Russian ambassador's assassin shot him at close range

2016-12-19 22:16
Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, moments before a gunman opened fire, killing him. (Burhan Ozbilici, AP)

Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, moments before a gunman opened fire, killing him. (Burhan Ozbilici, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ankara - A gunman in a suit and tie shouted slogans about Syria's civil war after he killed Russia's ambassador to Turkey in front of stunned onlookers at a photo exhibition in the Turkish capital on Monday, according to an Associated Press photographer who witnessed the shooting. Police later killed the assailant.

Ambassador Andrei Karlov, 62, was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in Ankara when a man fired at least eight shots, according to the AP photographer in the audience.

"Don't forget Aleppo, don't forget Syria!" the gunman shouted in Turkish, referring to the Syrian city where Russian bombardments have helped drive rebels from areas they had occupied for years during the war.

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, according to the AP photographer. The attacker also smashed several of the framed photos hung for the exhibition. There was panic as 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 a 15-minute shoot-out with police ensued before he was killed, Turkey's Anadolu news agency reported.

The attack comes a day before a meeting of Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign and defence ministers in Moscow to discuss Syria. Russia and Iran have backed Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout the nearly six-year conflict, while Turkey has supported Assad's foes.

Tragic

"It's a tragic day in the history of our country and Russian diplomacy," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in televised comments.

"Ambassador Karlov has made a lot of personal contributions to the development of ties with Turkey. He has done a lot to overcome a crisis in bilateral relations," she said. "He was a man who put his heart and his soul into his job. It's a terrible loss for us and also the world."

Karlov joined the diplomatic service in 1976. He served as Russia's ambassador to Pyongyang in 2001-2006, and later worked as the chief of the Foreign Ministry's consular department. He had served as the ambassador to Turkey since 2013.

US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said US officials were aware of reports about the shooting.

"We condemn this act of violence, whatever its source," Kirby said.

The United Nations also condemned the attack.

"There can be no justification for an attack on an ambassador ... and we very much hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice," UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

Melih Gokcek, the mayor for Ankara, told reporters outside the exhibition centre that the "heinous" attack aimed to disrupt newly-re-established relations between Turkey and Russia.

Relations between Russia and Turkey were badly strained by the downing of a Russian warplane at the Syrian border in November 2015, but Turkey's apology earlier this year helped overcome the rift. The leaders of the two countries, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have held several meetings in recent months and spoken frequently over the phone.

Russia and Turkey have co-sponsored the evacuation of civilians and rebels from Aleppo and also discussed the prospect of organising a new round of peace talks in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana.

Turkey has struggled with multiple security threats in recent years, including Kurdish militants who claimed responsibility for a December 10 bombing in Istanbul that killed 44 people, many of them police. The Islamic State group fighting in Syria and Iraq has also been blamed for attacks in Turkey, a Nato member and a partner in the US-led campaign against the group.

Additionally, Turkish security forces and courts remain preoccupied with purging state institutions of the supporters of an exiled Islamist cleric whom the government accuses of staging a failed coup attempt in July.

Read more on:    turkey  |  russia  |  syria

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

How to get rid of fleas

Before you call in the pricey exterminators, try this DIY approach that promises to get your flea problem under control.

 
 

Paws

12 Cool cat facts
Chocolate can be fatal for dogs
Spider-man star's adorable relationship with his dog
Do you know what you are feeding your dog?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.