Boston bombings suspect spent 10 days in Turkey: Interior minister

Boston bombings suspect spent 10 days in Turkey: Interior minister

ISTANBUL – Anatolia News Agency
Boston bombings suspect spent 10 days in Turkey: Interior minister

Boston bombings suspect 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev (R) stayed in Turkey for 10 days in 2003, Turkish Interior Minister said. FBI HANDOUT / REUTERS

One of the Boston Marathon bombings suspects spent 10 days in Turkey in July 2003, Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Güler told reporters April 19. 
Earlier, Boston police identified the suspects as two brothers of Chechen origin from Russia's Dagestan region, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The elder Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout while the younger brother was caught April 19 after a day-long manhunt with Boston police deploying a huge effort to find him.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev proceeded through Turkish customs with a Kazakh passport on July 9, 2003, accompanied by three other people who have the same surname and exited from Ankara on July 19, 2003, the minister said.
“We think that they [came] as a family. They don’t have any connection with Turkey,” Güler said. The other three people were identified as Bela Tsarnaev, born in 1987, Aleyna Tsarnaev, born in 1990, and Maret Tsarnaev, born in 1967, Güler said, adding that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev did not come to Turkey. 
Güler strongly denied earlier reports claiming that the bombers had traveled to the United States from Turkey. “Some American TV or Internet reports [suggested that the Tsarnaev brothers] lived in Turkey and traveled to the United States from here. This is not accurate,” he said. 
Güler also emphasized that Turkish security officials had shared all the information in their possession with the FBI.
Three people died and 180 people were wounded during the twin attacks that took place during the annual Boston Marathon race on April 15.

Suspect went to Russia: Officials

U.S. Government officials say Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev traveled to Russia last year and returned to the U.S. six months later, the Associated Press reported.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they couldn't publicly talk about an investigation in progress. One says Tsarnaev traveled out of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

A true Angel: Father

Meanwhile, the father of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing described his fugitive son as a smart and accomplished "angel" in an interview with AP. 

"My son is a true angel," said the elder Tsarnaev . He said his son was "an intelligent boy" who was studying medicine. We expected him to come on holidays here," he said.

"They were set up, they were set up!" he exclaimed. "I saw it on television; they killed my older son Tamerlan."

Ruslan Tsarni, an uncle of the suspects who lives in Maryland, said he was "ashamed" of their alleged involvement in the bombings.

Aunt dismisses claims

However, the aunt of the suspects told CNN she did not believe that her nephews were the perpetrators of the marathon bombings. 

"What century are we living in? We need evidence. Otherwise you can go shoot anyone like a chicken on the street," Maret Tsarnaeva said. "You have to have a motive first. Something that would drive you through some actions. They cannot go crazy or mad or sick just for one day. As far as I know them they are fine."

She added that Tamerlan Tsarnaev has a daughter.

"Tamerlan has his daughter, above the age of that little boy who died there. Why would he think that this daughter's life is worth more than that little boy's life that died there?" she exclaimed. 

The sister of the suspects, Alina Tsarnaeva, has released a statement also expressing her disbelief.

"They were great people. I never would have expected it. They are smart – I don't now what's gotten into them," the statement read.