A Turkish policeman crying “Aleppo” and “revenge” shot dead Russia’s ambassador to Turkey at an art exhibition in Ankara on Monday, in what Moscow said was a “terrorist act”. Gruesome scene and its aftermath was captured by television cameras covering the exhibition.
Ambassador Andrei Karlov died of his wounds after the shooting, which occurred on the eve of a key meeting between the Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers on the Syria conflict.
“We qualify what happened as a terrorist act.” The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin had been informed of the attack.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan personally called and spoke with the Russian President Vladimir Putin to inform him about the shooting of Moscow’s ambassador to Ankara, a Turkish official said. Both strongmen enjoy an increasingly closer relationship since the failed factional coup attempt in Turkey. Most in Turkish government believe that Gullenists who carried out the coup attempt were supported by the United States – a charge US furiously denies.
Russia and Turkey, once fierce opponents on Syrian situation are now working closely to evacuate citizens; latest ceasefire in Aleppo was the result of negotiations between Turkish Intelligence and Russian military. Both powers are trying to achieve some sort of stability in the region. However in recent days there have been severe protests in Turkey on Russia’s alleged role in the killings in Aleppo. Russians deny these allegations.
The mayor of Ankara identified the attacker as a Turkish policeman. Assassin had security clearance to enter the exhibition area – not open to public as such. Its not clear whether he was one of the staff deputed there or just some one who managed security clearance.
The shooting took place at the Cagdas Sanatlar Merkezi, a major art exhibition hall in the Cankaya district of Ankara where most foreign embassies are located including Russia’s mission.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu was at the scene to supervise a police operation, Turkish television said.
The attack comes a day before Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, Assad’s other key ally, were to hold unprecedented tripartite talks on the Syria conflict in Moscow.