Russian President Vladimir Putin’s response to the murder of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, is disturbing, to say the least.
Putin jumped at the opportunity to turn one lone murder into a political tool to continue advancing his policies in the Middle East.
According to state-sponsored news site RT, Putin said in a statement:
“This murder is clearly a provocation aimed at undermining the improvement and normalization of Russian-Turkish relations, as well as undermining the peace process in Syria promoted by Russia, Turkey, Iran and other countries interested in settling the conflict in Syria.”
Putin then said the “only response” Moscow “should offer” (has he considered any others?) is “stepping up the fight against terrorism” – a very convenient statement, indeed. This was before he added possibly the most chilling statement of his career:
“The killers will feel it.”
According to the news, the killer has already felt it. He’s dead. He was killed by Turkish special forces who surrounded the building.
The world is already on edge as rumors are starting to spread that this murder is World War III’s version of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the culminating incident that sparked World War I after years of mounting tension.
Though this is a tragic, cold-blooded death that will clearly exacerbate tensions between regional powers, Putin’s violent, warmongering rhetoric in response will not help any attempts to initiate a “peace process.” Aleppo has already been won, and in that sense, Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have already succeeded in achieving their goals.
His advisers should caution him not to get too ahead of himself.