Turkey revokes visa exemption for Tajikistan citizens after Russia attack

Turkey has revoked the touristic visa exemption for citizens of Tajikistan after one of the perpetrators of the March 22 attack at the Crocus Concert Hall in Moscow was revealed to have traveled through Istanbul to Russia. 

Duvar English

Turkey on April 6 lifted the visa exemption applied to holders of ordinary passports of Tajikistan traveling to Turkey. The decree was published in the Official Gazette with the signature of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

The decision appears in the Official Gazette dated April 6.

The decision came weeks after the attack on the Crocus Concert Hall in Moscow, for which Russian officials detained 11 suspects, four of whom were Tajikistan citizens. 

According to the reporting of the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, attacker Shamsiddin Fariduni on Feb. 23 shared eight photos from Istanbul. The location in almost all of the photos was the megacity’s Aksaray neighborhood.

Fariduni reportedly said that he had traveled from Turkey to Russia on March 4, in a video shared from the moments of his capture.

The Khorasan branch of the Islamic State (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the attack that killed more than 140 people. The group refers to the branch of ISIS covering Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and parts of Iran.

ISIS’ presence in Turkey was brought to attention after the Jan. 28 attack at the Santa Maria Church in Istanbul that killed one. 

Before the attack, the police and the National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) arrested 47 people in several operations in November and December 2023.

After the attack, Turkish police detained 25 more suspects in an operation against the Khorasan branch.

Russian citizen Edelkhan Inazhaev, one of the detained suspects, was revealed to have connections with the ISIS cells in Istanbul’s Başakşehir district.

Investigations revealed that Inazhaev was also arrested in 2016 in connection with the bombing and armed attack at Istanbul Atatürk Airport that killed 45 people. 

The authorities found evidence of ISIS cells’ plans to target places of worship in and around Istanbul’s historical Greek neighborhood of Balat.

Turkey allows visa-free entrance to passport holders from 35 countries, including Iran, Russia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.