Authorities decided to bury Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, a policeman linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), who shot dead a Russian ambassador in Ankara last month, in a cemetery allocated for unidentified corpses and people without next of kin after his family refused to take his body.
Altıntaş was a young, off-duty riot police officer who entered an art gallery in Ankara's Çankaya on the evening of Dec. 19 last year. Dressed in a suit, Altıntaş quietly waited behind Ambassador Andrey Karlov as he made a speech at an exhibition recorded by TV crews. Then, in a moment that sent shock waves across Turkey and Russia, he shot Karlov in the back. The policeman was later cornered in another section of the gallery and killed in a shootout with police.
The murder "aimed to harm" the recently restored relations between Turkey and Russia, Ankara said after the incident. Both countries pledged to maintain their ties. Tributes have poured in from Turkey for Karlov, who has been described as a diplomat striving to improve the ties strained after Turkey downed a Russian jet that violated its airspace. On Tuesday Ankara's municipality renamed the street where the Russian embassy is located after Karlov.
For Altıntaş's family the murder brought disgrace, and family members, with the exception his sister, refuse to give interviews to the media. Speaking to Habertürk daily last month, a relative of the family said Altıntaş's parents were ashamed of him because of the murder and would not claim the body of "a traitor."
Under regulations the family had 15 days to retrieve the body from coroner's office, but no one showed up to claim it. The coroner's office will now deliver it to the municipality in Ankara, which will handle the burial.
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