Arabs divided over assassination of Russian ambassador in Turkey

Debate has flared on social media overnight after the Russian ambassador to Ankara was assassinatedby a Turkish police officer yesterday evening.

In a video of the incident, which has been shared widely, the young killer is heard shouting in Turkish: “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria. Whoever took part in this cruelty will pay the price, one by one.”

Russia has been providing military support to the Syrian regime against rebels in the country, including during its widely-reported recent recapture of Aleppo. Meanwhile, Turkey has armed fighters opposed to Russia’s ally, President Assad.

Monday’s attack has been divisive in the Middle East, not only among supporters of opposing sides in the Syria conflict, but also between those of differing opinions regarding the use of violence. The hashtag “the killing of the Russian ambassador in Turkey” has been setting social media alight:

The following survey of more than 2,000 people on Twitter showed that 69 percent disagree and 31 percent agree with the shooting.

Many in the Middle East have seen the murder as a legitimate act of retaliation over the deaths of civilians in Syria:

I hope that all of the Arab cowards kill the Russian and Iranian ambassadors in their countries. May God bless the killer, alive or dead, oh Lord.

Others, meanwhile, have expressed criticism of those who are revelling in his death, suggesting that more killing is not the solution to Syria’s problems:

Supporters of Russian actions in Syria have also had harsh words to say towards the assassination:
If you were any good, you would have gone and killed him in Russia, rather than waiting for him to be guest with you, and killing him deceptively from behind. Daesh bastards of Turkey you are cowards, Putin’s response is coming from you, from the heroic Russians who are victorious over Daesh in Aleppo and all of the Earth.

Some even suggested the killing was part of a larger conspiracy:
I want to know [why] did the ambassador come alone? No protection from security forces. This is a masterminded assassination. The killer was able to act as he wished. The farce of the age.

This is not the first act of Turkish violence against Russia. Last November relations between the two countries were damaged when Turkey shot down a Russian military jet. However, ties between the nations had been on the mend, following Erdogan’s recent visit to Moscow, and cooperation this week over the evacuation of civilians from Aleppo. It remains to be seen what the fallout from this event is, and how it impacts upon Syria’s crisis.


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