CATF Reports Dec. 19, 2016, 2:52pm


Today, as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu was flying to Moscow for a diplomatic summit on Syria with his Russian and Iranian counterparts to be held on Tuesday, December 20, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was shot dead by a young Turkish police officer allegedly protesting Turkish-Russian cooperation in Syria. Ambassador Karlov, 62, was delivering a speech at the opening of a photo exhibit titled “Russia in the eyes of Turks” when he was shot several times from close range. Severely wounded along with other people, he was rushed to the hospital but died shortly after, as recently confirmed by the Russian Foreign Ministry. Ankara police special forces neutralized the shooter, whose profile was caught on camera by reporters at the event and promptly confirmed on social media to correspond to 22-year old former Turkish police officer Mevlüt Mert Altintas.

While perpetrating the attack, the gunman was heard shouting “Allahu Akbar (God is Great). We die in Aleppo, you die here!” No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, yet the gunman’s words suggest that today’s assassination was an attempt to sabotage Turkish-Russian political cooperation established in order to implement a ceasefire in Aleppo. Last week the Turkish and Russian governments agreed to work together on evacuating civilians and rebels from Aleppo, a decision that amounted to acknowledging Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s victory in the Syrian city. Vigorous protests erupted in Turkey over Russia’s role in Syria in support of the Assad regime – opposed by Turkey – and especially over the Russian-sponsored “brutal campaign” against rebel-held areas of Aleppo. Today’s “terrorist attack” – as the Russian Foreign Ministry called the assassination – brings attention to the global and regional implications of Syria’s political future.

From The Daily Mail:

A spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said 'terrorism will not win'.

Maria Zakharova said: 'We characterise what happened as an act of terrorism. We stay in touch with Turkish officials who assured that the most thorough comprehensive investigation. The murderers will be punished.

'Today the same issue will be raised before UN Security Council. Terrorism will not pass. We will be fighting it strongly.

'The memory of an outstanding Russian diplomat, a man who did a lot to fight terrorism - Andrei Gennadyevich Karlov - will stay in our hearts forever.'

The shooting comes just 24 hours before the Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu is due in Moscow for talks with his Russian and Iranian counterparts.

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