To be clear, the assassination of the Russian envoy was no crime of passion. The shooter wasn't trying to avenge the civilian losses in Aleppo but rather send a message on behalf of his masters
The assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov in the Turkish capital shows which direction the world is headed in. Needless to say, there are many red flags surrounding the envoy's death. Watching the footage of the gunman waiting for the right moment to strike, one can't help but think how his actions could affect Turkey's relations with Russia, the Syrian peace process, the emerging balance of power between Moscow and Washington and the future role of China in the international arena.
To be clear, this was no crime of passion. The shooter wasn't trying to avenge the civilian losses in Aleppo but rather send a message on behalf of his masters. The Karlov assassination was clearly intended to derail the rapprochement between Ankara and Moscow. It's a well-known fact that Fetullah Gülen, the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) leader who currently lives in the United States, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart. One of the first world leaders to become aware of the threat posed by the group, Russia's Vladimir Putin identified Gülen's people as CIA operatives and cracked down on their networks in his country. Mr. Erdoğan took similar steps in recent years to contain and neutralize the Gülenist shadow state in Turkey. The steps taken by Turkish and Russian authorities alone would be enough for Gülen to take a hit on a diplomat best known for his support for the ongoing process in Syria.
The high-profile killing is also related to Donald Trump's surprise election victory in the United States. Fetullah Gülen and his sponsors in the U.S. government sent a strong message to the president-elect by having the Russian envoy murdered in front of cameras. Having pledged to reach out to the Russians on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump raised eyebrows in Washington, where a large number of people are rooting for more tensions with the Kremlin and a more complicated situation in the Middle East – in particular, Syria.
The Russian government's decision to raise the issue at the U.N. Security Council was clearly intended to show the Americans where Moscow stood on the issue. According to diplomatic sources, Mr. Putin wanted to show Washington that he knew who had taken the hit on his envoy.
One way or another, the Trump administration's efforts to work with Russia will be clouded by the assassination. The president-elect picked a pro-Russia secretary of state and made it clear that his priority will be China as opposed to Russia. With a Republican in the White House, the Americans could seek to work with countries like Turkey and Russia more closely in order to form a united front against Beijing.
To understand why Washington would become friends with Moscow, it is useful to recall the words of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who told a German newspaper last year that "the West must recognize that the agreement [in Syria] cannot be reached without Russia." It's also important to note that Mr. Kissinger traveled to Moscow earlier this year to call on Russia and the U.S. to develop a new "strategic concept." Under the circumstances, it's only natural for the president-elect and Mike Flynn, his national security advisor who famously called Gülen "the Bin Laden of Turkey," will think long and hard about the Russian envoy's murder.
Here's the lesson we should draw from the most recent developments: Certain people have been creating chaos around the world and they continue to threaten us all. The Obama administration, which pledged to restore peace and stability in the Middle East, did the exact opposite by arming terrorist groups, including PKK and the People's Protection Units (YPG), and supporting the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey. In the final weeks of the Obama presidency, the same group wanted to kill two birds with one stone – only to realize that the people who lead Turkey and Russia wouldn't buy into some cheap ploy. If Mr. Trump keeps his promises to American voters, the Russian envoy's death can be easily avenged.