Separatist Chechen leader threatens Turkey over Chechen murders

November 22, 2011, Tuesday/ 16:13:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Separatist Chechen leader Doku Umarov has accused Turkey of failing to prevent the murders of Chechen nationals in İstanbul and has said Chechen militants will carry out retaliatory actions against the Turkish state, the Anatolia news agency reported on Tuesday.

In a video released on, a website affiliated with the Chechen rebels in the North Caucasus, Umarov said the Turkish state had a responsibility in the murders of three Chechens in September. He accused Turkish intelligence agencies of having a responsibility in the murders as they had failed to boost security measures in order to prevent Russian agents from targeting Chechens in İstanbul over the last three years.

The three Chechen nationals were gunned down in broad daylight on a suburban street in İstanbul's Zeytinburnu district on Sept. 16. One of the victims, Berg Khazh Musavei, was a former Chechen commander who had fought against the Russians in the Second Chechen War, which started in 2000.

In earlier incidents, a former Chechen military officer, Gazhi Edilsutanov, was killed in the Başakşehir district of İstanbul in September 2008, İslam Conibekof was killed in Ümraniye in December 2008, and Ali Osaev, the leader of the Chechen community in Turkey, was killed in İstanbul's Zeytinburnu district by unknown assailants in February 2009.

There is still an ongoing rebellion against Kremlin-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov in Chechnya and also against Russia in the North Caucasus. With the aim of creating a separate state across the region the rebellion is being led by the Chechen-born Umarov, Russia's most wanted man. The United States has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his arrest.

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