The funeral service for the murdered Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, will be held on Thursday, in Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
Karlov (62) was assassinated by former Turkish police officer, Mevlut Mert Altintas, while attending an art exhibition opening in Ankara.
Moscow has called the death of its ambassador a ‘terrorist act’ and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin said:
This murder is clearly a provocation aimed at undermining the improvement and normalization of Russian-Turkish relations, as well as undermining the peace process in Syria promoted by Russia, Turkey, Iran and other countries interested in settling the conflict in Syria.
Other Russian officials have openly linked Western governments with the killing of Russian ambassador to Turkey.
The former head of the foreign affairs committee of the Russian State Duma, Alexey Pushkov, said that the murder was the result of ‘political and media hysteria’ sown by the enemies of Moscow because of its involvement in the bombing of Aleppo.
Another Russian politician, senator, Frantz Klintsevich, was even more direct, stating that it was: ‘Highly likely that representatives of foreign NATO secret service are behind’ ambassador Karlov’s shooting.
It can be Isis, or the Kurdish army which tries to hurt Erdogan.
But may be – and it is highly likely – that representatives of foreign Nato secrets services are behind it.
What has happened is a true provocation, a challenge. It is a challenge for Russia.
Other Russian officials and high ranking government members believe that the murder of their ambassador is an attempt of Western governments to undermine Russo-Turkish relations. Putin himself has hinted that Karlov’s murder is a provocation aimed at derailing Russo-Turkish ties.
Russia and Turkey are rebuilding their relations after a crisis following the shooting of Russian jet by Turkish authorities in November last year.
Once one of the main opponents of the Assad regime in Damascus, Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has changed his rhetoric after his rapprochement with Russia.
Several sources close to Turkish authorities have accused the exiled Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gülen, is behind the murder. Gülen, currently living in the US, is blamed by the Turkish government for a July coup attempt against Erdogan’s regime.
Gülen has dismissed the allegations, but Turkey has repeatedly called for his extradition.
After the murder of the Russian ambassador, Turkey was quick to lay blame on supporters of Gülen.
Sinan Ülgen, a former Turkish diplomat said that,
This time around, there is no willingness on either side to escalate. On the contrary, first official statements tend to view this attack as an attempt to derail the ongoing rapprochement between Ankara and Moscow.
Circles in the Erdogan regime share Moscow’s suspicion of a possible foreign conspiracy to undermine Russo-Turkish relations.
Following the July coup attempt, the relations between the West and Turkey have cooled significantly. The murder of the Russian ambassador may well be one more reason for Putin and Erdogan to extend their cooperation. Despite their rocky relationship history, both leaders share an animosity towards the West and could use the event as an opportunity to further antagonize Western leaders in Syria.