Russian Ambassador Assassinated in Turkey


Monday, before a crowd to open an art exhibition in Ankara, Andrey Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was shot dead at an art exhibition Monday. Karlov, who was appointed as the Ambassador in Ankara since July 2013, was married, and had a son, according to the Russian Embassy. The gunman shouted “Do not forget Aleppo!” as he opened fire on the Ambassador with 3 other people receiving injuries.

The shooter has been identified as an off-duty police officer Mevlut Mert Altintas. Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Altintas had been working for the riot police squad in Ankara for the past 2 1/2 years. Witnesses said he entered the building with a police ID. While shooting at the Russian ambassador, Altintas can be heard shouting, “”Allahu akbar” and other phrases that have been translated to Do not forget Aleppo, do not forget Syria…we die there every day…We are not safe here in the streets when they are dying over there,” he said. The entire incident was captured on film with the shooter continuing saying, “You’ll never be safe as long as other mothers are unsafe…Keep filming me, only my dead corpse will leave this building.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed revenge for the assassination of Karlov. In an interview that was broadcast on RT, Putin stated that, “We have to know who organized the killing, who gave orders to the assassin.” He continued that all those involved would be punished and that “The fight against terrorism will only be stepped up.” Putin stated of Karlov was an “outstanding diplomat” and said he knew him personally. He called for a memorial to be erected in his honor. Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reported that the gunman had been neutralized. But it was not immediately clear whether the attacker was killed or captured by police.

Russia has been a supporter of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and committed themselves to airstrikes since September 2015 to support the embattled leader of Syria. Putin told the state-run Russia 24 TV in September, “our task is to stabilize the legitimate government and to create conditions for a political compromise … by military means, of course.” Russia also used its veto powers to block a political solution to end the war within the United Nations Security Council. The United States in turn, called out Russia for their involvement in Syria with President Obama stating in his year end’s new conference, “Responsibility for this brutality lies in one place alone: the Assad regime and its allies Russia and Iran.”

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