Istanbul church attack: 25 suspects arrested, says minister

Istanbul Shooting. Turkish police outside the Santa Maria Church in Istanbul after the shooting. (courtesy:

#Turkey, #Istanbul, #IstanbulChurchShooting, #TheIslamicState

Istanbul/IBNS-CMEDIA: Turkish authorities have formally arrested 25 individuals in relation to the recent church attack in Istanbul, Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc announced on Friday.

The arrested suspects face charges of “membership in an organisation” and “intentional homicide,” Tunc said on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Tunc further disclosed that among those detained are the two assailants believed to be associated with the Islamic State, which is responsible for fatally shooting a Turkish citizen during a service at the Santa Maria Church in the Sariyer district of the city on Sunday.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack on Telegram, saying that it was part of its leader’s call to kill Jews and Christians everywhere.

Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya had previously stated that the attackers came from Tajikistan and Russia.

Highlighting the ongoing comprehensive judicial investigation, Tunc mentioned that nine of the suspects have been released under judicial control conditions.

Turkish security forces had detained 51 suspects in connection with the attack, the Demiroren News Agency reported on Monday.

The Attack

On January 28, 2024, at around 11:40 a.m. TRT (8:40 GMT), two masked gunmen entered the church during Sunday Mass and began shooting, killing one person and injuring another.

The attackers were reported to have driven to church using a car that had been brought from Poland the previous year and had not been used until then.

Security footage taken before the attack showed the gunmen, one of whom was wearing sunglasses, wearing black ski masks while concealing their hands in their pockets.

The suspected attackers were arrested by police while fleeing the church.