Turkish Cop Assassinates Russian Ambassador ‘For Aleppo’

NATO Offers 'Condolences' for Death of Russian Envoy on NATO Soil

Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was assassinated today in the Turkish capital city of Ankara while attending an event at the Ankara Center for Contemporary Art. The killer was identified as Mevlut Mert Altintas, an active member of the Ankara Police Department. Three bystanders were also wounded.

A number of reporters were on scene covering the incident, and a number of photos and video reportedly exists of the assassination. Ambassador Karlov was in the middle of giving a speech when Altintas, who was standing behind him, shot him five times in the back.

The gunman apparently used his police ID to bypass security, but was shot and killed by other police after the assassination. The attacker shouted after the shooting that it was “revenge for Syria and Aleppo.”

While Syria’s Civil War has been a source of acrimony between Turkey and Russia for several years, including a late 2015 incident in which Turkey shot down a Russian warplane over Syrian airspace along the border. The two countries had more recently been trying to improve ties, though clearly this puts a damper on that.

Karlov is the first Russian Ambassador killed anywhere in the world since 1829, when well-known playwright Alexander Griboyedov, then Russian Ambassador to Iran, was killed along with his entire embassy staff when an angry mob stormed the building.

While that was a big deal at the time, backdropped by the Great Game efforts by Britain and Russia to establish greater control over Central Asia, today’s incident is potentially a much bigger deal, as Turkey is a NATO member nation.

Having the Russian Ambassador to a NATO state being assassinated in that nation’s capital city by a member of that nation’s police force looks really bad, particularly given the current level of NATO hostility toward Russia, which itself centers on the same rhetoric around Aleppo.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was not particularly vocal about the incident, however, simply offering “condolences” and insisting that there was “no justification” for killing the Russian Ambassador. US Secretary of State John Kerry also offered assistance in investigating the assassination.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is scheduled to visit Moscow tomorrow for Syria talks, and indications at this point are that the talks will go ahead as planned, though clearly this is going to cast a big shadow over the proceedings.

Turkish officials are also trying to downplay the whole “policeman” part of the assassination, with state media reporters claiming he used an al-Qaeda slogan, a subtle distinction since al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front is backed by Turkey, particularly in Aleppo.

Ankara’s mayor also claimed there was evidence the assassin was in league with the Gulenist movement, though as usual he offered no evidence to this claim, and given the scope of Turkey’s purge of anyone with even suspected Gulenist ties in all aspects of society over the past six months, it’s hard to believe a policeman slipped through the cracks.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • Tuyzentfloot

    Ankara’s mayor also claimed there was evidence the assassin was in
    league with the Gulenist movement, though as usual he offered no
    evidence to this claim, and given the scope of Turkey’s purge of anyone
    with even suspected Gulenist ties in all aspects of society over the
    past six months, it’s hard to believe a policeman slipped through the
    cracks.

    Neither of these claims seems credible to me. The first is a gratuitous link to Gulen. The second is speculation. I think purges are extremely wasteful and haphazard: an awful lot of false positives, and still quite some false negatives. Especially when action is taken on short notice and they have to go with whatever lists they have. And then people have to be replaced. I mean, replacing tens of thousands of people. Sounds like a golden opportunity to sneak in more of ‘your’ people , whatever that affiliation is.
    What’s pretty likely is that most of the ‘careerist’ Gulenists, those who were simply taking opportunity of the career network and didn’t see much reason to hide it, these have been eliminated. But of course what danger did these pose to the state ? Incompetence?

    • lemur

      Or maybe competence.

    • Bianca

      Sometimes we do “Hilary” without realizing it. We focus on the bad people who are attacking him maliciously without any reason and question the absolute sainthood of the cleric, Gulen — but never do we actually focus on him, his person, his income, his work, and his goals. So, let us talk about him.
      A so called “moderate” cleric Gulen, has been under US protection for years. Prior to the July coup attempt in Turkey, there was an investigative article done by Washington Times. The “moderate” cleric does not want to share what is his immigration status, nor his marital status. He is at the center of a network of various institutions, mostly educational. Schools, colleges, universities, religious seminaries. Also, he is a media mogul, sponsor of various professional associations, such as judges, police, military, etc. Now, one must ask a question, where is the money coming from. And second question to ask, what is the catch? First is hard to answer, even though some data is available. Schools make income. EXIBIT NUMBER ONE. US system of charter schools. Privatized public schools are then put under the management of private sector, and the process for getting the license is announced. Gulen Foundation either directly or with other partners is running OVER ONE HUNDRED CHARTER SCHOOLS, and making the money from the public funds being allocated to charter school. In Texas alone, he is running forty. And all this by a man who has only elementary education.
      The catch? People do try to get jobs through his network, as they can for example get a job with US schools. He gets Turkish teachers and administrators in addition to American. Same is true of his similar enterprises in Europe and Asia. His theological institutions are borderline fanatical, with the limitation of sleep, and long hours of work. A story on the topic was published in Germany, where some of activities were looked into. The catch is — raising entire groups of people to influence media, schools system, police, judiciary, prosecutors and military. The objective is to create a class of people that would feel superior to their less westernized kinsmen, and this group would associate themselves with Western “values”, or plain put, support Western policies and actions. The objective is also to create a form of Islam more suited to Europe. This is where Gulen and Soros have common objectives,. with Soros mostly working with more liberal segments of society, spouting universal human rights, rights of refugees, no borders, etc.
      But Gulen has been very helpful to Syrian “opposition”, smuggling arms to various groups in Syria. Russia has identified two such humanitarian groups involved in arms smuggling.
      It is NOT TRUE that Turkey has been arming Al-Nusra. Turkey has been arming and helping various groups along Turkish border that were attacked by Kurds. Contrary to popular opinion Kurdish groups have not been nice and wholesome. They took advantage of the inability of Syrian Army to control the border region, and engaged in ethnic cleansing of their own, to have as many villages and townships under Kurdish control, in effort to create a contiguous area between Afrin and Kobani Kurdish areas. Turkey has helped arm Turkmen — who were mostly displaced — and other Syrians that were fighting Kurds. But Gulen tried to OUTDO Turkey, and had sponsored Turkmen to make a point — that their own country is not doing enough. Gulen used ALL OF HIS NETWORKS IN ALL PROFESSIONS TO ARGUE THAT TURKEY MUST MAKE ASSAD GO. If you add to this, the pressure from the pro-NATO Republican Party — Turkey was pushed in two directions. The ordinary people dislike West and especially US, after the many bloody experiences in the eighties and the nineties. And the business people were pushing for stronger Turkish involvement in Russia, in both energy, construction, and retail field. But Gulen movement, and its vast network of people who hardly understood how they were used, pushed for EU membership, while business and most ordinary people wanted stronger ties with Russia, China and Iran., He sponsored also Bosnian strongmen, Izetbegovic, in order to fashion him after his own image of Westernized Moslem. Oxford even hosted Izetbegovic helping him with a book to propagate the idea od modern Islam. Never mind, that his own Bosnia has never come to grips with the head chopping orgy in the Bosnian war, with victims as per usual, portrayed as villains.
      Turkey is going to have a hard time with Gulen and his indoctrination. The only parallel I can remember is the Trotskyite penetration of the Russian state systems, and the bitter battle with Stalin for the control of the state. Trotsky had major foreign sponsors, and all the sympathies were with him in the West. This is why Stalin ended being demonized. But without that counter revolution, the international-loving Trotsky would have cost Russia a war. He was convinced that Germany was going to become a communist state, and thus, no need for alarm. Turkey is currently in the same dilemma — mind your own national interest and security, or follow globalist agenda. The more Turkey moves away from the globalist agenda, the more it becomes a target. And, as per the typical wall-o-villain Western gallery, Erdogan has been added to that wall. Increased terrorist attacks are par for the course for any country that is trying to steer its policy according to their national interest. At present, Turkey and Russia and planning a meeting in Kazakhstan to bring together opposition — non terrorist — and Assad government to talk political transition. This is as they say a “supplement” to Geneva, but as I see it, it is a replacement to Geneva.
      Also, Al-Nusra has been financed and armed by CIA for years. All the arming and training that US did, was meant for Al-Qaeda. In fact, General Petraeus open that can of warms in a Congressional hearning, with casually saying that US might consider arming Al-Nusra. Naturally, it was received badly — but he did what he wanted, letting them know that this is already the fact on the ground.
      The issue of Kurds and Kurdish state is still an explosive one. This administration is HELL BENT to create the state before Trump takes office, because he is not inclined to do state building, and creating another trip wire in the Middle East.

      • Tuyzentfloot

        Frankly I think Turkey has played the largest role in supporting all kinds of rebel factions, even when it’s only by providing transfer of arms paid for by gulf states, and transfer of whatever. Without Turkey the trafficking would have been a lot harder.
        And they don’t have to deliver arms directly to Al Nusra either. Al Nusra has a lot of ‘peripheral’ militias that provide them with weaponry.
        And the idea that it’s all Gulen behind helping syrian opposition? I have no idea what that’s based on. There is a lot of sympathy for the syrian opposition. It’s not restricted to Gulenists.

        I can completely agree that Erdogan has not being treated fairly by western public opinion, and that a rosy picture has been made of his opponents. And it would be useful to correct that but I wouldn’t want to overshoot in the other direction either.

  • Frank Discussion

    Krasnaya Zvezda is calling this a US hit in retaliation for perceived Russian Hacking.. the story ended with “God help the americans”…

    • lemur

      Maybe, but that sounds really convoluted.

      • Frank Discussion

        Nothing convoluted at all.. in fact, it is very concise.

  • lemur

    “Ankara’s mayor also claimed there was evidence the assassin was in league with the Gulenist movement”

    Someone is out to capture the “most sycophantic public figure 2016” award. There is still time…

  • SEAN THOMAS

    Obama vowed retaliation for Russia hacking the election.

  • Bianca

    And quite appropriately, his Al-Nusra rant has not been highlighted. In fact, his Al-Nusra slogans were delivered in Arabic, even though he is a Turkish national. Here is a perfect example of Gulenist brainwashing. Trying to portray West as good, fighting against evil infidel Shia Assad.
    If Europe and US boneheaded leadership THINK they are getting these brainwashed cults on THEIR side, so they will not terrorize West, they are laughably wrong. West is feeding a snake, and the snake is a snake. It will bite. The West that does NOT want to differentiate between the normal, pious people of Islam, and Islamic cults — will pay for it, unless the new administration changes the course, and rapidly. The first order of business, is to defeat them militarily where they took territory and hold population hostage. At the same time, put an absolute end to all forms of financing and other assistance by Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states and US government — to all Islamic cults. How do you know them? They are terrorists. TERRORIST IS WHAT TERRORIST DOES. Nobody is judged by their religion — there is no thought police. But, cults that openly advocate violence, object to any form of secular state authority, and/or practice the cruelty over civilian population what is contrary to the tenets of Islam — are terrorist cults. Such cults need to be stopped, education started on all levers, and in all countries affected by terrorism. Education systems, and the Islamic communities can be of tremendous help in identifying cult behaviors, helping craft programs aimed at children and young adults, helping with understanding the horrors of these cults, and examples of those that joined and what happened to them. This at this point the Islamic cults are is a wide spread problem, and no amount of West being “nice” to terrorists, and joining them in their call that infidel Assad “must go” will cure it. Trying to solve this problem with bureaucratic means, doing a bit of divide and conquer — will not do.
    I support Erdogan’s battle with Gulen network, as the brainwashing must stop. He is no different then head-chopping cults — as he still asks of his followers the oath of loyalty. Yes, we all want to find a nice job — but we need to know what we are signing up for, as well. I believe that common sense will prevail in the end, and that innocents will not suffer. Being stupid is not a defense, however. And most people had AMPLE time to learn a lot about the “moderante” cleric. Back in the days, he was the mastermind behind spreading “religion” and “rebellion” in Chechnya. Russia issued a formal complaint against him to Turkey. Russia has long time ago banned his institutions, so did Uzbekistan. But in Turkey, he is still a factor, and “his” money still keeps pouring in.
    Let us hope this will be addressed with the new administration that is very clear headed when it comes to terrorism. I do not think Trump’s administration will object to taking terrorism seriously, not only when something bad happens.

    • lemur

      Who gives a f*ck about Gulenists? Are they even important outside of Erdogan’s paranoia-fuelled Greater-Turkey aspiring mind, a nive “Emmanuel Goldstein” for his reign of terror? They didn’t even make the pages before “the coup”, suddenly they are “a factor”. I don’t think so.

      • Dracaveli

        Gulenist I suspect has about as much support as chalabi claimed he did in Iraq…Foreigners believe it…But in the end no Iraqi Shiite cared about chalabi. He was able to milk America for $ before his death though…Guess that’s what this “self imposed” turkish exile paid by foreign backers is doing.

      • Tuyzentfloot

        No that just means you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        This could be an introduction: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/Default.aspx?PageID=238&NID=102173&NewsCatID=548

  • Brockland A.T.

    No sign of a head shot. A bullet proof vest might have saved him, though at such close range the impact of seven hits could be fatal.

    Seems Erdogan forgot the Western-inspired Jihadis have it in for him as well, not just Gulenists and the U.S./NATO.

    There’s also years of Turkish propaganda treating Russia as the enemy according to Luke Harding of the The Guardian. This was before the Syrian war.

    Its not clear what role Andrei Karlov had in warning Erodgan of the impending coup against him, though one assumes he was a pivotal figure.

    Even Trudeau of Canada has been publicized as being critical of the assassination; often a prolonged silence accompanies a Western ‘score’. Whatever the real reason, this is a tragic murder.

    • Dracaveli

      I doubt if you could convince diplomats to wear body armor… Especially those really dedicated to their job.

      It’s not like they want war..Recall the Japanese ambassador right up to the Pearl harbor attack. His own govt kept him in the dark.

      Diplomats are for the most part seeking out ways of peace if not than a framework for a chance at understanding… Molotov after all did go to Germany and meet Hitler before the war started.

      He was paranoid and ordered all his glasses boiled before he was served.. but I doubt wearing body armor looking like a swat team member will be a diplomats style of choice in a nation he/she is trying to be friendly with.

      • Brockland A.T.

        Concealed body armour is effective against small arms and invisible under formal clothing. Ideals have little to do with practical safety.

        Looking at the pictures – which are apparently real… Karlov doesn’t look like an unarmoured person who’s been shot seven times. Seven 9mm hits at close range, at least a few rounds would go right through and immediately leave a mess. Karlov just looks like he slipped and fell down onto a spotless floor in a spotless room. The result would be the same; potentially one layer breached and certainly extreme blunt force trauma.

        If this was a D.S. planned hit, it was well done; a trained assassin planted into a police force would never pass up the head shot. An excited amateur, especially a rogue cop who has never shot anyone before, trained to aim for the centre of mass, would go for body shots.

        All that violence on the same day as Trumps EC win. Makes one wonder if someone’s sending a message that its going to be business as usual, Trump or no.

  • This is all very suspicious. There are very few coincidences in Turkey. This traces back to NATO somehow. Reminds me of GLADIO and all the sh*t we pulled over there in the ’70’s and ’80’s.

  • Bianca

    This is not too complicated. Al-Nusra fanatic — and those are supported by Gulen and
    Soros Foundation — are in the hightened stage of aggitation. US has always threatend Russia with Afghanistan style defeat at the hands of Al-Qaeda, promissing how Russians will be going back home in body bags. In Aleppo — caught are 12 and possibly 14 Al-Qaeda helpers, special ops from US, Israel, Turkey,Qatar, Marrocco and Saudi Arabia. Syrian authorities clearly had access to their ID — and are now turned over for evacuation with militants — as clearly their countries are disawoving their presence.

    As for the assertion of Russians fairing bad in Turkey — that is far from truth. For decades now polls are taken by US pollsters to track public opinion in Turkey. For yesrs, the number one enemy for Turkey is US — by a wide margin, ranging between 60 to 80% of responders. At the height of plane tension –Russia was listed at 20%. in all other yesrs about 8-10%. But the FRENTIC support of Al-Nusra by US and the West is encouraging the fanaticism and make them believe in themselves. Make them fhink that they canonot lose with West on their side. This is making life very difficult for Turkey. It must thread very carefully the islamic fundamentalists waters — not to find themselves in a situation like Syria. Who knows if the extremists are not already stashing arms on farms, in warehouses, or garages. West is now in the business of supporting armed terrorism anywhere a disobedient government steps out of line. Naturally this will not make terrorists love the West and spare its citizens from terror attacks. Will they ever let Trump take the reigns of power? They certainly behave like they will rule forever.