Turkey seeks cleric’s ar­rest over Rus­sian en­voy’s killing


A Turk­ish court has is­sued ar­rest war­rants for a US-based Mus­lim cleric and seven other peo­ple for their al­leged in­volve­ment in the killing of Rus­sia’s am­bas­sador to Turkey, the coun­try’s state-run news agency re­ported Mon­day.

An off-duty po­lice of­fi­cer fa­tally shot Am­bas­sador An­drei Karlov while he was speak­ing at the open­ing of a photo ex­hi­bi­tion in the Turk­ish cap­i­tal on Dec. 19, 2016. The of­fi­cer, Mev­lut Mert Alt­in­tas, was later shot dead at the scene by po­lice.

The court in Ankara is­sued war­rants for cleric Fethul­lah Gulen and seven peo­ple al­legedly tied to his re­li­gious move­ment on charges of at­tempt­ing to “de­stroy the con­sti­tu­tional or­der” and “pre-med­i­tated mur­der,” Anadolu Agency re­ported.

Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties have al­leged that Karlov’s killer had links to Gulen, whom Turkey also ac­cuses of mas­ter­mind­ing a failed July 2016 coup and wants to be ex­tra­dited from the US. Gulen, who has lived in the US since 1999, has de­nied in­volve­ment in the coup at­tempt.

Turkey be­lieves that Gulen’s move­ment was also be­hind Karlov’s as­sas­si­na­tion, main­tain­ing that it was aimed at de­rail­ing warm­ing re­la­tions be­tween Turkey and Rus­sia.

Nine peo­ple, in­clud­ing three for­mer po­lice of­fi­cers, have al­ready been ar­rested over the killing.

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