Andrei Baklanov: "We must strengthen anti-terrorist cooperation with Turkey"

Yesterday, during the opening of photo exhibition in Ankara, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was killed by shot in the back. Both Moscow and Ankara have condemned this act of international terrorism, stressing that they will strengthen cooperation in the fight against terror. Deputy chairman of the Association of Russian Diplomats Andrei Baklanov discussed causes and effects of the first assassination of ambassador in the history of modern Russia in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.

- Who will benefit from this terrible crime?

- I think the fact that this attack was prepared and carried out yesterday is no coincidence: this large-scale event is associated with new developments in Russian-Turkish relations in terms of talks on Syria and fight against terrorism. It is known that Turkish side has provided some assistance, worked with us to overcome difficult situation in Aleppo. In addition, right now the possibility of replacing negotiating platforms on Syria that existed in previous 3-4 years is being considered, since they did not work as planned, giving rise to attempts of some Syrian groups to usurp the peace talks format. Now, as I understand it, we will try to create a new format, perhaps in Astana, as President Putin proposed, and there is a very significant role of Turkey here, too. 

In this connection, I believe that this terrorist act was planned to cause a discord between Russia and Turkey, since it will prevent further rapprochement of the two countries. This rapprochement is extremely disturbing for the international terrorism because it can lead to significant changes in both operational situation in the region and in the fight against terrorism in general. If we cooperate with Turkey and they will put aside their rather ambiguous position, which existed in the last 2-3 years, there will be a qualitatively new situation, much more favorable for us and less favorable for militants. That is why this crime was carried out: to prevent strengthening of Russian-Turkish anti-terrorist front. 

- How will it affect relations between Russia and Turkey?

- I think we must act exactly opposite to criminal plans of organizers of this terrorist act. They wanted us to fight and stop cooperation on the anti-terrorist front, which means that despite such bloody incidents, it is necessary to act based on our national interests, interests of the fight against international terrorism, and strengthen anti-terrorist cooperation where it is possible, including with Turkey.

- How will Moscow react on the first assassination of ambassador in the history of modern Russia?

- We must carry out a thorough investigation. This is just a discussion, we need investigation, which would be based on facts, and then we must punish all guilty for this crime. At the same time, it is necessary to improve in other directions: strengthen physical and others securities of our diplomatic missions. It is necessary to analyze whether we are doing everything in order to constantly be on guard organizationally, technically and morally. It is necessary to additionally work with our foreign teams, and most importantly - prevent such acts of terrorism, which requires national efforts, hard work on organization of cooperation between all countries where it can be useful. 

Terrorist threat continues to grow in recent years, up to the creation of Daesh terrorist group (banned in Russia), which is completely beyond belief. No one could imagine this even in wartime, that a time will come when medieval bandit state will be established in the territory of two independent states. It shows helplessness of the international community, it is a shame for all of us and it can't be tolerated. But in order to fight against it we must resume cooperation through the Security Council, at least at a minimum level, with the adoption of coordinated, competent decisions. 

We had this cooperation in the early 2000s, we had joint working groups with largest western countries and a number of Middle Eastern countries. But then, unfortunately, around 2010-2012, these working groups basically stopped their work and our cooperation on the anti-terrorist front disappeared altogether, Russia is no longer part of the G8. But this policy does not correspond to current historical moment. Moreover, we can say that all kinds of sanctions and pressure on us, imposed by the West, helps terrorists and is a continuation of terrorist activity - it's just another side of it. It must end. Europe should elect leaders of new generation, who would look at the situation more soberly. 

How can we discuss anything with Merkel, if she continues to sing this irresponsible song of sanctions? I think we must gradually change our relation to this kind of political dinosaurs, turn away from them. Our position towards this kind of people and their policy must be more strict, since they hinder the fight against terrorism and the lives of their own countries, because they lead them from one disaster to another. 

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