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EURASIA >Russian president guarantees envoy’s murder won’t damage Russia-Turkey ties

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The assassination of Russian Ambassador to Ankara Adrey Karlov was an attempt to hurt Russia and harm Russian-Turkish relations, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, adding that the incident would not harm relations between the two countries. 

Those who seek to harm Russian-Turkish relations may be behind the downing of a Russian jet on Nov. 24, 2015, and the assassination Karlov, Putin said at an annual news conference on Dec. 23 in Moscow. “[Karlov’s] assassination is an attempt to hurt Russia and harm Russian-Turkish relations.”

“Frankly speaking, I did not believe that our aircraft was not downed on orders from Turkey’s leadership but some people, who wanted to harm Russian-Turkish relations, were behind the attack,” Putin said. 

“But now, after our ambassador was killed by a … police officer, I feel I might change my mind. Now it seems to me that everything is possible; some destructive elements could have entered Turkey’s state agencies including law enforcement agencies, and the army as well,” he said.

“I don’t think I should put the blame on someone now but we see what is happening,” the Russian president went on to say. 

“Will it damage Russian-Turkish relations? No, it will not because we understand the importance of bilateral ties and we will develop them in every possible way,” he said.

“Over the past year, we have been able to normalize relations taking into account Turkey’s interests and Russia’s interests as well. I believe we will continue to find compromises in the future,” Putin added.

Relations between Turkey and Russia almost came to a halt after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet in November 2015 on its border with Syria on the grounds of an air space violation. Russia denied any breach and imposed harsh sanctions on Turkish goods and tourism. 

Relations started to ease after the Turkish president penned a letter to Putin in June and the two leaders have since met three times in person. 

U.S. Ambassador to Ankara John Bass, meanwhile, “categorically rejected” allegations that the U.S. government was involved in the assassination of Karlov. 

“There is no evidence to support that and I think it’s an outrageous claim that has no basis in evidence. We want nothing else – nothing better – than to ensure that diplomats around the world are protected and able to do their jobs,” said Bass on a televised broadcast on Dec. 23. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said a few days after Karlov’s killing that the assassination was related to a movement led by Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is based in the United States.

December/23/2016

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