Kremlin says too early to say who is behind Ankara envoy’s killing

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Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov

The Kremlin said on Wednesday it was too early to say who masterminded the murder of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, who was shot dead by a Turkish police officer at an Ankara art gallery on Monday.

The Kremlin’s announcement has contradicted remarks by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who told his US counterpart, John Kerry, during a phone conversation on Tuesday that both Russia and Turkey “know” the followers of the Gülen movement were behind the murder.

When Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked about the Turkish foreign minister’s comments on Wednesday, he 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 told reporters on a conference call. “It is really not worth rushing to any conclusions.”

The Turkish government has been waging an all-out war against the Gülen movement since the outbreak of a corruption scandal in late 2013. The government’s crackdown on the movement reached new heights with a failed coup attempt on July 15 as the government held the movement responsible for the putsch. The movement strongly denies having any role in the failed coup.

In the meantime, one of the advisers of Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views have inspired the Gülen movement, strongly denied allegations by an unnamed senior Turkish security official of “very strong signs” that the gunman who killed the ambassador belonged to Gülen’s movement.

Allegations by an unnamed senior Turkish security official are “laughable” and intended to cover up lax security, the adviser, Alp Aslandoğan, told Reuters on Monday.

In another statement on Monday, Gülen condemned the assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey as a “heinous act of terror” and urged the Turkish government to identify anyone who aided the gunman.

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