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Turkey: Russian ambassador's cold-blooded murder pushes West Asia into further turmoil

Diplomatic immunity was shot eight times in Ankara as the Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov addressed an art gathering.

This assault is not one of those things that just happens. Since the downing of a Sukhoi 24m by a Turkish F-16 in N0vember 2015, relations between Turkey and Russia have been bruised by sanctions from Moscow and the bearing of the brunt of refugees from Syria following the support given by President Vladimir Putin to the Bashar al-Assad regime.

This bloodshed seriously takes things over the edge. The ripple effect caused by what Moscow has already termed a ‘terrorist attack’ in this murder by the decree of a 22-year-old off-duty cop dressed in formal clothing will have severe repercussions. At this moment, no one knows if his act was singular or part of a cruel daisy chain aimed at Russian diplomats around the world for their tacit support to Assad as he crushes Aleppo and makes the region devoid of human life.

 Turkey: Russian ambassadors cold-blooded murder pushes West Asia into further turmoil

Andrei Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, pauses during a speech at the photo exhibition in Ankara. AP

It also places a major onus on the incoming Donald Trump regime in the US because besides second-guessing the theory that Trump and Putin are in bed together, they can never really be on the same side. The maths just does not work this way. Until Trump decides to up the ante and place pressure on Putin to stop the massacre in Aleppo and push the Russian president onto the same page, the immediate future for Turkey is distinctly bleak.

A nation once earmarked to be a superpower and geographically positioned to be the bridge between West Asia and Europe now teeters dangerously on the verge of an abyss that would equate it with Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq as unstable territory and one that could be the next battlefield for the Islamic State to strangle in its grip.

Not just for the region but for the world per se, this killing changes the dynamics and it places Moscow in an aggressive position from which it can now justify by arguing that all its diplomatic staff in the region — if not the globe — are in danger.

That the killer allegedly yelled out his intent and said the assassination was being triggered to save the rest of Aleppo leaves no doubt over the message. It's time for the US to stop vacillating on the sidelines and get stuck in. The direct and more acute message to Russia is that supporting Assad will have consequences. Whether the young cop was part of a group or acting out personal anguish, the fact is that the world today should realise that so long as Russia and the US continue to be at cross-purposes over maintaining or eliminating Assad, the price to pay could well be leading to political bankruptcy.

And it won’t just be West Asia that holds the hot little buck.

This killing has to make Washington and Moscow understand they have to speak the same language or they endanger the whole world.

Today, it's the Russian Ambassador. Tomorrow, who?

It's time for a nation like India to reinvent its foreign policy, look outside its borders and assume the role of at least a regional, if not global, policeman.

We are one country to whom both the US and Russia might listen and end the slaughter of the innocents.

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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2016 09:05:30 IST

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