Moscow has appointed a new ambassador to Ankara, six months after the killing of Russia’s previous envoy Andrei Karlov.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday, appointing Alexei Yerkhov as Moscow’s new ambassador to Turkey.
“Alexei Yerkhov shall be appointed Russia’s new ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Turkish Republic,” the decree said.
Yerkhov, 57, was the head of Russian Foreign Ministry’s Crisis Management Center and worked with Karlov as the Russian consul in Istanbul.
Karlov was assassinated while delivering a speech at the opening of an art exhibition in Ankara in December last year. The 62-year-old was shot nine times at point-blank range by a 22-year-old assailant, identified as Mevlut Mert Altintas, who was shot dead by Turkish guards afterwards.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that it treated the assault as a “terrorist act.”
Ankara blamed the assassination on the network of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is also accused by the Turkish government of having orchestrated an abortive coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016.
The murder, condemned by the Turkish and Russian leaders as an attempt to sour Ankara-Moscow ties, came as the countries are maintaining cooperation over the Syrian crisis. The two sides have been partaking in several rounds of talks over the war-ravaged Arab country and agreed to set up safe zones there.
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