Moscow names new Turkey ambassador after assassination

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.

:: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday appointed a new ambassador to Turkey following the killing of Moscow’s previous envoy Andrei Karlov in December.

In a decree posted in an official database, Putin gave an order to “appoint Alexei Yerkhov as … ambassador of the Russian Federation to Turkey.”

Yerkhov, 57, previously worked with Karlov as the Russian consul in Istanbul. He currently heads the foreign ministry’s crisis centre which issues official travel advice.

Karlov, 62, was shot nine times at point-blank range by a 22-year-old policeman at the opening of a photo exhibition on December 19. He died on the spot.

The assailant, Mevlut Mert Altintas, shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo” as he opened fire, before being shot dead by Turkish guards.

The Turkish government blamed the murder on the group of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, on whom they also blame the failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last July.

Moscow has said it is too early to say who was behind the murder.

The street in Ankara where the Russian embassy is located has since been named after Karlov.

Turkey and Russia stand on opposite sides of the conflict in Syria as Moscow backs the government of Bashar al-Assad while Ankara supports the rebels.

However, the two countries have spearheaded peace talks in Astana, and agreed to set up safe zones in the country.

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