Duvar English

Istanbul police detained 16 people in an operation carried out against members of a Russian criminal organization early on Jan. 31.

Police have started tracking the Russian group upon receiving intelligence that they arrived in Istanbul to murder Nadir Salifova, another criminal organization leader of Azerbaijani origin living in Turkey, and his men.

During the raids, the leader of the Russian group, Andri Malyi, two Ukrainians, one Russian, four Georgians and eight Azerbaijanis were detained.

Police seized one Kalashnikov rifle, 11 pistols and plenty of bullets in the operation.

The interrogations of those detained were ongoing.

Salifova, who goes by the nickname “Loto Guli,” was detained in 2018 in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district. He is alleged to have been extorting Russian business people through teleconferences.

Salifova’s name made headlines three years ago when a Russian-Azerbaijani mafia leader was killed in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş.

Nicknamed “The Ghost,” Rovshan Caniyev was killed after being attacked in his Azerbaijan-plated SUV by two suspects who left the scene after firing 65 bullets.

Caniyev’s brother reportedly arrived in Istanbul in 2017 to murder Salifova and met with Turkish criminal organization “Şirinler” to cooperate with them in the killing.

Police carried out an operation during their meeting in Istanbul’s Bahçelievler at the time, which resulted in the apprehension of the group’s “Max” nicknamed leader Mehmet Sabri Şirin and seven others.

An arrest warrant is in place for Salifova in Russia, but Ankara doesn’t extradite him due to an agreement signed between Turkey and Azerbaijan that prevents a country from sending their citizens to third countries.