Erdogan says alliance with Russia unaffected by Karlov killing
ANKARA - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday he had agreed with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the assassination of Moscow's ambassador to Ankara would not harm cooperation between the two countries, including on Syria.
"We share the same understanding with Mr Putin that our expanding areas of cooperation with Russia, particularly on Syria, will not be hampered by this attack," Erdogan said in Istanbul after speaking by phone late Monday with Putin over the killing of ambassador Andrei Karlov.
The veteran diplomat was shot in the back by Turkish policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22, in a brazen attack as he opened an exhibition of Russian photography on Monday in the Turkish capital Ankara.
The killing has shocked Turkey and Russia, which have diverging views over the nearly six-year conflict in Syria.
Turkey and Russia decided to set up a joint commission to investigate the assassination, with a Russian delegation arriving in Ankara on Tuesday to inspect the scene.
Referring to his telephone conversation with Putin, Erdogan said "We agreed that this treacherous attack is an open provocation aiming at Turkish-Russian relations," adding: "We will never allow our relations with Russia to be undermined" by the assassination.
Erdogan said the assailant "paid the price" immediately after the attack when Turkey's special forces killed him after a shootout.