Andrey Karlov the Russian Ambassador to Turkey was shot dead on December 19, Monday night by a 22-year-old riot squad officer called Meblut Mert Altintas.
As Mr. Karlov had a preference to never utilize security services for his personal protection, Mr. Altintas was able to place himself in a prime position to commit the murder.
Wearing a black suit and tie, Altintas cried “Allahu Akbar” as he pulled the trigger and killed 62-year-old Karlov. He then went on to shout in Arabic: “We have made an oath to Muhammad to die in martyrdom, a revenge for Syria and Aleppo,” and he continued in Turkish “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria.” There are suspicions he was tied to Al Nusra, as the slogans he shouted were remarkably similar to theirs.
On the night of December 19, Mr. Karlov had been giving a speech at an opening for a photography exhibition in Ankara, the capital of Turkey.
After he was shot, he was rushed to hospital but declared dead upon arrival. There were no police officers at the scene when the assassination occurred, but as the speech was being televised, a camera managed to capture all the unfolding events even after the cameraman had fled.
Turkish police did finally arrive to the scene, and Atlintas cried “Only death can take me away from here. Whoever has a role in this cruelty, they will pay for it one by one. They will” as they shot him dead.
This assassination appears to be in protest for the Russian interventions in Syria. Turkey, along with the US led anti-ISIS coalition, had called for their cessation in October 2015.
Things were made further tense later in November when Turkey shot down a Russian jet, however President Erdogan swiftly apologized. And despite the uneasiness simmering on and off between the two states, Russia was the first to officially denounce the attempted coup against Erdogan.
President Putin has condemned the assassination of his ambassador, whom he described as a brilliant diplomat, and a very intelligent and soft person.
In a phone call to President Erdogan he stated that it stood as “a tragic day in the history of our country and Russian diplomacy.”
Many other world leaders have been swift to bring condemnation, and offer their condolences. President-elect Donald Trump expressed that it was a “violation of all rules of civilized order” and that it ought to be “universally condemned.”
The US Secretary of State John Kerry went on to state “The United States condemns the assassination today in Ankara of Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov. We stand ready to offer assistance to Russia and Turkey as they investigate this despicable attack, which was also an assault on the right of all diplomats to safely and securely advance and represent their nations around the world.”
Condemnations also poured in from the UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who called the killing cowardly and despicable, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi who vowed resolutely to support Russia’s efforts to crack down on terrorism, and the UN who said “that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.”
Mr. Andrey Karlov had been Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Turkey since July 2013.