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Turkish Embassy Shooters: ‘Statements by the U.S. President Bothered Us’

Turkey United States The damage to a security booth by a shot fired, is seen outside the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. Shots were fired at a security booth outside the embassy in Turkey's capital early Monday, but U.S. officials said no one was hurt. Ties …
AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici

One of the two men arrested for a drive-by shooting attack on the U.S. Embassy in Ankara told police he was upset by negative comments U.S. President Donald Trump has made about Turkey, local media reported Thursday.

“The dollar rate went up recently. The statements by the U.S. president bothered us, therefore we did so. No one has directed or instructed me. I decided to do something like this because I was angered by recent developments,” said shooting suspect Ahmet Celikten.

According to the Kurdish Rudaw news service, Turkish media loyal to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are trying to paint the other suspect in the drive-by shooting, Osman Gundas, as a follower of all-purpose villain Fethullah Gulen. The evidence for Gulenist ties sounds a bit thin:

Gundas shared a sermon of Gulen in 2014 and then showed his support for a group of Holy Quran teachers in February 2016. Their Quran learning center was shut by the government before the coup. The pro-government media have been using these Facebook posts as “proof” of their claim.

Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper reported on Wednesday that there is no evidence to prove that these shooters were directed by a third person according to a security source.   

Turkey’s determination to obtain Gulen’s extradition from the United States and put him on trial for masterminding the 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan has become a source of enormous tension between the two countries.

Celikten and Gundas have been described as ex-convicts who, according to Celikten, had a few drinks and decided to vent their anger at America by pumping three bullets into the door of the security post outside the U.S. embassy. No one was injured in the early-morning attack.

“Celikten, who was born in 1979, was wanted for prison break; he also had a criminal record for causing reckless injury; the other suspect, Gundas, born in 1980, had several criminal records such as causing deliberate injury, drugs and auto theft,” Alibawba News reported on Tuesday.

The story might have gotten a little more complicated on Friday with the news that two more suspects have been arrested in addition to Celikten and Gundas. Detention for the original two suspects has been extended while the new subjects are interrogated by police.

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