The murder of the Russian ambassador to Turkey shocked the whole world. Almost immediately after the ambassador’s assassination in Ankara, some circles in Turkey suggested the involvement of Fethullah Gulen’s followers. With a request to comment on the situation, we turned to the head of the political direction at the Center for Studies of Modern Turkey Yuriy Mavashev.
Do you think we should consider this version? And, if yes, what were Gulen’s motives?
The version with involvement of the Islamic cleric, traditionally accused by Ankara of organizing the July 15 coup, does not withstand any scrutiny at the moment. He is very convenient to the Turkish authorities, as a “scapegoat”, if you will. The thing is that Gulen is the last person to benefit from the public murder of the Russian ambassador Karlov, which would most probably be blamed on FETO. He wouldn’t have discredited himself at a time when his own life in the United States hangs in the balance, and schools and organizations are under threat of closure. For him, the effect and purpose of such an act is, at best, equal to zero. And at worst, it gives another reason for the United States and Turkey to carry out his extradition.
In addition, even assuming that he was counting on a short-term effect of the terrorist attack in the form of ruptured ties between Russia and Turkey, he could not have been unaware that it’s too late to jeopardize the agreements between Moscow and Ankara on the Syrian track. No one will let it happen, because the stakes for all parties are already too high.
Trying to push Russia to the sanctions against Turkey? Turkish authorities, of course, would disown the bloody action, and even if traces of the Turkish secret services or other organizations would be revealed, they would have been immediately swept under the rug.
Besides, Moscow still has not removed the major economic sanctions against Ankara. What more can be achieved in these circumstances?
On the contrary, the one who organized the terrorist attack had a clear understanding that the Russian and the Turkish side will perceive the murder of our ambassador as an attempt by third parties to undermine the negotiations on Syria and the development of bilateral relations. In this scenario it is easy to calculate the steps to be taken by both states, which will continue to act in their national interests.
And the ones who could send a message to the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan are pan-Islamists. The core message is: “We see that you are drastically changing the country’s policy. We don’t like it. We can’t get to you, but we can turn your life into hell with other means”. This version, in my opinion, far better reflects what is happening.