Russian envoy to Turkey assassinated

20 Dec 2016 | Written by Supriya ; Edited by NewsBytes Desk

Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was in attendance at a Russian photography exhibition in Ankara.

While Ambassador Karlov was speaking at the exhibition's opening, a lone gunman, reportedly a former Turkish police officer, shouted "Allahu Akbar and "Don't forget Aleppo" before shooting him dead.

According to local news sources, the gunman was "neutralized" by security forces after he refused to surrender.

In context: Diplomats in the line of fire

OverviewDiplomats vulnerable targets

In 1918, Wilhelm von Mirbach, the German ambassador to Russia was shot dead by members of the Left Socialist Revolutionary Party.

In 1979, Richard Sykes, Britain's Ambassador to Netherlands, was shot dead outside his residence. The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility for the killing.

In 2012, the US Ambassador to Libya was killed when the US special mission was attacked by militants in Benghazi.

20 Dec 2016Russian envoy to Turkey assassinated

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Ambassador Andrei Karlov

ProfileAmbassador Andrei Karlov

The deceased Russian Ambassador, had been appointed to Ankara, Turkey in 2013.

He was a career diplomat who had been tasked with improving ties between Russia and Turkey despite serious difference between both countries concerning Syria.

Over the last year he made consistent efforts to find a solution to regional instability.

Ambassador Karlov had formerly served in Russian embassies of North and South Korea.

Russian foreign ministry

Spokeswoman of the Russian foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, expressed sadness and described Ambassador Andrei Karlov's killing as a "tragic day in the history of our country and our diplomatic service".

What we knowThe gunman

Turkey's interior minister identified the gunman as 22-year old Mevlut Altinas working with Ankara's anti-riot police squad.

Investigations reveal he entered the exhibition with a gun and was waived through security after showing his police-ID; he was 'off-duty' and was dressed in a suit and tie.

It isn't known whether he was acting alone or with a group; his family members are being questioned.

Possible reasonsMotivation for the attack

Ankara's Mayor Melih Gokcek has speculated that the gunman may have been linked to Turkish exiled preacher called 'Fetullah Gulen'.

The Ambassador's assassination was preceded by several protests in Turkey concerning Russia's role in Syria; the gunman's last words suggested the attack was in retaliation to Russian war crimes.

The shooting comes just before a significant meet between Turkey, Syria and Russia's foreign ministers.

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Putin and Erdogan: Attack a "provocation"

Turkish President RT Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin both labelled the killing as "provocation" and reiterated their commitment towards strengthening cooperation in face of terrorism. Turkish foreign ministry pledged that it "would not allow" attack to damage relations.

21 Dec 2016Turkish police detain 6 over Russian ambassador's killing

After the killing of Russia's ambassador by a member of the Ankara riot police, Turkish police have detained 6 people.

Interestingly, 22-year-old Mevlut Mert Altintas, the gunman had taken a sick leave on the day of the attack; he had promised his supervisors that he would bring in a doctor's note.

Mevlut's mother, father, sister, two relatives and his flatmate were detained.

Gulen network responsible for ambassador's death

Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu blamed Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen for the killing of the Russian ambassador. "Turkey and Russia know that behind the attack, there is FETO," said Cavusoglu, referring to Turkey's acronym for Gulen's organization.

23 Dec 2016Russia honours murdered ambassador Andrei Karlov

On Thursday, Russia staged a memorial ceremony for deceased ambassador Andrei Karlov.

Diplomats and family members came together at the Russian Foreign Ministry in central Moscow to bid farewell to 62-year-old Karlov.

His body lay in an open casket flanked by uniformed honour guards.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov laid flowers; President Putin was expected to pay his respects too.