Germany sends specialist investigation team to Turkey
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
According to media reports, Germany has sent a team of specialist investigators to Istanbul following the blast on January 12 in historic Sultanahmet square which 10 Germans were killed. A spokesman for the Interior Ministry says the investigators flew to the Turkish metropolis Wednesday soon after the blast in Istanbul killing Germans among others. Johannes Dimroth said the specialists from Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office, which is comparable to the FBI, would support Turkish authorities investigating the attack.
A suicide bomber detonated a bomb in the heart of İstanbul’s historic district on 12th January, killing 10 foreigners — most of them German tourists — and wounding 15 other people, in the latest in a string of attacks by extremists targeting Westerners. This has alerted both Turkey and Germany to consider the possible causes of the blast. .
The blast, just steps from the historic Blue Mosque and a former Byzantine church in the city’s popular Sultanahmet district, was the first by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to target Turkey’s vital tourism sector, although ISIL militants have struck with deadly effect elsewhere in the country.
Turkish police later arrested three Russians and authorities said on Thursday the army had killed almost 200 ISIL militants in response to the blast. One of the Russians arrested in Turkey was Aidar Suleimanov, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Sakharov said yesterday. She went on to criticize Turkey’s attitude towards 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.”
The report is still not verified by Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had a phone conversation on January 12 with his German counterpart, Joachim Gauck, pledging cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
Erdoğan called the German president to extend his condolences for the death of eight German nationals killed in a blast in İstanbul on the same day.
German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said that the security situation in Germany had not changed after a suicide bomber killed at least 10 people, mainly German tourists, in İstanbul on Tuesday. “We know Germany is also a target for terrorists and so a general danger certainly cannot be denied but at the moment there are no concrete indications of attack targets but the authorities are very, very alert,” he told broadcaster ARD.
Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it was too early to engage in wild speculation if Germany believes that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group is responsible for the attack The foreign minister also said that his country won’t make any further immediate changes to its travel advice for Turkey but could do so in light of the investigation into Istanbul bombing.
The Foreign Ministry advised Germans after the attack to avoid crowds in public places and outside tourist sites in Istanbul. Ten Germans were killed in the bombing. Frank-Walter Steinmeier said travel advice will be adjusted “when we know more about the background to the crime, particularly the background of the perpetrator” and what his motive was. Steinmeier and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said there’s no indication Germans were targeted specifically. De Maiziere said he sees “no reason to refrain from traveling to Turkey” and no reason for people already there to break off their trips.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan met with Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende at his presidential palace on January 12. The details of the talks are not available and officials did not make a statement after the meeting. However, some sources from the presidency said both leaders highlighted the importance of the fight against terrorism, and stressed their determination to continue their cooperation in this regard.
As tensions persist between Moscow and Ankara over the downing of a Russian jet on the Syrian border in November, Russia’s Caspian Sea Fleet has begun testing at the Podsolnuh radar station, which can monitor İstanbul. According to a report in the Cumhuriyet daily on Monday, Russian officials have said that test runs at the Podsolnuh radar station, which was set up on the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 after Russia annexed the region from Ukraine, have been successful. The officials said in a statement that “the objective of the tests was to exercise the communications between the operations centers of warships and air and surface targets.”
An official from the Russian Defense Ministry said in 2014 when the radar station was established in Crimea that it would monitor the area including the Bosporus Strait.
Russia has been increasing its military presence in the region ever since Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border in late November. It was recently reported that Russia will send MIG-29 fighter jets and a Mil Mi-8 transport helicopter to a Russian base near Yerevan in the second half of this year. The Turkish media has cited an announcement from the Russian Southern Military District that Russia will send new military aircraft to the Erebuni base located seven-and-a-half miles southwest of Yerevan.
According to the statement the MIG-29 jets will protect the airspace of Armenia, which is a part of the Russia led CIS air borders (Commonwealth of Independent States).
CIS is a weak replacement of the USSR organized by Russian federation following the fall of Soviet Union but it has not been successful as not every former Soviet Union joined the new politico-geographic arrangement. In fact, many of them have turned to USA, EU, NATO and other related sources for economic, military and political ties. . In fact, Moscow, in trying to come closer to western institutions, ha snot shown serious mindset in recreating the Soviet Union.