‘Strong signs’ gunman who killed Russian envoy linked to US-based cleric: Official

Updated on Dec 20, 2016 02:31 AM IST

There are “very strong signs” that the gunman who killed the Russian ambassador to Turkey on Monday belonged to the network of the US-based cleric who Ankara says orchestrated a failed coup in July, a senior security official said.

Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov lies on the ground after he was shot by unidentified man (L) at an art gallery in Ankara.(REUTERS)
Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov lies on the ground after he was shot by unidentified man (L) at an art gallery in Ankara.(REUTERS)
Washington/Ankara | ByReuters

There are “very strong signs” that the gunman who killed the Russian ambassador to Turkey on Monday belonged to the network of the US-based cleric who Ankara says orchestrated a failed coup in July, a senior security official said.

The official, who declined to be identified, said the current investigation was focused on the gunman’s links to Fethullah Gulen’s network.

The government says Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US state of Pennsylvania since 1999, created a “parallel network” in the police, military, judiciary and civil service aimed at overthrowing the state. The cleric denies this.

President Tayyip Erdogan identified the attacker, who was later killed by security forces, as a member of the Ankara riot police who had spent 2-1/2 years on the force.

But an adviser to Gulen said the allegation of possible links of the Gulen Network to the envoy’s killing are “laughable” and that it was an effort to cover up lax secuirity.

“Mr. Gulen categorically condemns this heinous act,” the adviser, Alp Aslandogan, told Reuters.

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