Russian ambassador’s assassination not to cause second crisis in bilateral relations – Armenian expert

13:30 • 20.12.16



In an interview with Tert.am, expert in Turkic studies Levon Hovsepyan commented on the assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov and spoke of geopolitical or domestic traces.

Mr Hovsepyan, is the Russian ambassador’s public assassination by an off-duty member of the Ankara special forces police department a political assassination, with political messages?

It was an extremely dangerous, and, I can say, unprecedented event, which can be viewed in several respects. First, we should not forget that the recent period, especially in the context of the situation in Aleppo, has seen rather strong anti-Russian sentiments in Turkey. And, to an extent, the same pro-governmental media outlets played their role in forming an anti-Russian atmosphere.

He shouted ‘Allahu akbar [God is great]’ and assassinated the ambassador in public. Does it mean it was a political assassination?

Of course, if we consider certain facts, the time of the crime is no coincidence, especially in the context of the motto of the art exhibition. It was similar to an assassination prior to a meeting of the Russian, Iranian and Turkish FMs in Moscow. That is, certain facts show that, in terms of time, it was a message. It has just to be found out who are the masterminds behind that crime.

The assassin is an off-duty police officer allegedly linked to Turkey’s failed coup in July, which could suggest that the United States could be a sponsor of the assassination as well. In defiance of Turkey’s demands, the US will not extradite Fethullah Gulen.

The assassin being a police officer has been officially confirmed. And in this context we have to admit that officers with radical religious views constitute a large number in Turkey’s police and other security agencies. So if we consider the incident in the context of general logic in Turkey, it is natural for a policeman to be with radical Islamic views. On the other hand, it is clear that the authorities will primarily attack Gulen’s supporters, which has actually happened. Media outlets have started finding links. And Turkish authorities will naturally make primary use of this factor.

But the United States is behind what is thought to be a Gulenist factor. As the country won’t extradite Gulen.

Yes, we heard speculations of the kind from non-official sources saying that the person in question was a representative of the Gulenist circles. Hence, it was the United States’ response to the Russia-Turkey rapprochement and so on and so forth. That was being circulated in the Turkish media.

Can the assassination then be viewed as revenge upon Russia over the Syria issue?

What happened in Aleppo and what is going on to date evoked a rather violent counter-reaction by certain circles in Turkey, meantime essentially raising the public and anti-Russian sentiments. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t ever forget about the radically-oriented class in the Turkish society (with radical views and extremist approaches), of which the policeman in question might have been a representative.

Do you expect deterioration in the Russia-Turkey relations?

There aren’t any grounds to expect the Russia-Turkey relations to enter into a new round of row in connection with this incident. I don’t think there will be a second crisis. This isn’t expected to have any influence given that both Russia and Turkey (which are in intensive contacts) have mutually characterized [the incident] as a terrorist act directed against Russia, Turkey and the Russia-Turkey relations. And they mutually expressed a firm desire to develop closer relations in the fight against terrorism. 





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