A court in Ankara sentenced five people to lifelong prison over the assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov. The judgment pointed out that the killing of Karlov was “a provocative action against Turkish-Russian ties.”
The court found Salih Yilmaz guilty of “ordering” Mevlut Mert Altintas to kill Karlov, sentencing Yilmaz to two life sentences. Sahin Sogut, deemed a “curator of the assassin”, received a similar sentence.
Three more defendants were sentenced to one lifetime in prison each for involvement in the assassination.
On Dec. 10, 2016, Ambassador Andrei Karlov was addressing people at an event in the Turkish capital Ankara, when he was shot dead by an off-duty police officer. The officer turned out to be linked to the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization (FETO), the group responsible for 2016’s failed coup in Turkey. The assassin – Mevlut Mert Altintas – was killed after the attack.
The background of the assassination
We asked United World International’s expert, Dr. Mehmet Perinçek, about Karlov’s assassination and its background:
“In order to understand the assassination of Andrei Karlov, it will be useful to briefly summarize the process up until November 15, 2015”, said Perinçek.
Perinçek described how the Turkish-Russian relations were heading towards a crucial cooperation. He stated the following:
“On November 15th 2015, Erdoğan and Putin held a meeting in Antalya, on occasion of the G-20 summit. At this meeting, Erdoğan said to Putin that the Turkish Army would launch an operation on Syrian territory. The Russian President has responded, by saying ‘we will look the other way’. Moscow had turned a green light on Turkey’s operation abroad.
As a matter fact, this would have meant the beginning the Astana process already in 2015. The two countries had agreed upon intervening in the so-called Kurdish corridor, rejecting the US position that wanted to establish such a corridor.
However, not even 10 days had passed over the agreement, when a Russian Su-24 fighter jet was shot down by FETO on November 24th 2015.
How was it possible that two countries, whose leaders 9 days before had agreed upon the Turkish Army’s intervention on Syrian territory, suddenly found themselves on the brink of a war? The bilateral consensus, which could change the course of the region, was sabotaged. Moreover, the cancellation of the agreement has turned Turkey and Russia to opposing sides of a very serious geopolitical fraction.”
Perinçek has published several books on history and the history of Russian-Turkish relations. His book on “Turkish-Soviet military Cooperation in the Caucasus: 1919 -1922” is about to be published in Turkey these days. Perinçek underlines the importance of bilateral relations between Ankara and Moscow in historical terms, stating:
“We have explained this many times. A conflict between Turkey and Russia has always led to negative results for both countries. It was always the West that has taken advantage of these bilateral conflicts. In fact, the Western plans on the region always depended on the successful provocation of these conflicts.
With the current provocation, Turkey would have been politically isolated; and Russia would step into Washington’s trap, engaging in the US project to ‘establish a new government in Turkey’.
At that time the Patriotic Party (Vatan Partisi -Turkey) has visited Moscow and warned Russian authorities, with positive result. The delegation described the US-plan to establish a new government in Turkey using FETO, and the Russian perspective has changed. This enabled the idea that a re-negotiation could be started, on the condition of an apology from Ankara. A view that has become dominant later on.
The relations have achieved complete recovery, when Ankara kept its promises and even removed Davutoglu from the Prime Minister’s office. The US answered with a coup attempt on July 15th, 2016. The attempt took place in Turkey but threatened the entire region. As a result of repelling this attempt successfully, the Turkish-Russian relations were deepened fast accelerated, and the consensus of November 2015 on Syria consensus was revived once more.
Downing of Russian jet and assasination of Ambassador serve same purpose
Perinçek emphasizes that the downing of the Russian jet and the assassination of the Russian Ambassador served the same purpose. And that both attempts failed.
“Although it was sabotaged with the fighter jet crisis, the Astana process has still begun, albeit delayed. The two countries needed each other. But the opposing front in the West did not give up easily. The assassination of Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Ankara, Andrei Karlov, was another attempt to sabotage this regional cooperation, which takes place outside of US initiative. However, the two countries’ approach to this event has also foiled this attempt.
In this respect, the assassination of Karlov and the downing of Russian jet were not only an attack against Russia. These two provocations targeted Turkey and Turkish sovereignty as well.
Ankara and Moscow must be aware of such provocative attempts of the West, and eliminate all circumstances that provide the basis for these provocations”, Perinçek concluded.
The statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry
On the other hand, Moscow expects that Turkey will share information about those who instigated and organized the assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement following the Turkish court’s verdict in the case pronounced on Tuesday.
“We expect that the Russian and Turkish investigative authorities will go ahead with tight cooperation, and that Ankara will promptly provide exhaustive information about the results and conclusions of the trial regarding the instigators and organizers of this terror attack,” the Ministry said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it had closely monitored the trial in Ankara.
“It is satisfactory that the Turkish law enforcement and judicial systems have at last pronounced their verdict regarding this tragic incident, which left a deep scar on the history of modern Russian-Turkish relations”, the Foreign Ministry’s statement runs.
“We appreciate the Turkish judiciary’s resolute condemnation of this terrorist attack, which claimed the life of an outstanding Russian diplomat. The development of bilateral ties in recent years is a reason enough to believe that they have coped with this dramatic, truly unprecedented test”, the Foreign Ministry said. As before, Moscow proceeds from the understanding that “a considerable share of responsibility for this crime is borne by certain circles, which on the eve of Karlov’s assassination had been artificially fanning an unfavorable climate in the mass media and social networks over Russia’s actions in Syria.”