Shortly after the Russian Ambassador to Ankara, Andrei Karlov, was murdered while giving a speech at an exhibition opening, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin defined the act as “a provocation designed to sabotage the rapprochement between Russia and Turkey and the peace process in Syria, which is actively promoted by Russia, Turkey, Iran and other countries interested in resolving the inter-Syrian conflict. There can be only one answer: stepping up the fight against terrorism,” Putin went on to say. The attacker was an off-duty Turkish police officer who had carefully plotted the act.
In Bucharest, the geopolitical strategy expert Alexandru Grumaz reached a first conclusion: Turkey seems unable to ensure the protection of the diplomatic corps in the current hostile security environment:
Alexandru Grumaz: “The death of the Russian Ambassador is not only the death of an official who was supposed to be protected by Turkey’s security forces, but it is also a problem for Ankara. Turkey already has a number of problems, both with the USA as regards the US allies fighting against the Bashar al-Assad regime, and with Russia. And I would like to remind you of the incident a year ago, when Turkey shot down a Russian aircraft in Syria. Turkey currently wages three wars in Syria, which makes it almost impossible for it to secure its own interests in that region.”
Unlike a year ago, when the incident mentioned by Alexandru Grumaz took place, the assassination of Karlov encouraged the dialogue between Ankara and Moscow, and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia appreciated the prompt response of the Turkish authorities. “Our relationship with Russia is very important for us and crucial for this region. So I tell all those who plan to weaken this relationship: your expectations will not come true. We have proven that we respect our commitment and will continue to do so with the same determination,” the President of Turkey, Recep Erdogan said in his turn.
Turkey has been targeted by several terror attacks in recent months. The one in Ankara, however, is the first one against a foreign diplomat. This dramatic incident once again highlighted the need to find a solution to the situation in Syria. Shortly after the incident, Russia, Turkey and Iran, all of which support parties in the Syrian conflict, voiced their willingness to broker an agreement between Damascus and the opposition. Here is the Radio Romania correspondent in Russia, Alexandr Beleavschi:
Alexandr Beleavschi: “For the first time, the foreign ministers signed a joint declaration, indicating the intention of the three countries to take the political initiative in settling the Syrian crisis, which, as the declaration emphasizes, cannot have a military solution. It is also for the first time that Russia, Turkey and Iran voiced their willingness to broker and guarantee a deal between Damascus and the opposition, an intention which is mentioned in the joint declaration, which stipulates that this agreement may become the basis for a political process to settle the Syrian crisis. The declaration supports the decisions of the UN Security Council concerning Syria, and another first is that it only takes note of the decisions of the international Syria support group, which was unable to implement its decisions, as Sergey Lavrov said.”
On the same day that the Russian Ambassador was shot, another attack killed and wounded people, this time around in Berlin, where a truck rammed into the crowd taking part in a Christmas street fair. The attack came as a shock in a city with a longstanding Muslim community and not hit by the terrorist threat until then, the Romanian ambassador to Berlin, Emil Hurezeanu told Radio Romania:
Emil Hurezeanu: “Germany does not have a high-level terrorist alert. Although several sporadic, isolated attacks took place in the south of Germany last summer, the atmosphere in Berlin in this respect is completely different from what happens in Paris or Brussels, as regards terror attacks. Berlin is not a city hit by terrorism, filled with police forces and so on. It is a city that has resolved its multicultural problems, to be euphemistic. There is an established Islamic community here, there are large Turkish neighbourhoods, with people who have been living here for decades. Over the past year and a half a lot of refugees from the Middle East have been sent here as well, but this attack has come as a huge surprise, as a shock.”
Speaking after the attack that left Germany in mourning, Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose open policy on migration is blamed for the death of innocent citizens, admitted that the attack had deeply affected her. Even her allies and supporters now call for a change in Germany’s security and immigration policy. The Christian Social Union in Bavaria, an ally of the Christian Democratic Union headed by Angela Merkel, said the country owed it to the victims, to their families and to all its citizens to rethink and change the immigration and security policy.