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Kremlin Says Karlov’s Assassination Is “Stab in the Back” - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Moscow – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday the assassination of Russia’s envoy to Turkey was a “stab in the back” for Turkey.

“Turkish side did not want this incident to happen. That is why, this attack was a stab in the back for Turkey too,” Peskov said in an interview with the Mir TV Channel.

The spokesman said the murder was a provocation to Russia, and aimed to disrupt the peace process in Syria.

He noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin considered the killing as a terrorist attack and a blow to Turkey’s prestige.

Peskov said the timing of the incident was not a “coincidence”, describing it as “a unique case in the history of Turkish-Russian relations”.

He added that Putin condemned the attack and called it as a terror act, which aimed at normalization process between the two countries.

He also noted that the assassination was “emotionally very difficult” news for Putin.

The spokesman added that the Russian president had decided to postpone his major annual press conference scheduled for Thursday to Friday in order to attend the funeral of Karlov.

“The president will take part in the mourning ceremonies,” Peskov told Russian news agencies.

Putin signed an executive order awarding Karlov the title of the Hero of the Russian Federation, Kremlin said in Wednesday’s statement.

Karlov was killed on Monday evening at a photography exhibition in Ankara by Mevlut Mert Altintas of the Turkish capital’s riot-police squad.

Peskov said Russia did not believe Altintas acted alone, but refused to explain the reasons for the suspicion.

“We should not rush with any theories before the investigators establish who were behind the assassination of our ambassador,” he said.

The Turkish government has pointed the finger of blame for the killing at exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu telling the U.S. that Gulen’s group was “behind the attack”.