Russian ambassador assasinated in Turkey

The Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, has been shot dead at an art exhibition in Ankara. The assassin is a Turkish police officer. Videos show him shouting "Allahu Akbar" and "Don't forget Aleppo". The fact that the killing hasn't provoked any bitter words between Moscow and Ankara so far is a subject of discussion not just in the Turkish press.

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Sözcü (TR) /

Ankara quick to change friends

The Turkish government is cosing up to Russia yet on Monday protesters demonstrated outside the Russian consulate in Ankara with the slogan "Murdering Russia", the Kemalist daily Sözcü comments:

“The police didn't try to do anything about these people and even closed off the area so they could protest more effectively. When the attack against the Russian ambassador was carried out, the crowd was dispersed. … And then just one day later our foreign minister and defence minister signed a joint plan with their Russian and Iranian counterparts. … This is the official document that proves that [Ankara's] Syria policy of the last five years has failed. The ill-judged decisions and measures by those who don't know how to lead Turkey have dragged them into the worst crisis they have ever been in and at the same time put the country's security at risk. The next step will no doubt be to go to Damascus, shake hands with Assad and ask him for forgiveness.”

The Times (GB) /

New axis of evil in the Middle East

While the West is losing influence in the Middle East, Moscow, Ankara and Tehran are forging an ominous but effective alliance in the region, The Times complains:

“Even the dullest of regional diplomats now grasps that the rules are about to be rewritten. Recep Tayyip Erdogan could turn east, away from a begrudging Europe towards Vladimir Putin. ... But Putin and Erdogan are sceptics; their reading of the American system is that Trump will become a captive of powerful lobbies. Both are survivors and both could be in power until 2024 - time enough to remake the Middle East and watch as a disillusioned West scurries out of the region. Their cynicism is being rewarded. Along with Iran they have become the only game in town, the Axis of Evil 2.0.”

Jornal de Negócios (PT) /

Turkey turning its back on EU and Nato

Jornal de Negócios also comes to the conclusion that Turkey is turning its back on the West and focussing on the east:

“The assassination of the Russian ambassador won't have a negative impact on the rapprochement between Russia and Turkey. It will, however, push Turkish President Erdoğan further toward China's overarching vision of a new Silk Route, and bring him closer to the economic alliances in Central Asia and the Russian (and Iranian) Syria strategy. And consequently further from the EU and Nato. ... Now we must look behind the veil of panic and recognise the real Darth Vader. Terrorism is in the process of reconfiguring the alliances - and changing our democracies.”

Habertürk (TR) /

Karlov fought for world peace

With the death of Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov the world has lost an excellent diplomat, Habertürk laments:

“After the shooting down [of the Russian fighter jet in 2015 Karlov] played a key role in resolving the crisis between Ankara and Moscow. On the subject of Syria he wanted to find a solution together with Turkey. If progress is made on this issue in these days it is largely thanks to Ambassador Karlov, in particular with respect to the aid corridor that was established in Aleppo. … The attacker and officer of Ankara's riot police unit said he was committing the crime for Aleppo. … He wasn't even aware that the person he killed worked hard to save lives in Aleppo. … Russia lost a very good diplomat, friend of Turkey and soldier of world peace in Ankara yesterday.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Moscow will stay calm

Russia won't be dragged into a conflict with Turkey, Gazeta Wyborcza points out:

“Right now, the last thing Moscow needs is a conflict - not to mention a war. Turkey is also a key partner for Russia in the anti-terror coalition - together with Iran, which is also its ally, or quasi ally, in the Syrian war. … So officially there can be no tensions in relations between Moscow and Ankara. If the ambassador had been killed in any other capital emotions would be running high in Moscow. And the commentaries would be caustic. It would demand a thorough investigation and make threats. In this respect the Russians and Turkey speak with one voice.”

T24 (TR) /

Self-administered justice increasing

Turkish society has become particularly susceptible to religiously motivated self-administered justice, the liberal web portal T24 observes:

“The justification was that the Russians were killing Muslims in Aleppo. This mentality is of course not far removed from that which believes in planting bombs to take revenge. What will things come to if everyone starts taking to the street to administer their own form of justice? Are there similar cases in our own history? Why are things happening now that never happened before? What part are the tensions created using religious motives playing in this atmosphere of 'fighting with the sword' that has prevailed for three to four years in society? Don't the examples of jihad fighters who kill their enemies yet remain free play a role in the fact that every couple of days a new religious hero emerges? How far will they go with this?”

Il Sole 24 Ore (IT) /

Turkey sinking into chaos

The ambassador's murder shows how vulnerable Turkey has become under Erdoğan's leadership, Il Sole 24 Ore comments:

“With a pistol shot like that in Sarajevo in 1914, Turkey is leaving Europe and joining the Middle East. It is not enough to survive a coup, to become an autocrat and to have neutralised the legal opposition. It is not enough to eliminate Gülen's supporters and to purge thousands of police officers and military to gain control of a country. This is the lesson the assassination teaches Erdoğan. ... But the Western leaders who have willingly contributed to Turkey's drift away from Europe could also learn from this. ... Not just Turkey but Europe too is paying the price for Erdoğan's mistakes. It cannot simply stand by and watch as the 16th most powerful state in world, with which it has close economic ties, sinks into chaos.”

24 Chasa (BG) /

Murder won't lead to conflict

The relations between Russia and Turkey are too important at the moment to be affected by the attack, Islam expert Boyan Chukov writes in 24 Chasa:

“I suspect that the terrorist attack was an act of revenge for the recapture of Aleppo. Aleppo was probably a crucial stage of the extremists' battle where they were ready to resort to any means. … What will happen now? I don't think Russia will hold the Turkish government responsible for the attack. At the moment common interests are the top priority for Turkey and Russia. Neither the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey last year nor the assassination of the Russian ambassador will stop this process.”