The Russian ambassador Ankara, Andrey Karlov, was shot and killed at an art gallery in the Turkish capital on Monday.
According to reports, the shooter was wearing a business suit and tie and shouted, “We die in Aleppo, you die here,” and “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria. Unless our towns are secure, you won’t enjoy security. Only death can take me from here. Everyone who is involved in this suffering will pay a price.” This refers to Russian support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in the ongoing fight between rebels and the Syrian government.
The shooter is believed to be a 22-year-old off-duty Turkish police officer by the name of Mevlut Mert Altintas.
According to the Independent, a Russian MP is claiming that Western countries planned the assassination. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who leads the right-wing nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia stated this was “a false flag operation by the West.”
Other Russian politicians have blamed Western governments as well. Alexey Pushkov, former head of the foreign affairs committee of the Russian State duma, said that the shooting was a result of “media hysteria” over Aleppo.
Frantz Klintsevich, deputy chairman of the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament’s deface and security committee said it “was a planned action” and that “it is highly likely – that representatives of foreign Nato secrets services are behind it.” Klintsevich has publicly been against NATO expansion and promised that Russia would “air our weapons, including nuclear ones” at countries that seek to join the Western military pact.
Russian president Vladimir Putin called the killing a “provocation aimed at disrupting the normalization of Russian-Turkish relations and disrupting the peace process in Syria that is being actively advanced by Russia, Turkey and Iran.”
The attack comes just one day before Russia, Turkey, and Iran were due to hold talks over the ongoing conflict in Syria.
According to the Guardian:
“Internationally, the killing throws into doubt the ongoing evacuation deal for civilians in besieged east Aleppo, an agreement that was brokered by Turkey and Russia. A source with knowledge of the negotiations said Moscow was the main reason the deal did not fall apart over the weekend, despite the objections of Iranian and jihadi interlocutors.
The ambassador had been part of discussions with Turkey that led to an evacuation of east Aleppo getting under way late last week. Russia and Iran engineered the deal allowing civilians and rebel fighters in Aleppo to be evacuated, with Turkey acting as the brokers for the Syrian opposition in the discussion.
The attack comes the day before the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, is due in Moscow for Syria talks with his Russian and Iranian counterparts. In the weeks running up to the fall of east Aleppo, the Russians, Turks and Iranians have increasingly been working together on Syria’s future, to the exclusion of western powers, including the US, as well as the Gulf states, normally the sponsors of the Syrian opposition.”
The shooting was captured on video, prompting the Turkish government to issue a gag order preventing media from covering the assassination. Two videos can be viewed below (WARNING: Videos contain graphic violence):
BREAKING VIDEO: Footage of the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Ankara, Turkey pic.twitter.com/TRcITFEqQY
— News_Executive (@News_Executive) December 19, 2016