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Suspect in Russian ambassador’s assassination placed in custody in Turkey — TV

The hearings were postponed until February 11 for unspecified reasons
Ankara Palace of Justice Denis Solovykh/TASS
Ankara Palace of Justice
© Denis Solovykh/TASS

ANKARA, January 11. /TASS/. A court in the Turkish capital of Ankara, dealing with particularly serious crimes, ruled to place in custody Abdulsamet Kekeci, one of the suspects in the murder of the Russian ambassador, Turkey’s NTV channel reported on Thursday.

According to the Sabah newspaper, the hearings were postponed until February 11 for unspecified reasons.

Another suspect in the case, Mustafa Timur Ozkan, who organized an exhibition where Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was assassinated on December 19, 2016, denied any involvement, the Anadolu news agency reported.

"I don’t know who organized the assassination, I know that the movement led by [Islamic scholar Fethullah] Gulen had no relation to the exhibition which I organized myself. I received no instructions about that. The idea and concept of the exhibition are mine," Ozkan was quoted as saying during the court session. "I love my motherland and my nation, but I was accused of cooperating with an illegal religious organization. Not only is this inadmissible, but also shameful for me."

According to Ozkan, he started organizing the exhibition after receiving a request from staff of the Russian embassy in Turkey.

The first hearing into the case of Ambassador Karlov’s murder was held in the Ankara Heavy Penal Court on Tuesday. The indictment lists 28 people as suspects, including "Fethullah Gulen, the US-based head of the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO)" and former state employee Sahin Sogut, who allegedly gave the order to kill the Russian diplomat to the perpetrator.

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, police officer 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.