Russian ambassador shot at Istanbul Art Gallery

Andrey Karlov laid motionless on the ground as visitors seek safety in a corner- struck by fear as the gunman stands over his body in the now iconic photograph that covered newsstands in mid December.

At an Ankara art exhibit in Istanbul a lone gunman fired seven shots at the back of ambassador Andrey Karlov on December 19th, 2016.  Another shot rang out as the shooter fired again at the ambassador’s body, leaving him dead. It was also reported 3 others were wounded in the attack.

assassination-istanbul
Photo by CNN

The turkish gunman was an off-duty 22 year old police officer later identified as Mevlut Mert Altintas. In the midst of the post-shoot out chaos, Mevlut was quoted to say, “call the police, and I will die here,” by Mr. Kilic, a turkish photographer at the event. Altintas’ use of jihadist slogans has lead authorities to believe he may be a member of an Al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate or the Islamic State.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia said on television that Mr. Karlov had been “despicably killed” to sabotage ties with Turkey. Putin said, “There can be only one answer to this- stepping up the fight against terrorism, and the bandits will feel this.” Since the incident, the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and President Putin have agreed to cooperate in investigating the killing, and in combating terrorism broadly. With this, Russia and Turkey begin their sixth year of affiliation with the Syrian conflict. .  

Karlov started his career in 1976 as a Turkish diplomat to  North Korea for over two decades. He then changed regions in 2007 and became an ambassador in July 2013. The assassination occurred  just after protests by Turks over Russia’s support to the Syrian government and their role in the brutal state in Aleppo. It was a rare attack of a Russian envoy, historians say maybe the first since a Soviet ambassador to Poland was shot dead in 1927.

By Katherine McCormick

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