Following Monday’s gripping, gruesome assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov by 22-year old riot police officer Mevlut Mert Altintas in the capital city of Ankara, Turkish authorities detained six people Tuesday linked to the gunman.
Turkish police arrested the shooters parents, sister, two other relatives and a roommate.
As politicians, policymakers and pundits try to make sense of the event, a senior Turkish security official told Reuters that he alleges the shooter has ties to the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned Gulen as a terrorist, blaming him for July’s failed coup in the country.
Gulen, however, has denied involvement in the assassination.
"I condemn in the strongest terms this heinous act of terror," he said in a statement, as reported by The Middle East Eye. "No terrorist act can be justified, regardless of its perpetrators and their stated purposes."
Both countries said that in the wake of the attack bilateral ties will not be damaged. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the attack was aimed at derailing Russia's attempts to find, with Iran and Turkey, a solution for the Syria crisis.
The Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers will meet in Moscow Tuesday to discuss the crisis in Syria.
The United States has also closed its embassies in Ankara, Istanbul and Adana following the arrest on Monday of a man who stood in front of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and unloaded eight shotgun blasts into the air. No injuries or casualties have been reported.