Bishkek, Jan 3: Kyrgyzstan is investigating whether one of its citizens was involved in the New Year's attack at an Istanbul nightclub that left 39 dead, the central Asian country's intelligence services have said.
"The National Security Committee (GKNB) is looking into the possible involvement of a citizen of Kyrgyzstan in the attack in Istanbul," said Rakhat Soulaimov, spokesman for the intelligence service, adding that investigators have been in touch with their Turkish counterparts.
He later added that the authorities had detained and questioned a 28-year-old Kyrgyz national, Lakhe Machrapov, upon his return from Turkey after Turkish media reported he was a possible suspect in the attack.
"Members of the GKNB transferred him to a regional bureau where he was questioned. The details will be released later," Soulaimov told AFP. Speaking to Kyrgyz media, Machrapov denied any involvement in the attack, explaining that he arrived in Istanbul on January 1 "on business" before leaving today after being briefly questioned by Turkish police due to his resemblance to a suspect in the killing.
The foreign ministry in Kyrgyzstan said it was "improbable" that one of its nationals was involved but said it was "checking anyway." Turkish police have released pictures of the suspect who went on the rampage at the plush Reina nightclub on New Year's night, spraying some 120 bullets at terrified guests before slipping away into the night.