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Turkey Releases Family of Karlov’s Killer | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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President Vladimir Putin consoles the widow of diplomat Andrei Karlov. AFP

Ankara- Joint investigation between Turkey and Russia in the murder of the Russian ambassador to Ankara, Andrei Karlov, continued on Thursday as the Turkish authorities released the relatives of his assassin Turkish policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas.

Both parents, the sister, two uncles and an aunt of the assassin, who was killed right after shooting the diplomat on Monday, were released after questioning in Aydin province in western Turkey.

A group of Russian investigators has been working on the probe in Turkey since Tuesday.

The Russian experts met on Thursday with their Turkish counterparts from the anti-terror and intelligence agency at the headquarters of General Security in Ankara. The meeting lasted more than two hours.

The 18-member Russian team, which includes a translator, is expected to continue its investigations throughout the week.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated that there was “no need to make a secret out of the fact” Altintas was a member of U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen’s group.

Turkey has embarked on a massive crackdown on what it calls the Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO) in the wake of the July coup aimed at unseating Erdogan.

But Erdogan said the assassination of Karlov showed Gulen supporters were still present within the security forces and purges needed to continue.

“I have to say this very clearly — this dirty organization is still within the military, still within the police,” he said.

Russia on Thursday laid to rest Karlov after a packed memorial ceremony in Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin laid red roses at the foot of Karlov’s coffin and spoke with his relatives but left the ceremony without making a statement.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the speakers of both houses of parliament and a large number of Russian officials and diplomats came for condolences.