Organiser of Russian ambassador’s murder found
Turkey’s security forces have arrested a man who allegedly played a "key" role in the murder of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov, according to local media reports.
The suspect, identified with his initials V.K.A., was re-arrested for his involvement in the 2016 murder. He was earlier arrested for links to the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) of Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen, the Daily Sabah newspaper wrote.
Investigators say the suspect used ByLock, an encrypted messaging app. This app was exclusively used by the terrorist group during the attempted coup d’etat in July 2016, according to the paper.
An associate professor of the Faculty of International Relations of the TOBB University of Economics and Technology (Ankara), Togrul Ismail, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, said that the murder of the Russian ambassador was directed against the strengthening of Russian-Turkish relations. "When the murder happened, there was an active rapprochement between our states, which have restored relations after the crisis. The rapprochement was quite difficult, but confidence was restored between the state leaders by December. That's when Andrei Karlov was killed - a clear provocation to prevent Turkey and Russia from returning to the previous level of relations," he noted.
The expert also recalled the scope of the investigation against FETO. "This is a very large structure, which has indirect links to many people, at one time many of the members of the organization were in power. With every passing month new criminal moments and new motives for taking into custody or dismissal appear. I recall that over the past year about 48 thousands of people were arrested. This year, a state of emergency was extended in the country for civil servants again to restrict their movement abroad. Of course, there are people affected by inspections, who have nothing to do with FETO, but the authorities are working on this issue," Togrul Ismail said.
Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was shot dead in December 2016 while he was delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of a photo exhibition in Ankara. The attacker, police officer Mevlut Mert Altintas, was killed.
Russia's Foreign Ministry said Karlov’s murder was a terrorist attack. Russia’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal case into "the act of international terrorism." Karlov was awarded the honorary title of Hero of Russia posthumously.
Also as part of the investigation into Karlov's assassination, five people were arrested including three police officers, Guru Media Broadcast Group Chairman Hayreddin Aydınbaş and the organizer of an exhibition in Ankara, where a gunman assassinated Karlov, Mustafa Timur Özkan.