Turkey, Russia ‘know’ FETÖ behind attack on Russian envoy: Turkish FM tells Kerry
AFP photoTurkey and Russia “know” that a movement led by the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen was behind the attack on the Russian envoy in Ankara, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavuşoğlu told his U.S. counterpart John Kerry in a phone conversation on late Dec. 19, according to a Foreign Ministry official.
The conversation, conducted upon the request of the U.S. side, came after a trilateral meeting between the Turkish, Russian and Iranian foreign ministers in Moscow on Dec. 20 in which the countries agreed to act jointly on Syria, one day after the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated in the Turkish capital.
Kerry also expressed sorrow over the assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov, the official said.
Çavuşoğlu told Kerry that “both Russia and Turkey know that FETÖ [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] was behind the attack and shared information regarding the assailant,” the official added.
The minister also told Kerry that the joint declaration “reflected the main elements” discussed at the trilateral meeting, the official said.
The U.S. on Dec. 20 roundly dismissed claims it was in any way involved in the assassination.
“It’s a ludicrous claim, absolutely false, there’s no basis of truth in it whatsoever,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry conveyed his sentiment on Tuesday in a phone conversation to Cavusoğlu.
“The secretary in his conversation with the foreign minister did raise his concerns about some of the rhetoric coming out of Turkey with respect to American involvement/support, tacit or otherwise, for this unspeakable assassination yesterday because of the presence of Mr. [Fethullah] Gülen here in the United States,” Kirby said.
Karlov was assassinated after being shot multiple times at an art exhibition in Ankara while delivering a speech. The assailant was 22-year-old Turkish riot policeman, Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, who opened fire on the diplomat before shooting into the air.