NEWS ANALYSIS: Russian ambassador's murder might have consequences

Turkish police secure the area near an art gallery where the Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was shot, in Ankara. Reuters photo

 

I knew Andrey Karlov in person. The Russian ambassador to Ankara was from the old school, a Cold War warrior, who even served in North Korea. In the worst times of the Turkish-Russian crisis after Turkey downed a Russian plane on the Syrian border, Karlov did not lose his calm.

His last words before being shot by Turkish police officer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş in the back were "it is always easy to destroy, but difficult to construct" at the opening of a Turkish-Russian photograph exhibition in Ankara late on Dec. 19.

Before firing his pistol, the attacker shouted slogans at him about children being killed in Aleppo because of Russia in Turkish and broken Arabic (which sounded similar to al-Nusra rhetoric, but not exactly so according to some security analysts) and said, "Neither you nor me are going to leave here alive."

The police immediately sealed the building of the Arts and Culture Center belonging to the municipality of Ankara's Çankaya district and evacuated the civilians. This is supposed to be one of the places with the maximum security in Turkey. In a 50-meter radius, there are the U.S., German and Austrian embassies, the Ankara Chamber of Industry, the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), the Chief Prosecutor's Office of the Court of Appeals and the Russian Trade Office. It is near Atatürk Boulevard, where the prime minister passes every day, sometimes more than once, to go to his office.

But if you carry a police badge, like this young police officer, you do not have any difficulty in entering security areas. There are claims that he might be a member of the secret network of Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-resident Islamist preacher who is accused of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt, but then how on...

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