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Iran Press TV

Russian envoy's murder blow to Turkey's prestige: Kremlin

Iran Press TV

Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:20PM

The Kremlin says the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Ankara is a serious blow to the image of Turkey, whose government is said to have gambled on the conflict in Syria by supporting anti-Damascus militants.

"This is certainly a blow to the country's prestige," Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on Wednesday.

The Russian ambassador, Andrei Karlov, was killed during the opening of a photo exhibition at a gallery in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Monday. The assassin, off-duty policeman, Mevlut Mert Altintas, was shot dead at the scene.

Following the murder, the cop shouted in Turkish and Arabic, "Don't forget Aleppo, don't forget Syria."

Elsewhere in his remarks, Peskov said Moscow does not believe that the gunman acted on his own, without elaborating on the reasons behind the suspicion.

"We shouldn't rush with any theories before the investigators establish who were behind the assassination of our ambassador," he said.

An unidentified Turkish government official also confirmed that it was unlikely Altintas acted alone as the killing had all the marks of being "fully professional, not a one-man action."

Meanwhile, Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet, identified the assailant as a member of the team providing security for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Moreover, the Jordan-based al-Bawaba news and media website reported that the Takfiri Jabhat Fateh al-Sham militant group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told US Secretary of State John Kerry in a Tuesday phone call that Ankara and Moscow believe a movement led by opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen was behind the incident, according to ministry sources.

Being asked about the assertion, the Kremlin spokesman, however, said it was too early to draw any conclusions about who may have orchestrated the murder.

"We need to wait for the results of the joint investigative group," Peskov said, adding, "It is really not worth rushing to any conclusions."

This is while Russian and Turkish investigators are conducting a probe into the killing.

Memorial held in Istanbul

Separately on Wednesday, the Russian consulate in Istanbul held a memorial for the Russian envoy, whose body envoy was returned home.

The Kremlin website said Russian President Vladimir Putin had posthumously given the ambassador the Hero of Russia award, the country's highest military medal.

Russia and Turkey have been supporting the opposite sides to the conflict in Syria over the past years. However, the two countries have recently stepped up cooperation to resolve the crisis in the Arab country.

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