Analysis: How will Putin react to ambassador's assassination in Turkey?

Sources in Turkey were quick to blame supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish preacher who is in exile in the United States.

December 20, 2016 01:05
2 minute read.

Putin Ambassador assassination ploy to wreck Syrian peace process

Putin Ambassador assassination ploy to wreck Syrian peace process


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey at an Ankara art gallery on Monday is unlikely to have a wide-ranging impact on the ongoing military and diplomatic standoff over Syria or on ties between Moscow and Ankara.

The Turkish shooter, who was killed by local security forces, is reportedly a graduate of the local police academy and took action to protest the mass murder that is taking place in Syria – and particularly Aleppo – by the Assad regime with the support of Russia, Iran and various Shi’ite militias.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

By shooting Ambassador Andrei Karlov, the assassin was also protesting his own country’s sitting on the sidelines in the face of the ongoing atrocities in Syria. In recent months, Turkey has changed its position and is now cooperating with Syrian President Bashar Assad, Russia and Iran.

It could be that the objective of the assassination was to disrupt ties between Russia and Turkey, which have been on the rise ever since their lowest point following the Turkish downing of a Russian combat plane last year.

Sources in Turkey were quick to blame supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish preacher who is in exile in the United States and who Erdogan has accused of plotting the failed coup over the summer. Since the attempted revolt, Erdogan has cracked down on his opponents and especially Gulen’s supporters, and purged the military and justice systems.

The assassination was caught on camera at the gallery and the security lapses that enabled the murder to occur are immediately clear. Karlov did not have protection, and if he did, the guards were not close to him and their reaction was too slow to prevent the shooting. The fact that the shooter succeeded in bringing a gun into the gallery is another example of possible negligence.

It does not seem that the shooting will derail efforts to stabilize Syria. On Tuesday, talks are scheduled to begin in Moscow among Russia, Iran and Turkey, as well as others, on a possible diplomatic ending to the ongoing war in Syria.

The interests of these three countries are greater than an isolated incident, even the murder of an ambassador.

Erdogan’s interests in Syria are also limited in their scope – he wants to ensure that a Kurdish entity will not be established along his country’s border.

Putin’s interests are different.

As demonstrated by Russia’s disproportionate bombing of civilian targets – including schools, hospitals and orphanages – in Aleppo, Putin is using the same methods that were effective in quelling the Chechnyan insurgency some 10 years ago.

Together with Iran, Putin wants to stabilize Assad and restore his sovereignty over as much of Syria as possible.

This is just the first stage in Russia’s ultimate goal of establishing itself as a superpower in a region that was left in a vacuum by outgoing US President Barack Obama.

Related Content

Nadia Murad
August 19, 2018
Yazidi victims of ISIS fear for lives in Germany due to ISIS presence