Turkey: Family Rejects Body of Russian Ambassador Assassin

FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 file photo, Mevlut Mert Altintas shouts after shooting Andrei Karlov, right, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey. At first, AP photographer Burhan Ozbilici thought it was a theatrical stunt when a man in a dark suit …
AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici

The body of the Turkish policeman who shouted “Allahu Akbar” after shooting and killing the Russian ambassador to Turkey last month remains unclaimed. His family has refused to accept his remains, the state-run Anadolu Agency has learned from judicial sources.

Anadolu Agency reports:

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Forensic Medicine Institute in Ankara completed an autopsy on the policeman’s body on Dec. 21. Since then no one has claimed the remains.

According to the institute, the body of the assailant needed to be claimed within 15 days.

Police findings show Altintas was linked to the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the terrorist group behind Turkey’s failed July 15 coup attempt.

The state-controlled TASS news agency in Russia contradicts this claim, reporting instead that Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), known as the al-Qaeda Syrian branch al-Nusra Front before allegedly dropping its affiliation with international jihadist group, has claimed responsibility for the assassination.

While JFS is no longer officially tied to al-Qaeda, “most Western analysts dismiss JFS’s break with al-Qaida as a feint, seeing it as a long game the jihadist group has been playing for some time across the Middle East and Africa,” according to Voice of America (VOA).

Following the killing of the Russian diplomat, a pro-JFS group distributed the list of Russian embassies, calling for attacks on them. The list surfaced through SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi activity online.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has nonetheless repeatedly accused Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is in self-imposed exiled in the United States, of trying to overthrow his government and various other terrorist attacks in Turkey, as well as the failed coup against him in July 2016. Turkey considers the Gulen movement an official terrorist organization, known as FETO.

Social media accounts affiliated with both Sunni rivals al-Qaeda and the Islamic State seized the opportunity of Altintas shouting “Allahu Akbar” during the assassination to celebrate and capitalize on their message of jihad but did not take responsibility for the action.

Footage of the attack, translated by Shaheryar Mirza, reveals the attacker also yelled, “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria! You will not taste the safety unless our fields are safe! Only death can get me out of here. Whoever has a share in this tyranny will pay for it one by one!”

Both Presidents Erdogan and Vladimir Putin of Russia have said they will not allow the terrorist attack to interfere with their relationship, recently mended after a turbulent year.