Russian investigative experts sent to Turkey to help with the investigation into the assassination of Andrey Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, are attempting to crack the killer's iPhone, but doing it without asking Apple for help.
Russia has been deeply involved in the Karlov case after it sent a group of 18 top criminal experts on December 20 to help Turkish police with the assassination investigation.
A day after, Turkish media reported that law enforcement had recovered the attacker's phone, which was an iPhone 4S model.
According to Turkish newspaper Haberturk, the smartphone was protected by four passwords.
The same newspaper says that investigators feel confident that the device can be cracked, albeit they admitted they don't have the tools and expertise to do so.
According to Hurriyet, Turkish officials have decided to ask Russian forensics experts to help crack the killer's iPhone.
In an emailed statement to 9to5Mac, Apple confirmed Turkish officials had not reached out on this matter, despite several (inaccurate) reports that said Turkey and Russia had asked the company for help.
By asking Russian tech experts first, Turkish government officials have avoided entering into a long drawn out legal battle with Apple.
The Cupertino-based tech giant refused in early 2016 to help the FBI crack the iPhone belonging to Rizwan Farook, one of the attackers in the San Bernardino mass shooting.
The FBI eventually cracked the iPhone after supposedly paying more than $1.3 million to an Israeli forensics company.
Just like the FBI, Turkish officials hope to uncover further evidence on the attacker's iPhone that might help them track down potential collaborators.
Russia's Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was shot dead while giving a speech at an art gallery on Monday, December 19, 2016.
The killer was an off-duty Turkish police officer by the name of Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, who was shot dead by police forces a few minutes later.