By Ercan Canpolat
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey on Wednesday criticized Denmark’s decision to reject the extradition of an alleged collaborator in the Istanbul New Year’s nightclub attack and release him without charges.
"Denmark’s decision to reject Turkey’s request on the basis of unfounded claims regarding the extradition of this individual -- who is suspected of being directly related to the terror attack where 39 people from various nationalities were killed -- is a blow to international efforts in the fight against terrorism," said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement late Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Danish police said in a statement that Ibrahimjon Asparov, 42, was released after being held since July.
The statement said the Uzbek-origin suspect had been held due to an extradition request by Turkey, but the request was turned down and he faced no charges in Denmark.
The foreign ministry said the decision to reject Turkey’s extradition request and release Asparov was a "violation of the UN decisions related to countering Daesh”.
"In the context of measures against foreign terrorist fighters and in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Republic of Turkey has so far deported 5,217 foreigners who were suspected of being related to the conflict zones.
"As the result of ongoing operations, 8,447 Daesh, El-Nusra and Al-Qaida affiliated individuals, including 3,831 foreigners, have been detained and 2,946 Daesh, El-Nusra and Al Qaida affiliated individuals are under arrest. As such, all parties should act with the same determination," the statement added.
At Turkey’s request, Asparov was detained on June 29, in southeastern Jutland with the help of Danish intelligence. He was later released but was again taken into custody on July 20.
Asparov is accused of supplying weapons and ammunition to Abdulgadir Masharipov, the main suspect in the Reina nightclub attack.
At least 39 people, including a police officer, were killed when a gunman opened fire on partygoers at the nightclub in Istanbul’s Ortakoy district in the early hours of Jan. 1 this year.
On Jan. 16, Masharipov was captured by police in Istanbul's Esenyurt district.
Four other suspects, including a man of Kyrgyz origin and three women, were also detained.