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
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