The Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot dead by a Turkish police officer at an art gallery in Ankara Monday night.
Ambassador Andrei Karlov, 62, was repeatedly shot in the back at close range by a gunman shouting: ‘Allahu Akbar (God is Great). We die in Aleppo, you die here!’
The shooter then screamed: ‘Stand back! Stand back! Only death will take me out of here. Anyone who has a role in this oppression will die one by one.’ Ambassador Andrei Karlov before the shooting. With the gunman in the background moments before he shot the Russian envoy. Click to enlarge Gunman Mevlüt Mert Altintas, 22, an off-duty member of the Ankara special forces police department, fired into the air before taking aim at the ambassador. The killer was shot dead after a 15-minute standoff with police.
A video of the horrific attack shows Altintas, dressed in a suit and tie, pacing the gallery while brandishing a gun in one hand.Meanwhile the US Security Department reported an ‘ongoing security incident’ outside the US Embassy in Ankara, near to the gallery where Mr Karlov was shot.The assassination follows days of protests in Turkey over Russia’s role in Syria.
Russia officially condemned the shooting as a ‘terrorist act’ as a top Putin ally said it was ‘highly likely’ that it had been planned by the ‘secret services of a Nato country’. Gunman Mevlüt Mert Altintas moments after the shooting shouted “Allahu Akbar (God is Great). We die in Aleppo, you die here”. Click to enlarge Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson branded the attack ‘cowardly’ and ‘despicable’.
Don’t forget Aleppo’
The assailant referenced the situation in Aleppo after he shot the ambassador in the back. “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria,” the attacker said in Turkish after gunning down the ambassador, as seen on a video shared by Turkish media from the scene. “Whoever took part in this cruelty will pay the price, one by one… Only death will take me from here,” the man said while holding a pistol.He then continued in Arabic, saying: “We are the descendants of those who supported the Prophet Muhammad, for jihad.”Diego Cupolo, a photojournalist in Ankara, told Al Jazeera there were about 100 armed soldiers in camouflage and police officers at the scene, along with armoured fighting vehicles.The attack came a day before a meeting of Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign and defence ministers in Moscow to discuss Syria.In a statement tonight, the US State Department condemned the ‘act of violence’, adding: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.’Mr Karlov was shot as he delivered a speech at the opening of an exhibition at the Ankara Center for Contemporary Art, close to the Russian embassy.Altinas shouted in Turkish: ‘Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!’ Before screaming: ‘Stand back! Stand back! Only death will take me out of here. Anyone who has a role in this oppression will die one by one.’ The horrific scene was caught on camera by journalists at the gallery to cover the event. Footage shows the gunman, dressed in a suit and tie, pacing the gallery while brandishing a gun in one hand and waving the other in the air. It is believed he used his police ID to bypass security staff at the exhibition. One pro-Kremlin news website reported that Mr Karlov was shot 11 times. He was taken to hospital but later confirmed dead.
Turkey’s Anadolu Agency has said the gunman has been ‘neutralised’. Reports suggest he was killed by police on site
|The gunman referenced the situation in Aleppo after he shot the ambassador [Burhan Ozbilici/AP]|
Several media outlets reported a gunfight later ensued after Karlov was shot.
“On behalf of my country and my people I once again extend my condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the friendly Russian people,” said Erdogan.
Putin promised a response to the assassination.
“The crime that has been committed is undoubtedly a provocation aimed at derailing the ties between Russia
|The assailant is seen in this photo at the rear on the left [Burhan Ozbilici/AP]|