ANKARA, December 20. /TASS/. Diplomats and officials gathered at the Russian Embassy in Ankara on Tuesday to honor late Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov, killed in a terrorist attack on December 19, 2016.
Sources in the Russian diplomatic mission told a TASS correspondent that more than 70 foreign embassies in Ankara have sent their representatives to the event.
After a minute of silence was observed and the anthems of Russia and Turkey were played, current Russian Ambassador to Ankara Alexei Yerkhov said that Karlov "devoted the last period of his life to strengthening and developing ties with the Turkish Republic."
"It seems to me that the best monument to Andrei Gennadyevich [Karlov] will be practical steps to put his cause into practice. The the best way to pay respects to him will be kilometers of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, reactors that generate power at the Akkuyu NPP, millions of Russian tourists visiting Turkey, improved bilateral trade and reinforced bilateral cooperation in all areas, at all levels, in all directions," the Russian envoy said.
Berat Conkar, a lawmaker from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party also came to pay tribute to the late Russian envoy.
"Andrei Karlov was a successful ambassador, he made a serious contribution in the development of relations between our states. He also was an outstanding person, who rightfully deserved respect of the Turkish society. This is our common loss. An investigation into his murder will continue unless all the details of this tragedy become clear to us," the Turkish lawmaker said.
Tuesday marks the first anniversary of the death of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov. He was gunned down on December 19, 2016, while delivering a speech at a photo exhibition. The attacker, an off-duty police officer named Mevlut Mert Altintas, was immediately killed by security forces. Russia’s Foreign Ministry officially declared the ambassador’s murder a terrorist attack, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case labeling Karlov’s assassination an act of international terrorism. Andrei Karlov was posthumously awarded the title of the Hero of Russia.
Earlier on Tuesday, Turkey’s Sabah daily quoted the Prosecutor’s Office as saying in an official statement that the killer had connections with exiled Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). According to investigators, Gullen was received all information about the attack on his mobile phone.
Ankara holds Gulen, who has resided in the United States starting from 1999, and his organization FETO responsible for masterminding the July 15, 2016 government coup attempt.