Erdogan: Killer of Russian envoy was member of Gulen group

Andrei Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, speaks at a photo exhibition in Ankara on Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, moments before a gunman opened fire on him.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said for the first time the Turkish policeman who assassinated the Russian ambassador to Ankara was a member of the group of the US-based preacher blamed for the July coup.

“There is no need to make a secret out of the fact he was a member of FETO,” Erdogan said at a news conference, two days after the killing of ambassador Andrei Karlov in Ankara.

Turkey has embarked on a massive crackdown on what it calls the Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO) in the wake of the July 15 coup aimed at unseating Erdogan.

But Erdogan said the assassination of Karlov showed Gulen supporters were still present within the security forces.

“I have to say this very clearly — this dirty organisation is still within the military, still within the police,” he said.

“We of course are continuing and will continue to carry out purges. We will do this with sensitivity,” he added.

But the Kremlin, which has sent 18 Russian investigators to Ankara, indicated earlier that it was not the time for hurried pronouncements on responsibility.

“In this case it is hardly worth hurrying to any conclusions until the investigation determines — as our president said — who was behind the murder of our ambassador,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Gulen himself has condemned Monday’s assassination of ambassador Karlov and had denied any involvement in the July 15 coup.


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