The Andrey Karlov Foundation established in Moscow aims to elevate ties between Turkey and Russia, one year after the titular Russian ambassador was shot dead by a gunman in Ankara.
A Turkish businessman will chair the foundation endorsed by the late ambassador's wife Marina Karlova.
Turkish Ambassador to Moscow Hüseyin Diriöz and dignitaries attended an event on Monday night at the Turkish embassy in Moscow to introduce the foundation. A minute of silence was observed in memory of Karlov before the screening of a presentation about the life of the veteran diplomat.
Karlov was speaking at the opening of a Russian-themed exhibition in an Ankara art gallery when he was shot dead by Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, an off-duty policeman who was killed in the ensuing shootout with police in November 2016. The assassination was at a time of thaw between strained Turkish and Russian relations and investigation found out that Altıntaş was linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), blamed for last year's coup attempt in Turkey. Since the murder, Ankara and Moscow gradually made progress in rebuilding their ties that were derailed by the 2015 downing of a Russian fighter jet over the Syrian border by the Turkish military.
"[Karlov] was an exceptional diplomat appreciated by everyone for his personality and success in diplomacy," Diriöz said at the event, noting that the late ambassador served during a "difficult" time. "It is a great loss for our country. I believe the revered memory of Karlov, who exerted efforts to improve our bilateral relations, will serve as a contributing factor to developing the relations," he said.
Naki Karaaslan, who also serves as the chairman of the Russian Turkish Businesspeople Union, has been elected the first president of the foundation. "The peaceful and humane world of respectable Mr. Karlov opened a door for us and led to a better path for us. We, as businesspeople, academics, diplomats, artists etc., came together for a fine purpose. We will both preserve Mr. Karlov's memory and carry out activities to strengthen cultural ties and the friendship between Turkish and Russian nations," Karaaslan said. He said the foundation will also aid children suffering from diseases and poverty and grant scholarships to university students. He added that they would organize conferences, seminars and symposiums in the coming months. A separate event for the promotion of the foundation will be held at the Russian embassy in Ankara on Nov.24.