It was very sad to hear of the armed attack against Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov on Dec. 19 at the opening of a photo exhibition at a gallery in central Ankara. As a matter of fact, despite regional turbulence and tensions, Ankara has always been a safe capital for diplomats and ambassadors.
It’s my observation that only the ambassadors of the United States and Israel attend public meetings with their close bodyguards. This was not the case for Ambassador Karlov who attended receptions, conferences and other meetings without bodyguards, coming only with his wife.
THE LAST TIME A DIPLOMAT WAS KILLED IN TURKEY WAS IN ATTACK IN 1971
The last time a diplomat was killed in Turkey was in an attack in 1971. Israel’s consul-general to Istanbul, Efraim Elrom, was kidnapped by a group of leftist militants who were demanding the release of friends from prison. They shot him dead after their demands were refused.
SINCE THEN, TURKEY HAS BEEN CONSIDERED A SAFE PLACE FOR DIPLOMATS
Since then, Turkey has been considered a safe place for diplomats. This tradition has been broken after the assassination of Ambassador Karlov.
An experienced ambassador who tried to navigate the Turkish-Russian relationship even during very difficult times has now become the latest victim of provocateurs who have tried to ruin the development of these ties.