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Russian ambassador to Turkey shot dead in Ankara art gallery

Police have reportedly killed gunman who fired at least eight times while Andrei Karlov was giving speech

The Russian ambassador to Ankara has been killed in a gun attack at an art gallery in the Turkish capital, Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed. Reports suggested the gunman was a Turkish riot police officer.

Andrei Karlov was attending the opening of an exhibit at a contemporary arts centre when he was attacked on Monday evening. He was several minutes into a speech at the exhibit when a man shouted “Allahu Akbar” and fired at least eight shots, video of the attack showed.

After firing at the ambassador, the man, dressed in a suit and tie, shouted in Turkish: “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria. Unless our towns are secure, you won’t enjoy security. Only death can take me from here. Everyone who is involved in this suffering will pay a price.”

He also shouted in Arabic: “We are the one who pledged allegiance to Muhammad, to wage jihad.”

RIA Novosti reported that Karlov died at the scene, which was later confirmed by the Russian foreign ministry.

Local media, citing security guards at the scene, said the killer showed a police ID to enter the gallery. The pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper claimed he was in the Ankara riot police. In video, he could be seen standing calmly behind Karlov before pulling out a pistol and opening fire.

Turkish special forces surrounded the gallery and killed the attacker, according to reports.

The Russian foreign ministry said it was in contact with Ankara over the events, and had received assurances that those responsible would be punished. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, called an urgent meeting with his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the heads of the security services.

Karlov had been part of discussions between Russia and Turkey that led to an evacuation of east Aleppo getting under way late last week. He had also been a central conduit to the Turkish government’s rapprochement with Moscow in April.

Locator map for shooting

The killing throws into doubt the deal behind the ongoing evacuation of civilians in besieged east Aleppo, an agreement that was brokered by Turkey and Russia.

A source with knowledge of the negotiations said Moscow was the main reason the deal did not fall apart over the weekend despite the objections of Iranian and jihadi interlocutors. It is likely Moscow saw the survival of the deal as necessary to shore up its claims to great power status.

In recent days, protests in Istanbul against Russian involvement in Syria, including in front of the Russian consulate on the city’s famed İstiklal Avenue, have occurred on a regular basis. The protests have often had a significant Islamist contingent.

The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, was due to travel to Moscow on Tuesday for talks with his Russian and Iranian counterparts.

Russia and Turkey have recently gone some way towards mending their relations , which went into a freeze after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter plane in November 2015.

Fatih Öke, a former press attache in Turkey’s embassy in Washington DC, tweeted: “The bullet to Ambassador Karlov is not only aims him. It aims also Turkish-Russian relation.”

US state department spokesman John Kirby said: “We condemn this act of violence, whatever its source. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”

Karlov was a career diplomat who had previously served as ambassador to North Korea.


Source: ONTD_Political

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