From the moment His Excellency Andrey Karlov was assassinated in Ankara, many people started pinning the blame on Western hands. Some said it was a CIA plot, while those close to President Erdogan continue to blame Fethullah Gülen who is exiled in the United States. The assassin trained to be a policeman in Izmir, a hotbed for Gülen supporters. This could be incidental but cannot be ignored.
Today, however, Al-Nusra, the Al-Qaeda branch of terrorists who had occupied much of East Aleppo until its recent liberation, have now claimed responsibility for the attack. Terrorist organisations frequently claim responsibility for acts they wish they had committed in addition to those which they actually execute. This could be the case with Al-Nusra, but if the statement is true, the implications are far reaching.
Since the Battle of Aleppo commenced, the US State Department employed every deceptive trick in the book in order to shelter Al-Nusra from violence. Up until the victory for Syria in the Battle of Aleppo, the US pinned its hopes of regime change on an Al-Nusra victory. Al-Nusra is deeply tied into the chain of terror funded by Saudi and Qatari money, often laundered by the Turkish deep state.
All of this means that if the assassin was an agent of Al-Nusra, by extrapolation he was an agent of elements of the regimes in the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the same states which have been working to undermine the sovereignty of Syria and the strength of its legal government. All of the sudden the conspiracy theory about a western hand turns to fact.
Erdogan is something of a gambler, he needs Russian cooperation in business yet tries to work against the interests of Russia internationally whenever able. This has been especially true in Syria. However, Erdogan owes his life to Russia in many ways. It was Russia who tipped Erdogan off about the July coup attempt. This allowed him to flea and make an appeal to his supporters to resist the coup. Had Russia not done this, there could have been regime change in Ankara.
Furthermore, Russia was the first foreign power to condemn the coup whilst America remained comfortably mum. The sword of Damocles which for so long hung over Erdogan’s head is now brushing against his throat. The need for Turkey to cooperate with Russia for pragmatic reasons has transformed into a need for cooperation based on self-preservation.
Russia has already been far too tolerant of Turkey’s illegal and counterproductive role in Syria. Hopefully the trilateral peace talks between Russia, Iran and Turkey will change this trajectory. Erdogan cannot afford any more trouble. His cooperation with Russia over the investigation into the assassination does give one hope that the mad Sultan may realise that like a cat, he has a finite number of political lives.
If the assassin was indeed an agent of Al-Nusra, the blame for the killing is in fact shared by all of Al-Nusra’s benefactors and big league supporters. The investigation will hopefully bring more facts on this matter to light.