Russian Ambassador Assasinated By Turkish Police Officer At An Art Gallery

December 20 2016
Russian Ambassador Assasinated By Turkish Police Officer At An Art Gallery

Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was shot dead by a Turkish police officer who angrily denounced the bloodshed in Syria. The officer shooting the diplomat in front of a room full of horrified spectators at an art gallery in an assassination captured on video and quickly shared around the world.

As the ambassador, Andrei Karlov, lay on the floor, the assailant, still waving his gun, screamed, "Don't forget Aleppo! Don't forget Syria!"

Russia's Foreign Ministry called the shooting "a terrorist attack," and President Vladimir Putin called it a "provocation aimed at rupturing ties between Russia and Turkey."

"The only answer to the murder of the Russian ambassador to Turkey must be the intensification of the struggle against terrorism," Putin said in nationally televised remarks. "And the bandits will feel it."

Putin ordered his major crime investigative unit to work with Turkish authorities, who identified the gunman as 22-year-old Mevlut Mert Altintas, an officer with the riot police. In the video, Altintas, dressed incongruously in a black suit and tie, shouts, "We are those who pledged jihad to Muhammad!" Referring to Syria, he added, "Every single person who has a share in this atrocity will pay for it!"Several other people were wounded in the attack, which came as Karlov was speaking at the opening of an exhibit of Russian photos, but their identities were not immediately made public.Putin stopped short of that, saying only, "We need to know who guided the hand of the murderer."The assassination was Turkey's third major attack in less than 10 days, and followed months of deadly violence - including a failed coup attempt and a suicide attack on Istanbul's international airport - that has highlighted the threats facing the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and left the country reeling from a sense of siege.

The United States, meanwhile, joined other nations in condemning the shooting.President-elect Donald Trump also issued a statement condemning the killing.

The man identified as Mevlut Mert Altintas shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) and "Don't forget Aleppo".