The trial has opened of 28 people accused of involvement in the 2016 killing of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, including U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for a failed coup the same year.

An off-duty police officer fatally shot Andrei Karlov at a photo exhibition in Ankara on Dec. 19, 2016. The officer was later shot dead at the scene by police.

Turkish prosecutors say Gulen’s network was behind the killing, which they say aimed to derail warming ties between Turkey and Russia. Nine people were arrested. Others, including Gulen, are on trial in absentia on Tuesday.

Prosecutors are seeking life prison sentences for some of the defendants and maximum 15-year terms for others.

Gulen has denied involvement in the coup and in Karlov’s killing.

FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 file photo, Andrei Karlov, then Russian Ambassador to Turkey, pauses during a speech at a photo exhibition in Ankara, moments before Mevlut Mert Altintas, seen background left, opened fire on him and killed him. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)
FILE – In this Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 file photo, Andrei Karlov, then Russian Ambassador to Turkey, pauses during a speech at a photo exhibition in Ankara, moments before Mevlut Mert Altintas, seen background left, opened fire on him and killed him. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)
Members of the media work outside a court in Ankara, Turkey Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, where a trial has opened against 28 people accused of involvement in the 2016 killing of Russia's ambassador to Turkey. (AP Photo/Ali Unal)
Members of the media work outside a court in Ankara, Turkey Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, where a trial has opened against 28 people accused of involvement in the 2016 killing of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey. (AP Photo/Ali Unal)
An armed police officer guards the perimeter of a court in Ankara, Turkey, on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, where a trial has opened against 28 people accused of involvement in the 2016 killing of Russia's ambassador to Turkey. (AP Photo/Ali Unal)
An armed police officer guards the perimeter of a court in Ankara, Turkey, on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, where a trial has opened against 28 people accused of involvement in the 2016 killing of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey. (AP Photo/Ali Unal)
Members of the media work outside a court in Ankara, Turkey, on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, where a trial has opened against 28 people accused of involvement in the 2016 killing of Russia's ambassador to Turkey. (AP Photo/Ali Unal)
Members of the media work outside a court in Ankara, Turkey, on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, where a trial has opened against 28 people accused of involvement in the 2016 killing of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey. (AP Photo/Ali Unal)
A man walks towards a court in Ankara, Turkey, on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, where a trial has opened against 28 people accused of involvement in the 2016 killing of Russia's ambassador to Turkey. (AP Photo/Ali Unal)
A man walks towards a court in Ankara, Turkey, on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, where a trial has opened against 28 people accused of involvement in the 2016 killing of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey. (AP Photo/Ali Unal)
FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 file photo Mevlut Mert Altintas, an off-duty policeman, shouts after shooting Andrei Karlov, right, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)
FILE – In this Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 file photo Mevlut Mert Altintas, an off-duty policeman, shouts after shooting Andrei Karlov, right, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)
FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 file photo, gallery goers cower after off-duty policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas shot and killed Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)
FILE – In this Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 file photo, gallery goers cower after off-duty policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas shot and killed Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)

Source: The Associated Press

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