Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has called on Turkish President Recep Erdogan to hand over Russian citizens who are implicated in terrorism to the Russian authorities, the Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported Tuesday.
“Currently, many dangerous criminals who have left Chechnya are operating abroad. They are on international wanted lists but the West will not hand them over [to Russia],” Kadyrov wrote in a statement on Instagram.
“If Turkish authorities need the details of these terrorists, then I will name them yet again!” he said before listing the names of 13 men. “They feel completely free on Turkish shores,” he added.
Turkish media have named the organizer of last week’s terrorist attack at Istanbul’s main airport, which killed 45 people, as Akhmed Chatayev, the Chechen leader of an Islamic State cell in Istanbul. Reports in Turkish media alleged that he was also behind two bombings in Istanbul earlier this year.
Kadyrov said that foreign security forces were to blame for Chatayev's actions because they “gave him the green light” wherever he went.
“He left Russia as a common criminal and was turned into a terrorist in Austria, Georgia and Turkey. He has been in Turkey and Syria since 2013 so Turkey’s security forces must have known what he was doing,” Kadyrov said.
“If Chatayev is involved in the attacks in Istanbul then it is Western, Georgian and other security forces who must take responsibility and not Chechnya.”
Kadyrov wrote in his statement that he had previously met with Turkey’s interior minister and warned him of the threat posed by Chechen terrorists.
“They reassured me that they would make a decision about handing [terrorists] over but nothing came of it,” he said.
“I’m pleased that Turkish-Russian relations are returning to normal and I’m again calling on President Recep Erdogan to take action on handing over these terrorists.”
Kadyrov claimed last year that 480 Chechens had joined the Islamic State. The RBC newspaper reported that almost 5,000 citizens from Russia and former Soviet states had joined the Islamic State.
The Islamic State is a terrorist organization banned in Russia.