The assassination of Andrey Karlov will not herald a downturn in relationsby David Barchard / December 20, 2016 / Leave a comment
When Andrey Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey who was gunned down at an Ankara art gallery opening on Monday evening first arrived in the country in 2013, Turkish-Russian relations were still locked in a post-Cold War chill. His term of office was turbulent. Relations between Ankara and Moscow went through some very bad moments, particularly after Turkey shot down a Russian jet last year.
But Karlov was one of the architects of a revolution in international affairs which has probably permanently transformed the eastern Mediterranean in favour of Russian strategic interests.
Though Russia moved ever deeper into Syria, checkmating Turkey’s original aspirations to evict President Bashar al-Assad and set up a Sunni government in that country, Karlov kept Russian-Turkish relations warm at a time when Turkey’s view of the United States was becoming ever more unfriendly. He was, Turkish journalists recalled after his death, friendly and personable towards the Turkish media in a way that his predecessors had not been. Binali Yildirim, Turkey’s prime minister, declared in a voice shaking with emotion that Karlov had been a true friend and helped him in the task of piloting Turkish-Russians relations back to normal this summer and autumn.