The Karlov assassination: Who’s responsible, and what it all means

Cenk Uygur, who is Turkish himself, breaks down what happened in Ankara two days ago. Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov was gunned down during a presentation at an art gallery by an off-duty riot policeman, who had disguised himself as a member of Karlov’s security team, then shouted “Allahu akbar” and “Don’t forget Aleppo”, among other things. The assassin swore that he wasn’t going to be taken alive, and sure enough, he wasn’t. The actual security forces at the scene eventually “neutralized” him.

It now appears that the assassin was connected to a putschist faction led by a self-exiled cleric currently living in Pennsylvania, who is also considered to be responsible for last summer’s failed coup attempt. The police training centre in Izmir (Gülen’s hometown), where the assassin was taught and trained, is known as a hotbed of Gülenist fanatics, as well. Apparently these fanatics have now also aligned with Daesh, and/or other “Islamist” factions of the Syrian insurgency, who were defeated in Aleppo by Russian and Syrian-government forces.

All of this occurs at a critical (and very tense) juncture in Russian-Turkish relations: Erdogan and Putin have been in conflict over Syria before, and the Turks shot down a Russian fighter jet in November, 2015. Ambassador Karlov, an experienced and adroit diplomat, played a key role here: after initially criticizing the Turkish government’s actions, he de-escalated that particular conflict and got both sides talking again. It was his timely intervention, aimed at preventing all-out war between Russia and Turkey, that made Karlov a marked man.

There is also the question of whether Erdogan and his family have been materially supporting Daesh by furnishing money and weapons, and enabling those terrorist bandits to transport and sell oil illegally. (Correction: There is actual evidence pointing to this, which the English-speaking mainstream media have been oddly reluctant to address — or maybe not so oddly, given that their agenda appears to be “oppose Russia and the government of Syria at all costs”.)

This incident is clearly aimed at creating a permanent rupture between Russia and Turkey. So far, it seems to have failed in its objective. Let’s hope so, because World War III is the last thing any thinking person should want.

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