Nov 23 2017

Turkey sent back two Russian murder suspects, reporter says

Turkey has sent two Russian men accused of killing various Chechen fighters in Turkey back home, a Turkish reporter working for an Islamist newspaper said.

Adem Özköse, who formerly worked for the pro-government daily HaberTürk and now writes a column for the Islamist newspaper Milat, said in a series of tweets that “Jurii Anisimov” and “Aleksandr Smirnov”, whom he accused of working for Russian intelligence agency FSB, had been returned to Russia as part of a deal.

Özköse cited Mehmet Okutan, one of the lawyers on the case, as his source.

A speech in September by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in which he appeared to offer to exchange American pastor Andrew Brunson for U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen led some critics to accuse Turkey of having a policy of “hostage diplomacy”.

The official exchange of foreign-national prisoners was made possible in Turkish law by executive order 694 in August this year.

According to the order, if the justice minister and president agree, they have the power to extradite or exchange any foreign-national prisoner in Turkey.

There have been accusations that Russian assassins have killed Chechen separatists in Turkey for some years.