Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 5 Issue: 45

Two thousand demonstrators marched in Istanbul, Turkey to protest President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Ankara, Newsru.com reported on December 7. The demonstrators carried placards reading “Murderer Putin!” and “Get Out of Turkey!” A group of protesters from among Turkey’s large community with roots in the Caucasus laid wreaths at the Russian consulate in Istanbul.

On December 4, the eve of Putin’s arrival, a number of Chechen solidarity groups in Turkey spoke out against his two-day visit, Agence France-Presse reported. “One fourth of the population in Chechnya was massacred by Russians,” Ali Yandir, the head of the Chechen Solidarity and Culture Association, told a press conference. “We expect the Turkish government to ask Russia to end the occupation in Chechnya and disarm the region.”

News agencies reported on December 3 that police in Istanbul had detained 12 people, two of them women, seizing weapons, computers and CDs. The Anatolia news agency, citing Turkish anti-terrorist officials, reported on December 5 that the detainees were nine Chechens and three Turks of Chechen descent and were tied to al-Qaeda. Some 3,000 Turkish police were deployed to protect the Russian president during his visit to Ankara.