Kyrgyzstan is ready to provide maximum assistance to Turkey in its investigation into the New Year's attack at a popular Istanbul nightclub, the country's foreign ministry said Wednesday. "The Kyrgyz side expresses its readiness to provide maximum assistance to the Turkish law enforcement authorities in the investigation of the terrorist act," the ministry said in a statement.
At least 39 people died and 69 were injured in the assault on Reina nightclub in central Istanbul, where a gunman dressed as Santa Claus opened fire at hundreds of people at the New Year's party. A total of 12 suspects have been detained in Istanbul over their suspected links to the nightclub attack, press reports said. In earlier reports, some media outlets said the suspect's identity has been established, claiming that the 28-year-old Kyrgyz citizen Iakhe Mashrapov might be the attacker.
"So far, Kyrgyzstan did not receive any requests from the Turkish side regarding Iakhe Mashrapov through diplomatic channels. As previously reported by the Foreign Ministry, the initial information about the alleged involvement of Kyrgyz citizen Iakhe Mashrapov, widely replicated by Turkish and foreign media, is not confirmed," the ministry said. The security services of Kyrgyzstan said that Mashrapov was questioned by the National Security Committee and then released. Mashrapov, who is in Kyrgyzstan, told local media that he had nothing to do with the terrorist act in Istanbul. He said he often flies to Turkey on business, but when the terrorist act occurred, he was in Kyrgyzstan, and came to Istanbul on Jan. 1.
"Before the return flight to Bishkek I was questioned in Istanbul ...but then they apologized and let me go," Mashrapov said. Turkey has been hit by around 30 bombing attacks over the past one and a half years, in which more than 400 people have lost their lives, prompting calls for steps to revamp the intelligence units and reduce polarization in society to better counter the scourge of terrorism.