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Turkey, Russia, and an assassination

 Editorial |  2016-12-22 21:39:09.0  |  New Delhi

Some argue that the murder of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov could lead to increased tensions between the countries over the Syrian civil war. On Monday, a Turkish police officer gunned down the diplomat while condemning Russia’s role in the war in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the assassination was a “provocation aimed at rupturing ties between Russia and Turkey”, 

while Moscow’s Foreign Ministry referred to the incident as a “terrorist attack”. 

“The only answer to the murder of the Russian ambassador to Turkey must be the intensification of the struggle against terrorism,” Putin said. Commentators had sought to compare the high-profile murder of Andrei Karlov to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, prompting fears that it could spark off a larger regional conflagration that could spiral out of control. Contrary to these concerns, both Russian and Turkish leaders have moved swiftly to contain the fallout.

“Diplomatic analysts said that neither leader had an incentive to disrupt a loose accord they have reached over Syria, allowing each to pursue their war aims. Turkey has ensured that its incursion into northern Syria did nothing to weaken the siege on Aleppo by Russian and pro-Assad forces. Meanwhile, Moscow is widely believed to have given its assent to Turkish ambitions to take the northern Syrian town of al-Bab, to further its aim of blocking the consolidation of a Kurdish ministate, Rojava, on Turkey’s southern flank,” according to a recent report in the British news publication, The Guardian.  

To the chagrin of Washington, almost all its prominent allies have toned down their support. This is nothing but a manifestation of their lack of trust in the American leadership, as witnessed by Turkey’s recent dalliance with the Russians. Baring Saudi Arabia, no major Muslim country in the Middle East at present has come all out in defence of the America's policies in Syria.

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