President Vladimir Putin will attend as Russia buries slain ambassador Andrei Karlov on Thursday, the Kremlin said, days after he was gunned down in Ankara by a Turkish policeman.


Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday said Putin had decided to postpone his major annual press conference scheduled for the same day to Friday in order to attend the farewell events for Karlov.


“The president will take part in the mourning ceremonies,” Peskov told Russian news agencies. Veteran diplomat Karlov was shot nine times in the back by off-duty Turkish policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas at the art gallery opening of a show of Russian photography on Monday.

His body arrived back in Moscow late Tuesday after Russian investigators landed in Turkey to help probe the assassination.


The brazen killing stunned Ankara and Moscow, which have rowed repeatedly over the Syria conflict but had recently begun to cooperate closely on the evacuations from war-wrecked Aleppo.


In a similar report, the Turkish policeman behind the murder has been fingered as a member of former president Erdogan’s security team.

The Turkish government has pointed the finger of blame for the killing at exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu telling the US that his group was “behind the attack”.


The young Turkish policeman who killed Russia’s ambassador to Ankara this week had provided security for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan eight times since the July 15 failed coup bid, a report said on Wednesday.


Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22, pumped nine bullets into ambassador Andrei Karlov at an art exhibition centre on Monday evening, before he himself was killed by Turkish police.


Altintas, a member of the Ankara anti-riot police for two-and-a-half years, had been on duty at eight events attended by Erdogan since July, the Hurriyet daily said.


At such events he was part of the second wave of Erdogan’s security after the personal bodyguard team of the president, wrote Hurriyet’s writer Abdulkadir Selvi, known for his contacts in the ruling elite.


Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told US counterpart John Kerry in a phone call on Tuesday that Turkey believed the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who it blamed for the July 15 coup bid, was behind the assassination plot.


Turkish authorities are now investigating possible links of Altintas to Gulen, including a school he attended that was run by the cleric’s group.


Hurriyet’s Selvi said that on the day of the July 15 coup, Altintas had called in sick to the police. But it was not clear what he did that night.


The security forces have now detained 13 people over the attack including close relatives of Altintas, Turkish media reports said.


Meanwhile, a team of 18 Russian investigators arrived in Ankara on Tuesday to take part in a joint probe inside Turkey, an unprecedented move agreed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.






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