mead berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn bayles
Assassination in Ankara
What the Murder of the Russian Ambassador Might Mean
Features Icon
show comments
  • Anthony

    Mr. Putin and Mr. Erdogan are charismatic strongmen with deep nationalist credentials. Both have successfully employed faith mixed with chauvinism to handsome political effect (any recent North American similarities), including nostalgia for lost eras of glory. Equally, President Recep Erdogan’s Turkey and President Vladimir Putin’s Russia are ancestral foes and yes fissures are right below the surface (though in recent times the countries enjoyed a cordial relationship [rapprochement] – trade, securities issues, Bosporus, etc.). Agreed, no one can know what the Russian Ambassador murder means geopolitically but as Sarajevo reminds sometimes political leaders do insanely stupid things, with horrified consequences for millions. 2016 has been quite a year (and it’s still twelve more days left).

    Something related:

  • Fat_Man

    This is some very deep very spicy kimchi. I would still be in favor of letting Russia cut Turkey into three pieces. Keep one, give the eastern third to the Kurds, and the middle chunk should be left to rot.

    • tim eastman

      Won’t happen, Turkey is a member of NATO which was set up for just that kind of violence from Russia- or the USSR- and Russia would find itself on the wrong side of that conflict as the US and the rest of the NATO alliance would be forced to respond.

      • Fat_Man

        Just another proof, that NATO has long out lived its utility. I would never risk the life of an American serviceman, or a Pomeranian grenadier to defend Turkey. It is of no importance to United States, strategically, or economically, or culturally.

        • Martin Johnson

          Russian control of the Straits doesn’t concern you? It should.

          • Fat_Man

            The straits between the Mediterranean and the Black Seas? No, I am not at all concerned. The Black Sea is a lake between Turkey, which is worthless, and Russia which is malignant.

            Sorry Bulgaria, Romania, and Georgia, It sucks to be you. Ukraine — It’s dead, Jim.

            Further, I would never allow an American Naval vessel to go into Black Sea. No reason to give them hostages.

  • Angel Martin

    Who was responsible for security at this circus ? Russian diplomats are potential targets for suicide attacks everywhere.

    And the Russian diplomatic security just let an unknown man walk behind the ambassador ? Or did the Russians depend on Turkey for security ?

    In any case the Russians just learned an expensive lesson.

  • Wayne Lusvardi

    According to, the perpetrator shouted a phrase that identifies him with the Muslim Brotherhood:

    “Nahnu Allatheena Baya’u Mohammedan A’lal-Jihadi Ma Baqqayna Abada”.

    English: We are the ones who gave our allegiance (Bay’at) to Muhammad to continue our Jihad. We will never fail forever”

    Erdogan recently purged his police forces, military and courts of Turkish patriots and replaced them with members of the Brotherhood. So apparently Erdogan has now reaped what he sowed by putting fanatics in control of Turkey. Erdogan is reportedly associated with the Brotherhood as well.

    This is an egregious and heinous crime because the entire world depends on diplomats talking instead of armed conflict. Now no ambassadors can feel safe in Turkey. Same with US military out posted there.

    • Disappeared4x

      USA military based at Incirlik has not felt safe since the ‘coup’. No idea about status of nukes at Incirlik. No port visits for USN in Turkey for more than three years, as I recall. Port stops in Haifa much safer, and far more popular: good beer, lots of English speakers, and, not at the same time: Jerusalem.

      DEBKA, linked at RealClearPolitics 12 20 2016, claims Mevlut Mert Altintas was Al-Nusra, which has MB roots. “…After yelling “We die in Aleppo, you die here,” he recited sentences from an Arabic prayer which are Nusra’s anthem. He went on shouting “We made an oath to die in martyrdom…it is revenge for Syria and Aleppo.” He is believed to have added: “Until they are safe, you will not taste safety. Get back, only death will take me from here.”

      It is not clear if the killer was a member of the detail guarding the ambassador, or obtained access to the gallery because the guards knew him and did not stop him going up to his target. He was smartly turned out in a dark suit and tie (like the terrorists from Jordan who attacked a Tel Aviv market on June 8 and killed three people) …”
      [balance is about other terror attacks]

      • 1952rmdg

        and if you’re willing to travel an hour or so southward, you have very good and safe beaches along the Israeli coastline and the vibrant city of Tel Aviv awaiting you.

        • Disappeared4x

          Even better, Israelis genuinely like American sailors.

      • Fat_Man

        The US should close the Incirlik base. There is no reason to maintain a base. We should not leave potential hostages so deep in enemy territory. BTW, I pray to God that there are no nuclear weapons in a place that is so vulnerable to enemy attack.

      • Wayne Lusvardi

        Great report. Confirms Brotherhood involvement or motivation. Thanks

      • Bobbi60

        “It is not clear if the killer was a member of the detail guarding the ambassador, or obtained access to the gallery because the guards knew him and did not stop him going up to his target. ”
        Either way, I bet there are some tough questions being asked about now.
        Heads will roll. Perhaps literally.

  • Tom

    The important thing to remember about Europe 1914 is that there were people who actually wanted an all-out war. It is doubtful whether anyone actually wants a full international conflict in the Black Sea region.

    The problem is that it only takes one.

    • wheezer

      the ambassador wont be another archduke.

  • It means that Turkey is screwed.

  • Adnan Galeeb

    the only terrorist here is Putin

  • longlance

    Real Americans stand with Russia and against terror-state Turkey, which seems to think itself the indispensable NATO bully.

    • We should just sit back for now and watch the two of them have at it.

  • Edgar Boswell Simpson III

    look for the family of the shooter to be massacred en masse.

  • WigWag

    “As the news was breaking, many people took to Twitter to wonder aloud whether this was some kind of repeat of 1914.” Mead/Marusic

    Franz Ferdinand was the heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Karlov was an apparatchik; a mildly important apparatchik but still an apparatchik.

    I wouldn’t worry about a repeat of World War I just yet.

    • Bobbi60

      Franz Ferdinand was a flash point for people who were, for one reason or another, looking to go to war. None of them pictured what it would become, I’m sure, but that’s often the way when the fuse is lit.
      Russia can overlook this assassination, certainly, or take only moderate and appropriate reprisal. The question is, will they?

    • CosmotKat

      WigWag….you are correct the time for retaliation can wait. The Russians will bide their time, but they will retaliate, when is the open question. There is little love lost between the Turks and the Russians givien their respective histories.

  • donqpublic

    Of course, it doesn’t help that the shooter was reportedly a Turkish policemen, presumably a Sunni, on plain clothes duty and assigned to provide security for the Russian ambassador, representing the Shia bear rampaging in the Sunni neighborhood. You would think that relying on indigenous security providers by diplomatic missions in this day and age, especially in the wake of the bummer in Benghazi, would be an ancient relic of the past.

  • amy roth

    Franz Ferdinand was also the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. That made his assassination impossible to overlook or overcome, especially given that neither side was at all disposed to do so

  • stefanstackhouse

    They are saying that the assassin was an off-duty policeman that was somehow able to fool people into thinking that he was on assignment as part of the security team. This sounds quite credible, but raises several questions. Was there someone that was able to pave the way for him to get on to the team? It doesn’t sound quite right that he would just flash his ID card and move into position, especially when there had been no previous plans for him to be there. Might someone have made a call on his behalf, telling the person in charge of security to let him be included? Might there have been someone on the security detail that he knew, and vouched for his legitimacy? I could be wrong, but this sure looks and smells like there may very well be someone else involved.

    • Bobbi60

      I’ve been thinking that the story as I’ve heard it leaves a lot of room for doubt, too. And I imagine that if you and I, sitting safely in front of our computers half-a-world away, can think of it, Vlad Putin, who started out as a KGB agent, is already looking into it.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Turkey is 99% Muslim. We need to wonder how many people in Turkey secretly side with the assassin before we ascribe meaning or lack of meaning to this event.

    • Icepilot

      More than that, Turks hate the Russians, having been one obstacle to a Russian warm-water port for centuries.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Okay, setting religion aside, we need to wonder how many people in Turkey secretly side with the assassin for that reason too.

        • CosmotKat

          There are many who side with the assassin, Goat. The trend is toward more political Islamism, not less.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Are you cheering it, or suggesting a solution?

          • CosmotKat

            Cheering it? Did you not ask, “we need to wonder how many people in Turkey secretly side with the assassin for that reason too.” I was agreeing with you. Has your unhappiness as a man crept that deep into your soul that your only response is to reach for cynicism?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Sounded to me like “Goat” was being told something. I couldn’t discern what it is supposed to be about. Still can’t.

          • CosmotKat

            Closed minds like yours are incapable of discernment. It was pretty straight forward commentary yet you elected to go for the usual snark. You are a hopelessly hyper partisan and a true hater of anyone who might have disagreed with you such that agreement looks to you like opposition. Must be the after affects of being Trumped.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Seriously, Cosmo. What’s your solution to the trend you describe as toward more political Islamism?

    • CosmotKat

      Turkey has been systematically erasing the last vestiges of the Orthodox Christian Greeks in Constantinople. Russia assumed the head of the Orthodox Church after 1453 and they have fought multiple wars with the Turks defending the Orthodox people in this part of the world. I believe Turkey becomes the next really hot spot in the Muslim world. Under Erdogan they are going backwards in time and not forward. There may be a temporary setting aside of any retaliation, but I suspect that in time the Russians strike back.

  • QET

    Is there really no reliable basis for joint US-Russia efforts against the Islamic zealots? Couldn’t we cooperate in defeating the common enemy as we did in WW2 while continuing to dislike each other and make life difficult for each other in other areas?

  • Wayne Lusvardi

    After looking at the video a second time I have grave doubts about the veracity of what happened.

    There is no video before the shooting curiously.

    The perpetrator was reportedly off duty police officer allowed to be behind the ambassador where only the Russian security should have been.

    The victim falls backward and is instantly motionless with no blood. The victim was not shot in the head which would have been instantaneous death.

    The perpetrator worked hard at remembering his lines and his voice was hollow as if he was acting.

    The perpetrator is shown later gunned down and again no blood with blood stains like tomato ketchup. And the perpetrator was not killed by police.

    Did Russia choreograph this hit?

  • Daniel Richards

    An opening then for the US?

  • Paul_in_Colorado

    The only parallel to World War One is that the new property lines in Syria and Mesopotamia will again be established by foreign powers. And over the past 5000+ years that has happened many, many times.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service