Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was fatally shot while attending an exhibition in Ankara.
Karlov was several minutes into a speech at an embassy-sponsored exhibition, Ankara, when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted “Allahu akbar” and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience.
CCTV’s Michal Bardavid reports.Follow Michal Bardavid on Twitter @michal_bardavid
Russian ambassador fatally shot in Turkey; Assailant yells "We die in Aleppo, you die here"Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was fatally shot while attending an exhibition in Ankara.Karlov was several minutes into a speech at an embassy-sponsored exhibition, Ankara, when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted "Allahu akbar" and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience.CCTV's Michal Bardavid reports.
The attack comes a day before a meeting of Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign and defence ministers in Moscow to discuss the ongoing Syrian civil war.
“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,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
“We regard this as a terrorist act.”
During the attack, the gunman shouted in Turkish “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!” He also shouted “Allahu akbar,” the Arabic phrase for “God is great” and continued in Arabic: “We are the descendants of those who supported the Prophet Muhammad, for jihad.”
The gunman approached Karlov as he lay on the ground and shot him at least one more time at close range, the AP photographer said. The attacker also smashed several of the framed photos hung for the exhibition, as panicked people ran for cover. Three other people were wounded in the attack, Turkey’s NTV television said.
After shooting the ambassador, the gunman climbed to the second floor of the same building and was killed after a 15-minute shootout with police, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported.
Russia is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its air strikes were instrumental in helping Syrian forces end rebel resistance last week in the northern city of Aleppo. President Tayyip Erdogan, however, has been an opponent of Assad.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu identified the gunman as Mevlut Mert Altintas. He said Altintas, who was born in 1994, had been an officer with Ankara’s riot police squad for more than two years. Soylu did not give a motive for the attack. An unconfirmed image shared by Michael Horowitz on Twitter, shows the gunman as a member of the Turkish riot police named Mert Altintas.
At least three other people were shot and special forces were called to the scene as local media reported hostages were being held.
According to Russian state media, security around the Russian embassy and other facilities has been intensified following the attack.
Russian spokeswoman Zakharova spoke on the loss of Ambassador Karlov to the diplomatic community:
“For us this is an enormous loss. It’s a loss for the whole world, because our ambassador (Karlov), the ambassador of Russia in Turkey, in recent years a large part of his efforts were involved in the Syrian peace process and stabilisation of the region. Working in this country and being aware of all the difficulties in the internal and foreign politics environment, he understood that the stability of the region is related in a large way to general stability (in the world). And our foreign colleagues need to understand this.”
Andrey Karlov has been the Russian ambassador to Turkey since 2013. He has been a part of the diplomatic service since 1976.
A graduate of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations he was an experienced diplomat, serving in many positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the former Soviet Union and Russia.
The White House released a statement from NSC spokesperson Ned Price condemning the attack.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of Ambassador Karlov and the other victims, and we offer our condolences to the Russian people and Government. This heinous attack on a member of the diplomatic corps is unacceptable, and we stand united with Russia and Turkey in our determination to confront terrorism in all of its forms.”
Peter Vincent discusses Russia-Turkey relations
The assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey has continued to strain ties between the two countries, as they try to work together on issues like Aleppo. To further discuss the recent and future Russia-Turkey relations, CCTV America’s Susan Roberts spoke with Peter Vincent, assistant director general for International Policy at BORDERPOL.