On orders from the Kremlin, Russian agents have been liquidating Chechen terrorists abroad. Turkish investigators suspect that a Russian was also behind the latest killings, the recent murder of three Chechens in Istanbul. Some believe the operations are being planned from Berlin.
The memorial service high above the Bosporus went far beyond what is usual at the funeral of terror suspects. Several thousand people turned up at the mosque, built by Sultan Mehmet, the conqueror of Constantinople, to mourn the deaths of three Chechens. A man wielding a pistol had shot the men from Russia's rebellious northern Caucasus region on Sept. 16 as they left a house in the European part of Istanbul.
The killer fled in a black rental car. Last week, he managed to evade Turkish investigators who had tracked him down to his hotel, but he was in such a hurry that he left behind his pistol, a night-vision device and passports. The Turks are now looking for a 55-year-old Russian who entered Turkey in early September under the name Alexander Shirkov.