Turkey’s deputy prime minister has called for a “thorough investigation” of Monday’s assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov.
Speaking to reporters at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport Tuesday ahead of his flight to Saudi Arabia for preparatory meetings of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers, Numan Kurtulmus said: “The incident must be investigated thoroughly.”
“[We] are focusing on the person and connections behind this incident,” he added.
Kurtulmus said that the main motive for the murder was to destroy relations between Turkey and Russia.
“This was an open and clear provocation,” Kurtulmus said.
“With the normalization of Turkish-Russian relations, we can see that this was a direct attack on the peace process which started especially in Syria and the steps taken to improve the situation there,” he added.
Russian envoy Andrey Karlov was shot dead at an art exhibit in the capital Ankara on Monday evening.
The 62-year-old was delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of an art gallery when an off-duty police officer critically wounded him. As the gallery patrons were still facing the violent gunman, the assassin was killed by police in a brief operation.
Kurtulmus also hinted at a possibility of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization's (FETO) involvement in the assassination.
“Turkey has been under attack since July,” Kurtulmus said, referring to the coup attempt which martyred 248 and injured more than 2,000 others.
He said it was known that in the wake of the defeated July 15 coup the “traitorous FETO organization” would commit “dirty acts.”
“We have been trying to warn the public from time to time about this but we will share [our findings] with the public when the definitive results are revealed,” he said.
Reporting by Cigdem Alyanak and Izzet Taskiran Kurtulmus; Writing by Handan Kazancı