Russia Satisfied With Turkey Handing Sentences Over Ambassador Karlov’s Murder

Russia is satisfied that a Turkish court finally ruled on the assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov and expects exhaustive information from Ankara on those who ordered the killing, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, an Ankara court announced verdicts for Karlov’s killing. Out of the 19 defendants, five received life sentences, nine got prison terms ranging from three years and nine months to 15 years, and another five were acquitted.

The cases of another nine accused, who are at large, including opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, have been severed into separate proceedings at the request of the prosecutor’s office.

“We closely followed the trial in Ankara on the case of Hero of Russia and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Andrei Karlov, who was killed in a terrorist attack on December 19, 2016.

It is satisfying that the law enforcement and judicial systems of Turkey have finally issued a verdict on this tragic incident, which left a heavy mark in the history of modern Russian-Turkish relations,” the ministry said.

It further gave the Turkish justice credit for strongly condemning the horrendous terrorist act.

“We note that the development of bilateral relations over recent years gives reason to believe that they have passed this difficult — in the full sense of the word — unprecedented test,” the ministry added.

Moscow, the ministry went on, “looks forward to continuing close cooperation between the Russian and Turkish investigative authorities and promptly receiving from Ankara exhaustive information about the results and conclusions of the trial, as well as about those who ordered and organized this act of terrorism.”

The ministry also reiterated the belief that a significant share of responsibility for the crime rests with the circles who on the eve of the assassination had artificially inflated tensions around Russia’s Syria operation in media and on social networks.

Karlov was shot dead in Ankara on December 19, 2016, at the opening of the photo exhibition “Russia from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka through the eyes of a traveler.”

According to Turkish authorities, the attack was carried out by police officer Mevlut Mert Altintas, who was gunned down by security forces. The charges were brought against 28 suspects, including Gulen, who denies the charges.

The indictment stated that Karlov’s assassination was a provocation to damage Turkish-Russian relations.

The court started hearing the case on January 8, 2019.