Supected Gülen member detained over Russian envoy murder
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
A former Turkish civil servant and suspected senior member of the Gülen movement was detained on April 5 in connection with a case concerning the 2016 assassination of Russian Ambassador to Ankara Andrei Karlov.
Security units in the capital Ankara detained a suspect formerly employed by the Turkish Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK), also a suspected senior Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) member and the superior of Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, the Russian envoy’s late assassin.
Andrey Karlov was assassinated at an art gallery in Ankara on Dec. 19, 2016 by Altıntaş, an off-duty police officer. An official Turkish investigation later discovered Altıntaş had links to FETÖ, which is accused of orchestrating the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
On April 2, prosecutors issued detention warrants for eight people, including the United States-based preacher Fetullah Gülen, over suspected links to the assassination.
The suspect was found to be a user of ByLock, an encrypted mobile phone application used by FETÖ members to communicate during and after the 2016 coup attempt, said a security source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
The suspect is reportedly responsible for deleting Altıntaş’s e-mails and for conveying the network’s instructions to him and organizing the assassination, added the source.
In January, another former BTK civil servant was detained and remanded in custody on charges of association in plotting manslaughter, according to security sources.
Late last year, six people were arrested over the assassination, including three police officers, Guru Media Broadcast Group Chairman Hayreddin Aydınbaş, and Mustafa Timur Özkan, who organized the art exhibit.