Gulen rejects link to Russian envoy's assassination

Flag-wrapped coffin of late Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov is carried to a plane by Turkish soldiers during a ceremony at Esenboga airport in Ankara, December 20, 2016. Photograph:( Getty )

WION Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India Dec 22, 2016, 09.52 AM (IST)

A US-based Muslim cleric has condemned the killing of Russia's envoy to Turkey and rejected accusations that his movement was behind the attack.

Ambassador Andrei Karlov was shot dead by an off-duty policeman, Mevlut Mert Altintas, in front of stunned onlookers at a photo exhibition in Ankara this week. Altintas had said "Do not forget Aleppo!" and "Allahu Akhbar!".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has implicated Fethullah Gulen in the killing, saying the policeman had links to his movement. Erdogan blames also Gulen for the attempted coup this summer, which Gulen also denied.

In a video address made available to the Associated Press, Gulen accused the Turkish government of blaming and defaming his movement and suggested the government would facilitate other assassinations and blame them on his followers. Gulen said "it is not possible for them to convince the world of such accusations".

Newsweek reports that the ambassador's killer, Altintas, was a member of the Ankara anti-riot police for two and a half years, and had provided personal protection for the Turkish president, Recep Erdogan, eight times since the failed coup in Turkey on July 15.

A ceremony Today in Moscow for Karlov will be attended by President Vladimir Putin.

(WION with inputs from AP)