US denies connection in Turkey assassination
US Secretary of State John Kerry has denied American involvement in the assassination of Russia’s envoy to Turkey, voicing concern about Ankara’s rhetoric against Washington.
On Tuesday, Turkey blamed US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen for Monday’s assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey and tried to place blame on the United States for allowing Gulen to live in the country.
Kerry has raised concerns about “some of the rhetoric coming out of Turkey with respect to American involvement or support, tacit or otherwise, for this unspeakable assassination yesterday because of the presence of Mr. Gulen here in the United States,” US State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.
Kirby called the accusation “absolutely ridiculous” and warned against jumping to conclusions.
“We need to let the investigators do their job and we need to let the facts and the evidence take them where it is before we jump to conclusions,” Kirby added. “But any notion that the United States was in any way supportive of this or behind this or even indirectly involved is absolutely ridiculous.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Kerry that both Turkey and Russia “know” that a movement led by Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric based in the US state of Pennsylvania was behind the attack.
The Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was fatally shot on Monday by off-duty policeman while attending an event at an art gallery in Ankara.
The assailant, identified as Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22, was later killed in a shootout with police. He appeared to blame Russia for the death of civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
After carrying out the murder, which was caught on camera, the assailant went on a rant, blaming Russia for the death of civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
The assassination was condemned by the Turkish and Russian leaders as an attempt to sour the bilateral ties. It came as the countries are maintaining cooperation over the Syrian crisis.
Moscow and Ankara support the opposing sides of the conflict in Syria and the two have military presence in the Arab country.