Operation against Gülen in Pennsylvania “Russia’s right” – pro-gov't media

Information related to the assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov has brought Moscow to Ankara’s side in its fight against Islamist preacher Fethullah Gülen, Turkish daily Akşam quoted a Russian security expert as saying on Monday.

Furthermore, Washington’s refusal to hand him over means Turkey and Russia have a “right” to conduct an operation against Gülen in the United States where he resides, Russian National Security Academy Deputy Chairman Talat Enveroviç Çetin told Akşam during a visit to Turkey.

Andrei Karlov was gunned down by Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, an off-duty Turkish police officer, during an art event in Ankara. The gunman shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria,” during the filmed attack, before being fatally shot by Turkish security forces shortly afterwards.

Turkish authorities were quick to blame Gülen, a 79-year-old Islamist preacher whose movement is blamed for the failed 2016 coup attempt, as well as a series of other alleged conspiracies. A subsequent joint Russian-Turkish investigation reportedly turned up files linking the assassin to Gülen’s followers.

Meanwhile, Gülenists are working arm in arm with the Armenian diaspora in Russia, Çetin said.

The apparently cooperation against Gülenists is not the only factor Çetin mentioned which isdrawing Ankara and Moscow close. 

Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems has caused an obvious panic among Turkey’s NATO allies, said the security expert, adding that they were bound to “do everything in their power to avoid losing Turkey,” including offering them U.S.-built Patriot missile systems for free as an alternative to the S-400 systems.

“If Turkey leaves NATO, then NATO will collapse, it’s finished,” said Çetin.

At such a juncture, opposing Russian-Turkish relations amounted to “treachery against Turkey,” said Çetin, adding that the two countries were on the right track as “the two lions of the East standing against the West.”