Pro-gov’t media blame US, Gülen for assassination of Russian ambassador

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Turkey’s pro-government media outlets and journalists on Tuesday were quick to put the blame on the US and the faith-based Gülen movement for the murder of the Russian ambassador to Turkey by a police officer on Monday evening.

The gunman, Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, chanted Islamist slogans also used by radical terrorist organization the Al Nusra Front after he shot Karlov to death at an art gallery in Ankara.

Yet, many pro-government newspapers and columnists did not hesitate to label the gunman a member of “FETÖ,” a derogatory term the government coined to call the Gülen movement a terrorist organization, and also talked about the US role in the murder from their front pages on Tuesday.

The pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper announced the murder of the ambassador with a headline saying, “Great sabotage.” The daily said “The pro-FETÖ assassins of the CIA have been mobilized” in order to ruin Turkish-Russian relations.

“It is stated that the US has begun open attacks [against Turkey] over FETÖ,” said the daily.

“Assassination to friendship from vile FETÖ,” said the pro-government Sabah daily in the headline of its main story on Tuesday. The daily said dirty hands took action at a time when relations between Turkey and Russia have begun to normalize.

Turkish-Russian relations were strained in November 2015 when Turkey downed a Russian jet when it violated Turkish airspace. Over the past months, there has been an improvement in relations.

Another staunchly pro-government daily, Star, said in the headline of its main story on Tuesday: “Bullet from FETÖ to Turkish-Russian relations.” The same exact headline was also used by the pro-government Akşam daily.

Akşam said the Russian ambassador was killed by a police officer who attended a university preparation course affiliated with the Gülen movement.

The pro-government Takvim daily said the Western alliance went crazy due to rapprochement between Turkey and Russia and “sent one of the cat’s paws among us and had the Russian ambassador killed in Ankara.”

Pro-government journalists also accused the US and the Gülen movement of the murder of the Russian ambassador.

“The US, which let the rule of the world slip from its hands, is committing suicide attacks through the hands of terror organizations in many countries. Turkey is in first place. They will not manage to do this,” wrote pro-government journalist Fatih Tezcan from his Twitter account on Tuesday.

Another pro-government journalist, İbrahim Karagül, wrote from his Twitter account that the murder of the Russian ambassador would inflict damage not on Turkish-Russian relations but on Turkish-US relations.

“Pro-FETÖ assassination teams have been activated. CIA intelligence games have begun. Sleeper cells have woken up. Turkey and Russia are open targets,” he wrote.

According to pro-government journalist Ömer Turan, the aim of Monday’s assassination was to prevent rapprochement between Turkey and Russia.

“I have been making a big effort for months to explain that ‘deep’ NATO will do its best to prevent this,” wrote Turan from his Twitter account on Tuesday.

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