Pro-gov’t media spread false reports linking Russian envoy’s murderer with Gülen movement

Although the possible affiliations of police officer Mert Altıntaş, who assassinated the Russian ambassador to Ankara on Monday night, have not yet been determined, the pro-government media and the Turkish government’s troll army continue to disseminate false stories in an effort to link the gunman to the Gülen movement.

Only few hours after the murder, the staunchly pro-government Sabah daily wrote that the murderer stayed at the residence of journalist Abdullah Bozkurt, who was the Ankara bureau chief of the now-shut-down English-language daily Today’s Zaman. Bozkurt, who wrote for Turkishminute.com that foreign embassies in Turkey are not safe due to increasing anti-Western sentiment in the country, was forced to reveal his official address on Twitter to disprove the allegation.

The troll army also claimed that the murderer attended a Gülen-affiliated prep school during his high school years. Although his mother, currently in detention, denied this claim, millions of other people attended those institutions, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s daughters, son and sons-in-law.CNNTürk as well as Sabah reported that the assailant received a scholarship from a donor who owns a Gülen-linked school in Kuşadası. It turned out that no such school has ever existed in Kuşadası.Officer Altıntaş attended two Erdoğan rallies as part of a security detail in 2014 and 2015, while thousands of police officers have been investigated and purged starting from December 2013.Despite any concrete information as to the possible ties of Altıntaş, Turkey told the US on Tuesday that the Gülen movement was behind the assassination of the Russian ambassadorMeanwhile, the pro-government media had run headlines accusing the Gülen movement, backed by the CIA, of the assassination, that arguably aims to destroy the rapprochement between Turkey and Russia.