The Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot and killed Monday at an art exhibition in Ankara by a gunman who shouted Islamic slogans, witnesses said.
Andrei Karlov was shot multiple times while making a speech at the opening of the exhibition “Russia through the eyes of Turks.” Three other people were wounded in the attack, Turkish authorities said. Police shot and killed the gunman, identified as 22-year-old police officer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova described the attack as an “act of terrorism.”
“This is a tragic day in the history of Russian diplomacy,” Zahharova said in announcing Karlov’s death.
The attacker shouted “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great.” He also shouted other phrases, mostly in Turkish, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reported: “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria! As long as our brothers are not safe, you will not enjoy safety… Whoever has a share in this oppression will pay for it one-by-one… Only death will take me away from here…”
Mevlut Mert Altintas, an off-duty police officer, was the gunman who assassinated the Russian ambassador to Turkey on Monday, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in a press conference. The attacker was born in 1994 in the town of Soke in Turkey’s Aydin province, he said. Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reported that the gunman has been neutralized. But it was not immediately clear whether the attacker was killed or captured by police.
[Previous story, posted at 2:12 p.m. ET Monday]
Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at an art exhibition in Ankara on Monday, after the gunman shouted, “Do not forget Aleppo!” as he opened fire.
The shooting of Ambassador Andrey Karlov was captured on video. Russia’s foreign ministry described it as a “terror attack.”
Russia has been instrumental in helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in its push to retake the eastern sector of Aleppo, which had been held by rebels for nearly four years.
“We are currently in contact with Turkish authorities, who are assuring us that a thorough, comprehensive investigation will be conducted,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in remarks broadcast on Russian television. “Murderers will be punished. Terrorism won’t sustain. We’ll fight it.”
Here’s what we know right now:
• Karlov was giving a speech at the opening ceremony of a photo exhibit when the gunman opened fire.
• Images of the scene showed a body on the ground as a man with a pistol stood nearby.
• In a video circulating on social media that shows the shooting, the gunman is heard shouting, “Allahu akbar (God is great). Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria! Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria!”
“Get back! Get back!” the man can be heard shouting in Turkish as he waves a gun.
“Only death will remove me from here. Everyone who has taken part in this oppression will one by one pay for it,” he said.
• The shooting occurred a day before diplomats from Turkey, Iran and Russia are scheduled to meet in Moscow to discuss the situation in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo.
• Authorities haven’t said who they believe was responsible for the attack.
• Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reported that the gunman had been neutralized. But it was not immediately clear whether the attacker was killed or captured by police.