By Hussain Saqib

The worst has started happening. As if twin bombing attacks in Turkey were not enough to dissuade Tayyip Erdogan from pursuing his romance with Russia, a gunman believed to be a security official, killed Andrei Karlov, Russian Ambassador to Turkey in Ankara today while he was participating in some event at the art gallery. This art gallery is situated in close proximity of the American Embassy in Ankara prompting Americans to issue warnings to its citizens.

According to media reports, the assassin, dressed in a suit and tie, shouted in Turkish: “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria. Unless our towns are secure, you won’t enjoy security. Only death can take me from here. Everyone who is involved in this suffering will pay a price.”

It now seems that both Russia and Turkey will have to cross the river of blood to pursue their common objective in Syria. Erdogan, after having severed all ties with Turkey’s erstwhile ally, the US, ran the risk of destabilization in Turkey, a warning shot to dissuade him from getting dangerously close to Russia.

Turkey being one of the neighbours of Syria cannot disassociate itself from bloody developments taking place next door. Besides, a sizeable Turkman population living in Syria is exposed to death and mayhem at the hands of Syrian Civil War being fought amongst a host of groups and foreign powers who want to redraw the map of Middle East according to their own strategic plans and world order. In this situation, Turkey’s alliance with Russia means it is opposed to rebel groups fighting the regime of Bashar al Assad. These groups, which also include the dreaded ISIS, have full support of countries like the US, UK, France and Saudi Arabia.

It should be kept in mind that long before changing course of its diplomacy, Turkey was accused of harbouring ISIS terrorists.

These groups fighting Syrian Army also have terrorists in their ranks which have highly charged jihadists who can die for the cause of the groups. The attacker who killed Russian envoy is a similarly charged jihadist who was on a mission to teach Russians and Turks a lesson.

The assassination is unfortunate, particularly a Russian ambassador getting killed in Ankara carries a lot of diplomatic repercussions. Will it drive wedge between Russia and Turkey or, knowing well the forces behind this killing, will it strengthen their resolve to fight together the forces that are creating instability in the region. In all probability, it will strengthen the alliance.

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