Ankara: Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov died after being shot by a gunman here late Monday, the embassy announced.
Karlov was shot while making a speech at a painting exhibition in the Turkish capital, the Russian embassy said, adding it believed that it was a radical Islamist attack. The gunman who was dressed in a black suit and tie shot dead the Russian Ambassador as he was speaking at the opening of a photographic art exhibition in the capital city of Ankara, titled “Russia through Turks’ eyes.”
Karlov was envoy since July 2013. The attack comes a day before Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu heads to Moscow for talks on Syria with his Russian and Iranian counterparts.
The gunman shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria. As long as our brothers are not safe, you will not enjoy safety. Whoever has a share in this oppression will pay for it one-by-one. Only death will take me away from here,” according to Turkish security sources.
Three other wounded people were taken to Guven Hospital in central Ankara for treatment.
The gunman was shot dead at the scene and was later identified as 22-year-old Turkish police officer Mevlut Mert Altintas, according to Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu. He had been on duty for two and a half years at the riot police unit in Ankara.
Moscow and Ankara were in the process of normalising ties after the latter shot down a Russian warplane on November 24, 2015 claiming airspace violation.
Erdogan condemns Russian ambassador’s assassination
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has strongly condemned the assassination of Russian ambassador to Ankara, describing it as a “provocation” aimed at ruining Turkey-Russia ties.
“Turkey-Russia relations were vital for the region and those who aim to harm ties are not going to achieve their goals,” Erdogan said in a televised message on Monday.
The Turkish President said he had a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who offered to send security officers to Turkey for the investigation.
Envoy’s killing designed to spoil ties: Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the killing of the Russian Ambassador to Ankara is designed to spoil the Russia-Turkey ties.
Putin said Andrey Karlov’s killing in the Turkish capital was also intended to derail Moscow’s attempts to find, with Iran and Turkey, a solution for the Syria crisis. He said Russian investigators have opened a criminal case into the killing.
In televised comments, Putin, speaking at a special meeting in the Kremlin, ordered security at Russian embassies around the world to be stepped up and said he wanted to know who had “directed” the gunman’s hand. He heaped praise on the murdered Russian ambassador, who was shot at as he gave a speech at an Ankara art gallery, and made clear that Moscow’s response to his assassination would be robust.
US condemns assassination of Russian envoy
Washington: The US has condemned the assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, in Ankara.
“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,” said US National Security Council Spokesperson Ned Price in a statement.
Karlov was shot and killed on Monday at an art exhibition in the Turkish capital of Ankara.