Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya stated that two attackers have been apprehended, noting, “We assess that both individuals, one from Tajikistan and the other from Russia, are affiliated with ISIS.”
The armed attack on the Saint Mary Church in the Sarıyer district of İstanbul, during Sunday mass, has been claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Yesterday (January 28), during the Sunday mass at the church, two individuals wearing ski masks entered and opened fire, resulting in attendees taking cover. Tuncer Cihan was shot in the head and lost his life during the incident.
In a statement published in Arabic on ISIS’s news agency, Amaq, it was stated that the attack was carried out in response to the call of ISIS leaders to target Jews and Christians everywhere.
The claim of responsibility was also disseminated by ISIS’s Turkish media outlet, “Meydan Medya.”
Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya, in a social media post last night at 22:49, announced that the two perpetrators of the attack on the Santa Maria Church had been apprehended. Yerlikaya stated:
“This morning, 2 suspects who caused the death of our citizen Tuncer Cihan during the Sunday mass at Santa Maria Church in Sarıyer have been captured. I congratulate our Istanbul Police and brave officers who identified and apprehended the perpetrators. Once again, I extend my condolences to the family and loved ones of our deceased citizen.”
Later, around 00:30, Minister Yerlikaya held a press conference at the Istanbul Provincial Police Department regarding the matter. He mentioned that the attackers were of foreign nationality and stated, “We assess that they are affiliated with ISIS.”
In his speech, Minister Yerlikaya stated:
“After the heinous attack, our Istanbul Police initiated a very rapid and comprehensive operation. Throughout the day, our law enforcement conducted raids on 30 different addresses, resulting in the detention of 47 individuals. Finally, in the operation at the address identified at 22:00, both suspects in the murder were apprehended. I would like to emphasize that both suspects are of foreign nationality. We assess that both, one being Tajikistani and the other Russian, are affiliated with ISIS.