On the evening of Oct. 3, two Tunisian citizens were detained at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport as they tried to enter Turkey with false passports. On Oct. 4, a ‘breaking news’ special report by the Turkish news channel Kanal D claimed that the two Tunisian citizens (aged 30-35) were on the list of persons wanted for killing the US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. Since then, conflicting reports have emerged in the Turkish media and it is still unclear whether both men are being held, both are being deported, or, as one newspaper reports, one detainee has been deported and the other jailed in Turkey for a separate crime.
Reports on Oct. 5 offered further details, some of them conflicting. One report claimed that the two suspects’ names had been on a list that the CIA had provided to the intelligence agencies of Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. According to the report, these intelligence units had then passed the names to their border units. In Turkey, the CIA had informed the Turkish Central Intelligence Agency (MIT) and the Turkish Police Department. As the two Tunisians tried to enter Turkey, their names coincided with those on the list. The two were taken to the Istanbul Anti-Terror Unit and interrogated, and a comprehensive investigation had been started on whom they planned to meet in Turkey, the report concluded.
Another Oct. 5 report claimed that the Istanbul Police Department denied that the two Tunisians were arrested as suspects in the murder of the ambassador. Similarly, another newspaper claimed that Istanbul security had denied that the two men were linked to Ambassador Stevens’ murder, and claimed that the two men were detained for using fake passports and were being deported.
On Oct. 6, a newspaper reported that the two Tunisians were found not to be linked to the murder of Ambassador Stevens. The Tunisian detainee with the initials A.O. was allegedly jailed; while the other, with the initials J.B., was released and deported to his country. No information was given about the reason for A.O’s imprisonment.