Russian ambassador shot dead in Ankara gallery

By Tuvan Gumrukcu and Umit Bektas | ANKARA The Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot in the back and killed as he gave a speech at an Ankara art gallery on Monday by an off-duty police

By Tuvan Gumrukcu and Umit Bektas | ANKARA

The Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot in the back and killed as he gave a speech at an Ankara art gallery on Monday by an off-duty police officer who shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo” and “Allahu Akbar” as he opened fire.

The Russian foreign ministry confirmed the death of envoy Andrei Karlov, calling it a “terrorist act”. Relations between Moscow and Ankara have long been strained over the conflict in Syria, with the two support opposing sides in the war.

Russia is an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its air strikes helped Syrian forces end rebel resistance last week in the northern city of Aleppo. Turkey, which seeks Assad’s ouster, has been repairing ties with Moscow after shooting down a Russian warplane over Syria last year.

The Ankara mayor said on Twitter the gunman as a 22-year-old police officer. Two security sources told Reuters he was not on duty at the time.

The attacker was smartly dressed in black suit and tie and stood, alone, behind the ambassador as he made a speech at the art exhibition, a person at the scene told Reuters.

“He took out his gun and shot the ambassador from behind. We saw him lying on the floor and then we ran out,” said the witness, who asked not to be identified. People took refuge in adjoining rooms as the shooting continued.

A video showed the attacker shouting: “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!” and “Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest) as screams rang out. He paced about and shouted as he held the gun in one hand and waved the other in the air.

A Reuters cameraman at the scene said gunfire rang out for some time after the attack. Turkey’s Anadolu news agency said the gunman had been “neutralized”, apparently killed.

Another photograph showed four people the ambassador lying on the floor.

“We regard this as a terrorist act,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “Terrorism will not win and we will fight against it decisively.”

russian-ambasador-asassnatiIt was not clear whether the gunman was a lone operator, driven perhaps by popular discontent over Russian action in Syria or affiliated to a group like Islamic State, which has carried out a string of bomb attacks in Turkey in the last year.

Since a failed coup in July, President Tayyip Erdogan has been purging the police of supporters of an exiled cleric and former ally, Fethullah Gulen, whom he characterizes as the chief terrorist threat to Turkey.

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT

Erdogan contacted Russian President Vladimir Putin to brief him on the shooting, a Turkish official said. It was not immediately clear if Erdogan would release a statement later.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was due to meet with his Russian and Iranian counterparts in Russia on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Syria. Officials said the meeting would still go on, despite the attack.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said it would not allow the attack to cast a shadow over Ankara’s relations with Moscow.

“The attack comes at a bad time: Moscow and Ankara have only recently restored diplomatic ties after Turkey downed a Russian aircraft in November 2015,” the Stratfor think-tank said.

“Though the attack will strain relations between the two countries, it is not likely to rupture them altogether.”

The U.S. State Department, involved in diplomatic contacts with Russia in an attempt to resolve a refugee crisis unfolding around the city of Aleppo, condemned the attack.

Tensions have escalated in recent weeks as Russian-backed Syrian forces have fought for control of the eastern part of Aleppo, triggering a stream of refugees.

Turkey has been hit by multiple bomb attacks that have been claimed by Kurdish militants, and beat back an attempted coup in July, where rogue soldiers commandeered tanks, warplanes and helicopters in attempt to overthrow the parliament.

Since then, the government has launched a sweeping crackdown on the judiciary, police and civil service in attempt to root out the coup plotters. The involvement of a police officer in Monday’s attack could raise questions for Ereogan about a force denuded now of a number of senior and rank-and-file officers.

(Additional reporting by Orhan Coskun, Nevzat Devranoglu, Tulay Karadeniz, Ercan Gurses and Gulsen Solaker in Ankara; Humeyra Pamuk and Ece Toksabay in Istanbul; Andrew Osborn and Andrey Ostroukh in Moscow; Writing by Daren Butler and David Dolan; editing by Ralph Boulton and Mark Trevelyan)

Source: Reuters

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14 COMMENTS
  • andom December 19, 2016

    We need a little of this arab gut to kill terrorist ambasadors of eritrea and their terrorist boss in asmara.

    • koubrom December 20, 2016

      We already have the worst one in this region adgom,it’s tplf woyane they are killing so many innocent amhara and oromo.
      ADGOM TRIED EVERYTHING HE COULD AS TERRORIST HE WAS HE FAIL SO LITTLE ADGI ADGOM WORRIES FOR YOURSELF,TIGRAY SOON WILL WHIP OUT

  • k.tewolde December 20, 2016

    ‘remember Alleppo!’ those were his words.’remember the veterans who were murdered in Mai Habar’, ‘remember Lampedusa’, ‘remember Bitweded and thousands like him’, ‘remember wedi Ali’, ‘remember those tens of thousands youngsters who perished in the border war’, ‘remember the thousands who are languishing in shipping containers and dungeons’,last but not least, ‘remember those brothers and sisters who wiped each other a while back for the interest of the few’.The Eritrean has a lot to remember,but conveniently forgot.

  • Teclay December 20, 2016

    Like father,like son .
    1,,,,” We need a little of this arab gut to kill terrorist ambasadors of eritrea and their terrorist boss in asmara.”,,,,,You idiot ,be-careful ! you are calling for terrorism ,,,,,By the way ,did you say “an Arab gut ” ….Are you appreciating the Arabs for killing children ???? Had they had a gut as you claim ,they would not have lost several wars by 3 mil Israels VS 350 mil terrorists….,,,you had better eat your benefit from the west quietly.
    2,,,, “‘remember Alleppo!” ,,,So what??? a terrorist killed unarmed diplomat ….don’t worry,president Putin has already promised to hunt every barbaric Bedewin in the world ….So ,it is a matter of days ,Putin is there ,Trump and the 3- star General Michael are coming .
    Time is Over !!!!!!!

    • AHMED SALEH !!! December 20, 2016

      Teclay
      Following your comments I think you suffer from difficult personality problems .

      • koubrom December 21, 2016

        Ahmed Go away from her, stupid man, how did he suffering from personality problem, are you supporting terrorism too, you so desperate that you wanna kill diplomat ,well ,that will the red line for all of you
        We will hunt you down where ever you live, stupid rat

        • AHMED SALEH !!! December 21, 2016

          Koubrom
          Do not need to be naïve like a parrot repeating western propaganda on
          using terrorism while their involvements destroyed helpless people ..
          A coward has not a gut to conquer wrong but to pretend as nothing took
          place in front his eyes . It doesn’t make a sense to argue with a fool .

          • Koubrom December 21, 2016

            Ahmed
            Remember when Ethiopian soldiers where massacring our people ,destroying many life
            Shabia didn’t torture or kill any prisoners of war
            He share food with them at end allow them safe pass to Ethiopia. Only a confident people can do such think no desperate terrorist.
            By Russia did nothing against the people but its a remedy against terrorism,you master the united state are The one Who finance terrorism around the world.
            M sure you wished the success of their illnesses against our country but it fail.
            Look at bashar fighting to the last for his people
            Imagine Eritrea and m sure you know shabia ,
            What he could do even the west have given up on their regime change agenda.

          • Koubrom December 21, 2016

            By the m sure you were ready to destroy Eritrea in their behalf with your friend agamee,
            Maybe you are one of them changing name to mislead our mighty people by faith and ethnicity as the did to Ethiopia

      • andom December 21, 2016

        Ahmed
        Teclay has identity crises. Just ignore him.

        • Degoli December 21, 2016

          I agree with you, Teclay, the Arab Abeed, burned his own Tigre Tigrinya books to be close to his civilized Arab masters.
          Why does Teclay hate his own languages and identity to become an Arab?

    • andom December 21, 2016

      Rusia is destroying terrorists but also innocent civilians who might be sympatizers of the suni radicals or terrorists. Thus rusia is also commuting crime in its fight to save asad who himself is a terrorist or one of the worst criminals. Both sides are criminals. Helping one side qualifies u a criminal status. The innocent diplomat paid the price.

  • Noory December 22, 2016

    Eritrean Christian are always backward never civilized even they live in west. They have a negative mind and aways accusing Arabe and they go to Arabe countries and say Amuna Amuna. Their women chase Arab Men for few Ryal. I have known you for long time dertiy people . Why do not you safe your people rather accusing Arab in social media deki komarit tsmakit swewa.

    • Tesafai December 22, 2016

      Noory, you dirty Arab Abeed, If you think the savage Muslim Arab world is “pious and clean”, why did an Arab slave or “Aswad Abeed” as the Muslim Arabs call you, run away to ask refuge in the Christian West of USA. Europe and Australia?
      Even if you burned your own Tigre and Tigrinya to be an Arab, your Arab master will always call, rightly, Abeed.
      Unlike you the “Eritrean Christian women” that you are insulting, they speak their own languages and have a long history, they are proud of but an Abeed like you will live and die as a refugee singing: “I am an Arab and my language is not Tigre, not Saho, not Tigrinya. …”

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