By Julian Borger
The high-profile murder of a Russian diplomat in Ankara has inspired fearful comparisons with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 — and prompted some to speculate that Monday’s killing could also provide the spark for a regional conflagration.
But Turkish and Russian leaders moved rapidly to contain any damage to relations between the two countries, and analysts said that Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin are likely to find common ground in the desire to assign blame to their perceived strategic adversaries.
Both Ankara and the Kremlin announced that a meeting of foreign and defense ministers from Russia, Turkey and Iran to discuss the three allies’ next steps in Syria is to go ahead as planned in Moscow.
Erdogan called Putin to discuss the killing of Andrei Karlov and said afterwards they had agreed that “our cooperation and solidarity fighting terrorism should be even stronger”.
Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish commentator, said Erdogan and Putin will each want to point the finger at their perceived antagonists. “Both sides believe in a western conspiracy to set them against each other,” he said.