Tajikistan’s Foreign Ministry reports that is not yet possible to say whether the persons detained on suspicion of being involved in in Istanbul church shooting is a citizen of Tajikistan.  

Shohin Smadi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan (MFA), says Tajikistan’s Ambassador to Turkiye Ashrafjon Gulov has requested a meeting with Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya to find out the circumstances of detention of the person suspected of shooting in the Church of Santa Maria in Istanbul and who was identified as a citizen of Tajikistan. 

Tajikistan has reportedly sent a request on this issue to the Turkish side and Tajikistan’s ambassador to Turkiye has held phone talks with officials of the Turkish Ministry but he has received a clear answer yet.  

“In this regard, our diplomatic department requested a meeting between our ambassador and the Turkish interior minister to clarify the circumstances and the fact of our citizen’s participation in this incident.  It is still premature to say that the detainee is a citizen of Tajikistan,” an official source within the Tajik MFA told Asia-Plus in an interview.   

He further added that the country’s foreign ministry, Tajikistan’s diplomatic mission in Ankara and Tajikistan’s consulate in Istanbul request information daily -- exact details of the detainee, alleged citizen of Tajikistan.Во внешнеполитическом.   In particular, the question of whether other detainees have Tajikistan citizenship is also clarified. 

Recall, citing Turkiye’s Yeni Safak newspaper, Russia’s state-run news agency TASS reported on January31 that militants from the so-called Tajik "Vilayat Khorasan" cell of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group carried out a shooting attack in a Catholic church in Istanbul on January 28.

According to Yeni Safak newspaper, citing Istanbul police, those arrested in the attack are Tajik citizens, except for three Turkish nationals.

Earlier, it was reported that a Russian and a Tajik national who opened fire were arrested a few hours after the incident at the Italian Church.

Investigators were cited as saying that IS terrorist group used so-called sleeper cells to carry out the violence.  The attackers received orders to carry out the armed assault via social networks controlled by the terrorist group.  

Police reportedly seized digital media confirming IS involvement in the temple shooting, and a car without number plates was found in a forest in the Gokturk district near Istanbul's international airport.  One of the pistols used in the shooting was also found dismantled, having been converted from a gas pistol to a combat pistol.

Citing Yeni Safak, TASS reports that according to the security services, those involved in the attack had rented a house in the Guvercintepe district of Istanbul three months ago.  Tajik nationals who were detained after the attack reportedly also live there illegally. 

According to Yeni Safak, some of the 28 suspects detained by the Istanbul Security Directorate were planning New Year's Day attacks on Istanbul's Orthodox churches, a synagogue and the Iraqi embassy.  Local police reportedly foiled the attacks on December 29 by arresting 32 people.

Recall, the shooting happened at the Church of Santa Maria during last Sunday mass at around 11:40 local time.

Turkey's Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said later on X, formerly Twitter that two gunmen who shot one person dead on Sunday during a service at a church in Istanbul and who are believed to be tied to Islamic State (IS) terror group.

BBC’s Russian Service cited Yerlikaya as saying that both suspects are citizens of other nations; one of them is reportedly from Tajikistan and another one is Russian.

Shortly before, the IS terror group had reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on Telegram, saying it was in response to a call by the group's leaders to target Jews and Christians.

France 24 reported that local officials said around 40 people attended the mass, and suggested that there could have been more casualties.