World Bulletin/News Desk
Chechnya's honorary consul in Turkey, Medet Unlu, was shot dead on Thursday in the Turkish capital of Ankara,, the latest in a series of killings of Chechens and their sympathisers in the country in recent years.
Unlu was shot multiple times at the consulate building in Ankara's Balgat neighborhood and died at the scene. His body was taken to the Forensic Medicine Council (ATK) for an autopsy and police conducted an inspection at the scene of the incident.
Unlu's relatives have claimed that Chechen leader Ramazan Kadirov, the son of former Chechen President Ahmed Kadirov, is behind the murder.
Chechnya is not recognized as an independent state by Turkey, but Unlu was using his office as a consulate office as well, media outlets reported.
An investigation has been launched by the Ankara Public Prosecutor.
Unlu recently said in a televised interview that the two Chechen brothers involved in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings had been chosen as victims, and that his country was being unfairly linked to terrorism.
Many refugees have settled in Turkey from Russia's North Caucasus, which fought two bloody wars with Moscow in the 1990s, including opponents of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, an ex-rebel turned Kremlin loyalist, and the brother of Moscow's most-wanted militant leader Doku Umarov.
Omer Bezirgan, vice president of Imkander, an Istanbul-based organisation that assists refugees from the North Caucasus, said gunmen shot Medet Unlu, a Turkish citizen of Chechen origin, at his office in Ankara on Wednesday evening.
In a statement on its website, Imkander described Unlu as the "indomitable defender of independent Chechnya", a reference to the region's short period of de facto independence from Russia before the government was toppled in the second of the two wars in 1999-2000.
Imkander blamed Russia, Kadyrov and "collaborating governments" for the killing.
Kadyrov's spokesman Alvi Karimov said that the Chechen leadership had never heard of Unlu before, adding that any attempt to link his killing with Chechnya was "absolutely illogical" as the victim was a Turkish citizen.
Imkander's president Murat Ozer said that while Unlu was born in Turkey and had not taken part in the wars, he played a large role working with refugees and was an honorary representative of Chechnya during part of its de facto independence.
Human rights groups accuse Kadyrov's security services of abuses including torture and extrajudicial killings in the name of fighting the rebels.
State news agency Anatolian said that video footage outside Unlu's workplace showed the person who committed the murder was a citizen of Chechnya, but did not give details. It said two men had driven up to the building but only one man had entered.
Ali Bolat, head of the Caucasus Chechen Cultural Association in Istanbul, said it was possible Kadyrov could be behind the shooting but that it could also be a set-up.
There have been several murders of Chechens in recent years in Turkey that remain unsolved. In 2011, three Chechens, one of them closely linked to Umarov, were shot dead in broad daylight on a suburban street in Istanbul.
Kadyrov has repeatedly spoken of his wish to "eliminate" Umarov, whom he blames for threatening the republic's fragile peace and whose whereabouts are unknown.
Last Mod: 23 Mayıs 2013, 18:08