Turkey gets Russia's help in fighting terrorism after airport attack

 Turkey and Russia agreed to collaborate in the fight against terrorism on Friday, days after several dozen people were killed in a terrorist attack at an airport in Istanbul.

The attack, at Ataturk Airport, is believed to have been perpetrated by several men from the former Soviet Union, including one Russian, and has been linked to the terrorist organization Islamic State.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu agreed to resume collaboration in counterterrorism activities at a meeting in the southern Russian city of Sochi, state news agency TASS reported.

Turkey and Russia have "have set up a bilateral working group on combating terrorism. Over the past seven months, its work has been frozen for obvious reasons, but today we agreed to resume it," Lavrov was quoted as saying.

The attack was reportedly planned by Akhmed Chatayev, a well-known terrorist from Russia's North Caucasus region, who coordinated three suicide bombers at the Istanbul international airport, said US Congressman Michael McCaul, the head of the homeland security committee in the lower House of Representatives.

McCaul is briefed on intelligence matters by US officials and told CNN that the information originated with Turkish intelligence officials.

About seven months ago, the countries' previously robust relations were severely frayed when the Turkish military shot down a Russian warplane at the Syrian border on the allegation that it violated Turkish airspace. Russia has adamantly denied that allegation.

Relations began to improve this week when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a message apologizing to the family of the deceased pilot and calling for the countries to rebuild their ties and collaborate in the fight against terrorism.

Meanwhile, the number of Afghan casualties in the airport attack has risen from four to six, Afghan news website Pajhwok reported late on Thursday, citing the Afghan General Consulate in Istanbul.

Last update: Fri, 01/07/2016 - 18:33
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