Turkey suspects Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen role in killing of Russian ambassador
Turkey suspects that the assassination of Russian envoy Andrei Karlov was inspired by a controversial US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.
Turkey suspects that the assassination of Russian envoy Andrei Karlov was inspired by controversial US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.
Turkish investigative agencies are focusing on possible links of the killing to the Gulen movement.
Andrei Karlov, Russian ambassador to Turkey, was shot dead by Mevlut Mert Altintas, a 22-year-old serving member of capital Ankara's riot police force at a photo exhibition in the capital.
Mevlut Mert Altintas shouted in Turkish, “Don't forget Aleppo! Don't forget Syria!" after killing Karlov. Altintas then yelled, “Only death will take me out of here. Anyone who has a role in this oppression will die one by one.”
Speaking to US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday, Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu claimed preacher Fethullah Gulen was behind the shooting. Gulen - a former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, currently lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, US as he is on Turkey’s most-wanted terrorist list.
However, Gulen released a statement on Monday condemning Altintas' shooting of Karlov. His statement included criticism of the Turkish government's mishandling of the country's security forces, including massive layoffs and imprisonment. He also urged Ankara to fix the lapses in security that led to the attack.
Turkey says that Gulen's supporters within the army carried out the failed coup of July 15, claiming that they have been running "a parallel state" within the civilian and military bureaucracy, and following their own agenda. Gulen denies the claims.
At least 290 people, including the plotters, were killed during the events of July 15. Tens of thousands of civilian and military state employees were sacked or detained after the incident in efforts to get rid of the followers of Gulen, seen as a terrorist organisation in Turkey.