Russian ambassador shot dead in Ankara

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Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was murdered on Monday in Ankara. File photo

The Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot in the back and killed on Monday, while giving a speech at an art gallery. Turkish security sources said the gunman, who shouted “don’t forget Aleppo,” was an off-duty police officer.

“When the ambassador was delivering a speech, a tall man wearing a suit fired into the air first and then took aim at the ambassador,” reported Hasim Kilic, a correspondent for the Turish daily Hurriyet.

According to Kilic, the assassin “said something about ‘Aleppo’ and ‘revenge’.” Monday’s slaying came after days of protests in Turkey over Russia’s intervention in Syria, where it is accused of committing grievous human rights violations.

“He took out his gun and shot the ambassador from behind,” said a witness, who asked not to be identified. “We saw him lying on the floor and then we ran out.”

The gunman was smartly dressed in black suit and tie and stood behind the ambassador as he made his speech at the Cagdas Sanatlar Merkezi exhibition hall. The hall is located in the Ankara’s Cankaya District, where most foreign embassies are located including Russia’s mission.

Karlov was taken to a nearby hospital, however Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters that the ambassador succumbed to his injuries. Several bystanders were also wounded in the attack.

“Today in Ankara as a result of an attack, the ambassador of the Russian Federation to Turkey, Andrey Gennadyevich Karlov, received a wound from which he died,” Zakharova said.

Shortly after the Russian ambassador was taken to hospital, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said the gunman had been “neutralized.”

 

 

The assassin’s motivation appears to be sympathy with the inhabitants of eastern Aleppo, mixed with Islamist convictions. In a widely seen video of the attack, the gunman can be heard shouting “Allah Akbar,” meaning ‘God is Greater’ in Arabic.

Turkish security sources say that the gunman, Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, was an anti-riot policeman who worked in Ankara. However, security sources said the gunman was not on duty when he made the attack.

The Russian Foreign Ministry described the incident as a “terrorist act,” and vowed that: “Terrorism will not pass [unpunished]. We will fight it decisively.”

ARA News and Agencies 

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