Turkish court to hold hearings into Russian ambassador’s murder case in next three days

ANKARA, January 8. /TASS/. Hearings into Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov’s murder case will continue in the next three days, Judge Husamettin Otcu, head of the Ankara Heavy Penal Court, said on Tuesday.

All the suspects are expected to testify in court in a span of three days, he said.

On Tuesday, Anil Deger and Layla Gundogan, who were injured on the day of Karlov’s assassination, testified in court and also announced their plans to lodge a lawsuit against the organizers of the crime.

Kadir Samli, who underwent training at a police academy alongside Karlov’s murderer, Mevlut Mert Altintas, testified in court that he “met Altintas at meetings of followers of the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) of Fethullah Gulen, while doing a course at the academy.” Along with this, Samli stated that he had never been a FETO member.

Another suspect told the court about a picnic arranged by FETO followers who criticized and said unpleasant things about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, but sang their praises for Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic preacher who has lived in the United States since 1999.

The judge said at the beginning of the trial that a copy of the indictment had been handed to Karlov’s widow, Marina Karlova. Another copy was submitted to the Russian diplomatic mission.


Twenty-eight suspects

At the end of last November, Ankara’s prosecutors submitted their indictment to the Ankara Heavy Penal Court. The indictment charged 28 suspects, including “Fethullah Gulen, the US-based head of the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO)” and former state employee Sahin Sogut, the sponsor and handler of Karlov’s killer.

According to the judge, some suspects are abroad so they were not present in court on Tuesday. A total of 18 suspects were in the dock. Four of them are taking part in the court trial via video linkup from jail.

Among the prosecutors’ accusations are a breach of the constitutional order, membership in a terrorist organization and a premeditated terrorism-related murder. The assassination was “an act of provocation that targeted Turkish-Russian relations,” the prosecutors stated.


Russian ambassador’s assassination

Andrei Karlov was gunned down while speaking at the opening of a photo exhibition in Ankara on December 19, 2016. The attacker, policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas, was killed on the spot moments later. The Russian Foreign Ministry interpreted the assassination as a terrorist attack. Russia’s Investigative Committee opened a criminal case over an act of international terrorism. Karlov was awarded the title of the Hero of Russia posthumously.

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