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US dismisses claims it supported Russian envoy killing

'It's a ludicrous claim, absolutely false, there's no basis of truth in it whatsoever,' State Dept. says

Michael Hernandez   | 21.12.2016
US dismisses claims it supported Russian envoy killing John Kirby

Washington DC

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON

The U.S. on Tuesday roundly dismissed claims it was in any way involved in the assassination of Russia's envoy to Turkey.

"It's a ludicrous claim, absolutely false, there's no basis of truth in it whatsoever," State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

Secretary of State John Kerry conveyed the sentiment Tuesday during a telephone call with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Kirby added.

"The secretary in his conversation with the foreign minister did raise his concerns about some of the rhetoric coming out of Turkey with respect to American involvement/support, tacit or otherwise, for this unspeakable assassination yesterday because of the presence of Mr. [Fetullah] Gulen here in the United States," Kirby said.

Andrey Karlov was assassinated after being shot multiple times at an art exhibition in Ankara while delivering a speech. The assailant was 22-year-old Turkish riot policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas, who opened fire on the diplomat before shooting into the air, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent who witnessed the shooting.

Police special forces killed Altintas.

During their talk, Cavusoglu told Kerry the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) was behind the assassination of the Russian envoy, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.

The U.S.-based Gulen is accused of leading FETO in a long-running campaign to overthrow the Turkish state through infiltrating institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, and forming what the government in Ankara calls a “parallel state”.

Turkey has also accused Gulen and his group of masterminding the recent coup attempt there and Ankara has submitted requests to Washington for his extradition.

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