“He was our friend and our guest. What a pity it is that we could not save him” What the Turkish media is writing about the murder of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov

13:59, 20 december 2016

Turkish special forces beside the Russian Consulate in Istanbul on December 20, 2016

Photo: Yasin Akgul / AFP / Scanpix / LETA

Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was killed by Turkish policeman Mevlut Mert Altyntash on Sunday, December 20, 2016. Turkish authorities seem to be trying their best to make sure that the event does not affect the now warming relationship between Russia and Turkey. The Turkish Foreign Ministry has promised to hold a large-scale investigation. The street where the Russian Embassy is located in Ankara will also be remained in Karlov’s honor. At Meduza’s request, journalist Ekaterina Chulkovskaya learned that what the Turkish media is writing about the ambassador’s murder.


The oppositionist newspaper titled its article “Was the goal to prevent the rapprochement of Russia and Turkey?”

According to the newspaper, the aim of the attack was to prevent Ankara’s rapprochement with Moscow. “After preventing a coup in Turkey [in summer 2016], Ankara has taken a lot of effort to overcome the … crisis in [its] relations with Moscow. [Turkey] managed to improve relations with Russia and even get the latter’s approval for the “Shield of the Euphrates” operation directed [against Syrian rebels],” writes the newspaper.

The publication also said that Andrei Karlov maintained very good relations with Turkish journalists: “From the first day of his accession to the post of Russian ambassador to Turkey and up to the final minutes of his life, Andrei Karlov has always been with the media.”


The pro-government newspaper titled its article “A bullet in the Russian-Turkish friendship”

The paper insists that the killer – twenty-two-year-old policeman Mert Altyntash – was a member of the organization FETO (Turkish authorities have declared that this group – headed by opposition leader Fethullah Gülen – a terrorist organization and accused it of attempting a coup on June 15, 2016). The newspaper noted that Abdullah Bozkurt, a former journalist of the newspaper Today's Zaman, wrote on his Twitter page on December 17, 2016 that “Turkey is not a safe country for foreign ambassadors.”

“Once again FETO has dealt a blow to Russian-Turkish relations,” the newspaper wrote, claiming that the attack was strategically carried out during the ongoing evacuation of civilians from Aleppo in order to thwart the humanitarian effort, as well as to disrupt the meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey, and Iran on the Syrian settlement scheduled to take place in Moscow on December 20, 2016.


The independent, but pro-government slanted newspaper titled its article “The reason for the attack on Karlov.”

“Karlov is a man who did much to restore Russia-Turkey relations,” read the article. The paper came to three conclusions about what happened. Firstly, Turkey is not a safe country for anyone (just recently, on December 10, there was a serious terrorist attack in Istanbul. Secondly, the murder of the Russian ambassador is a serious blow to Turkey’s image in the world. Thirdly, this is the latest blow to Russian-Turkish relations after the crisis with the downed Russian plane in November 2015.

“The attack was committed by a police officer [right] in the Turkish capital at an exhibition [in front of] dozens of people. The incident should put the issue of [ensuring] the safety of foreign public officials in Turkey on the agenda,” summed up the newspaper.


Hurriyet is one of the most influential newspapers in Turkey adhering to oppositionist views, but since the coup attempt this summer it has become more sympathetic to the authorities. The title of its article was “This is not just an attack on the Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov. This is attack on Russian-Turkish relations.”

The paper suggested that the killer was a member of the organization called FETO and saw the crime as the result of an international conspiracy against the two countries, because “Russia is Turkey’s main ally in Syria.” (Meduza’s note: In reality, Russia and Turkey have opposite goals in the Syrian conflict, as Moscow supports the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and Turkey is helping the armed opposition and insists that the president be overthrown). The publication writes that Karlov did much to restore Russian-Turkish relations after 2015 crisis when the Turkish military shot down a Russian fighter jet.

“Karlov was our friend and our guest. What a pity it is that we could not save him,” wrote Hurriyet.