Turkish authorities have arrested 25 individuals, including two suspected perpetrators connected to the fatal shooting at a Roman Catholic church in Constantinople last weekend, announced Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç today. The two main suspects, identified as foreign nationals from Tajikistan and Russia, are believed to be associated with the Islamic State, according to Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya.
Minister Tunç revealed on social media that the suspects had been charged with membership in an illegal organization and murder. Additionally, nine other individuals have been released pending trial. The attack occurred at the Santa Maria church in the Sariyer district during Sunday morning mass, resulting in the death of a Turkish citizen who was deliberately targeted.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on Telegram, stating that it was in response to the group’s leaders’ call to target Jews and Christians. Minister Tunç highlighted that the outcome might have been more severe if a gun had not malfunctioned during the incident, preventing further casualties.
Video footage from a security camera inside the church, authenticated by Reuters, captures the masked gunmen entering the building and shooting a man in front of them. The incident follows a series of attacks by the Islamic State in Turkey, including the notorious nightclub attack in Constantinople on January 1, 2017, which claimed 39 lives.
According to Yerlikaya, Turkish authorities have detained 2,086 people suspected of links to the Islamic State since June 2023.
Source: ANA-MPA / Article translated by: Konstantinos Menyktas