Ankara court accepts indictment on Russian envoy murder
A criminal court in Turkey's capital on Friday accepted an indictment stressing the FETO terror group's involvement in the December 2016 assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey.
The indictment recommended various jail terms -- including aggravated life sentences -- for 28 suspects, including Fetullah Gulen, the leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Group (FETO), on charges such as violating the constitutional order, armed terror group membership, and murder with terrorist intent.
Andrey Karlov was assassinated at an Ankara art gallery opening on Dec. 19, 2016 by Mevlut Mert Altintas, an off-duty police officer linked to FETO. During a standoff, Altintas was shot dead by police.
Underlining FETO's involvement, the indictment states that the group plotted the murder -- originally planned for June -- as a "provocation" to harm Turkish-Russian relations ahead of the defeated coup of July 2016 as well as to sow chaos in Turkey.
It said the terror group originally plotted the assassination for June 27, 2016 at an iftar (fast-breaking dinner) program for foreign dignitaries, but called it off when Karlov was unable to attend.
While not disclosing the direct involvement of 12 of the suspects, the indictment recommended their trial on charges of armed terrorist group membership.
The trial is set to begin on Jan. 8.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.