Turkey implicates Gulen in 2016 Andrei Karlov murder | Turkey News | Al Jazeera

Turkey implicates Gulen in 2016 Andrei Karlov murder

Evidence and witness statements implicate US-based leader in 2016 killing of Andrei Karlov, according to state media.

    Turkey says Gulen's group was behind the assassination, a charge Gulen has denied [Reuters]
    Turkey says Gulen's group was behind the assassination, a charge Gulen has denied [Reuters]

    A Turkish court has ordered the arrest of the US-based Muslim religious leader Fethullah Gulen and seven others over the 2016 killing of the Russian ambassador to Turkey, according to state media reports.

    Monday's announcement came a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Turkey on an official visit.

    Andrei Karlov, the Russian diplomat, was shot by an off-duty policeman while speaking during an exhibition inauguration in Ankara in December 2016.

    The assailant shouted "Allahu Akbar" and "Don't forget Aleppo!" as he opened fire, apparently referring to Russia's involvement in neighbouring Syria.

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    He was shot dead by police at the scene.

    Putin arrives on a two-day visit on Tuesday and will meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

    Their three countries are the guarantors of the Astana peace talks that have set up "de-escalation" zones across war-torn Syria.

    Erdogan said Gulen's group was behind the assassination, a charge the religious leader, who is also a businessman, has denied. 

    Turkey also accuses Gulen and his supporters of orchestrating the failed coup attempt last summer which killed an estimated 300 people and led to arrests across the country.

    Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US since 1999, has denied the charge and condemned the coup attempt.

    'Witness statements'

    According to judicial sources talking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, the court issued the arrest warrants linking Karlov's assassin, Mert Altintas, to Gulen.

    Reasons cited for the arrest warrants include "pre-meditated murder" and "attempt to overthrow constitutional order".

    Evidence and witness statements allowed the investigative bureau to suspect FETO members in security headquarters, Anadolu said.

    Altintas came from Soke in southwest Turkey, considered one of the country's most secular regions.

    His father said his son's behaviour started changing after he joined the police academy, where he became more pious, according to media reports at the time.

    Czar vs Sultan: The media war between Russia and Turkey

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    Czar vs Sultan: The media war between Russia and Turkey

    SOURCE: News agencies


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