“MESSAGE” TO RUSSIA – Ambassador Shot Dead in Turkey
RUSSIA, TURKEY AND IRAN CEMENT TIES AFTER ANKARA SLAYING
Murder of Russian ambassador will backfire
December 19, 2016 VLADIMIR MIKHEEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH
The consequences of the brutal killing of Andrey Karlov, Russian Ambassador to Ankara, on Dec. 19, are likely to develop along three tracks and in three dimensions, at least.
The terrorist act reveals the desperation of Islamist’s groupings that are running out of sponsor’s money, ammunition, and even jihadi zeal, and are coming to realize that the tide of developments in the most turbulent region has turned decisively against them.
No damage to Ankara-Moscow hot line
First and foremost, Moscow showed resolution to bring those who masterminded the murder to justice. Later on the sad day, President Putin summoned for consultations not only his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov but also heads of security and intelligence services.
Apart from rallying diplomatic support (Moscow announced it would seek support in the United Nations), there could be a new level of coordination on this case between security agencies of Russia and Turkey, which in itself amounts to a breakthrough.
It has been widely reposted in the media that Fatih Öke, the press attaché of Turkey’s embassy in Washington DC, has placed a comment on Twitter: “The bullet to Ambassador Karlov is not only aims him. It aims also Turkish-Russian relation.”
This is yet another proof that there is profound understanding on various levels of interaction between the two countries that many ‘third parties’ are interests in alienating Ankara and Moscow. Not this time. The incident will not damage bi-lateral relations.
Bullets consolidate Erdogan’s grip on power
Secondly, the terrorist act will have repercussions for domestic policies in Turkey. The assertion by HaberTurk news channel that 22-year old Mevlüt Mert Altintas was allegedly involved in Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) awaits confirmation.
If found true, and the killer is intimately linked to U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, [Gunman is allegedly a security officer of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.] former ally turned rival and opponent to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then it will strengthen the ‘witch hunt’ launched after the aborted coup d’état last summer.
Moreover, it would make the allegedly ‘liberal’ preacher Gulen an accomplice of a first grade homicide. Would then Moscow join Ankara in its consistent demands for the extradition of the former imam from the United States?
And consequently, given the change of guard due on Jan. 20, could White House sacrifice Gulen for the sake of bettering relations with both Turkey and Russia? It is a provocative question, isn’t it?
Triangular diplomacy to be energized
Thirdly, the timing of the plot is crucial to investigation. It does not look like a coincidence. The shots were fired just days before Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, was scheduled to conduct talks in Moscow with his Russian and Iranian counterparts, Sergey Lavrov and Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The agenda of these negotiations was clearly designed to be dominated by the new realities on the ground in the aftermath of the recapture of Aleppo by Bashar al-Assad forces.
Moscow seemed to pin hopes on these deliberations despite a Turkish foreign ministry official downplaying anticipations, saying, “It is not a miracle meeting, but will give all sides a chance to listen to each other.”
On the contrary, Sergei Lavrov sounded more upbeat: “Hope to speak in detail and concrete terms with those who can really bring about an improvement in the situation on the ground, while our Western partners are busier with rhetoric and propaganda and aren’t influencing those who listen to them.”
Moscow’s resolve to bring regional actors to facilitate the settlement of the civil war in Syria and annihilate the threat of ISIS once and forever remains unchanged. The stakes are high enough.
The final outcome of this prolonged human tragedy in Syria, which is the inevitable and disgusting companion of any civil war, has a direct bearing on the credibility of Russia’s standing in regional geopolitics and on the efficiency of its diplomacy.
Bullets cowardly shot in the back that killed Russian top diplomatic envoy will invariably have an impact on the emerging, albeit still feeble, triangular cooperation between Russia, Turkey and Iran.
Contrary to the most likely expectations of those who have contracted the killing, instead of derailing the rapprochement between the three regional powers, the incident will energize it.