Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Russian Ambassador’s murder deepens fallout from Syrian war in Turkey

The assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey fits into a long tradition of political violence in a country where the fallout from the Syrian war is deepening the chaos. Turkey’s toxic combination of problems includes a Kurdish insurgency at home and state purges following a failed coup attempt in July, meaning the security situation will remain extremely tenuous for a while. While Russia and Turkey suspect the killer of ambassador Andrei Karlov was part of a wider conspiracy, the Turkish government has come under scrutiny for its tolerance – or sponsorship – of Islamist rebel groups in Syria in recent years that may have indirectly radicalised some young Turks. Whatever motivated gunman Mevlut Mert Altintas, an off-duty policeman killed by police after shooting Mr Karlov at a photo exhibition in Ankara on Monday, has not been confirmed. He shouted religious phrases and appeared to condemn Russian bombardments of rebel-held neighborhoods of Syria’s Aleppo city – the shooting followed protests by Turks who criticised Russia’s support for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed the movement of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen for the assassination, while Russia has said conclusions should be left to the investigators.



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