Virtual machine wiped Russian ambassador’s assassin’s telephone - Turkish prosecutor

Following Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş’s assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov, unknown individuals accessed his smartphone using a virtual machine and deleted his emails and social media messages, secular Hürriyet newspaper said the case file had revealed.

Altıntaş, a 22-year-old off-duty policeman, shot Karlov dead at the opening of a Russia-themed photographic exhibition in central Ankara on Dec. 19, 2016, then shouted out “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!” in an apparent reference to Russian support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war.

The prosecution says members of the Fethullah Gülen movement were behind the killing and that they had connected remotely to Altıntaş’s phone to delete his data after the event.

But Hürriyet said they had used a VPN from an U.S. firm which did not keep logs of user activity, and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation was not able to help with the discovery of the deleted contents of his email.

The Turkish government accuses followers of Gülen of carrying out the July 2016 coup attempt.