadinov, said to have crossed into Turkey from the Islamic State group stronghold of Raqqa in Syria in 2015. As a sign of the global reach of Dagestan jihadists, one of the Tsarnaev brothers, the jihadists responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing, visited Dagestan shortly before planning the attack.
The state-run Anadolu Agency reported Friday that the Bakirkoy Public Prosecutor’s office had established the identity of two of the airport attackers, Rakim Bulgarov and Vadim Osmanov, and was trying to identify the third.
Turkey has always been accused of turning a blind eye to jihidis – including IS members – who regularly transit its territory to and from Syria and Iraq.
The carrier ceased services to the airport after deadly suicide attacks killed more than 40 people.
An official said Friday that security forces have killed the mastermind of the February 17 attack. Officials had earlier said that investigators were struggling to identify the attackers from their limited remains, with an unnamed authority saying that “a medical team is working round the clock to conclude the identification process”. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.