Gordon: This story contains video footage which some users may find very disturbing.
The gunman (left) poised to gun down ambassador Andrey Karlov from behind. Photo: CNN.
Summary of the tragic events so far, in which Russia’s envoy to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, has been shot dead in Ankara by a gunman in an assassination apparently linked to Moscow’s role in Syria’s civil war. Here are key facts and reaction summarized by BBG:
- The Gunman shouted about Aleppo, the Syrian city where rebels were defeated this month by Russian-backed government forces, as he carried out the attack at an art exhibit, CNN- Turk television says
- Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek says man who killed ambassador was a police officer
- Attack comes amid reconciliation efforts between Russia, Turkey as nations seek to improve ties after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet over Syria last yr
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Russian President Vladimir Putin to share information after the assassination, NTV reports, citing Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin
- Russian President Vladimir Putin called the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Ankara a clear provocation aimed at derailing the Syrian peace negotiations.
- Elena Suponina, senior analyst at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies which advises the Kremlin, says attack “will only bring Russia and Turkey closer together” because it shows “we have a common enemy — terrorism — and only by joining forces can we deal with this enemy”
- “While Putin is unlikely to burn bridges with Turkey, he is very likely to adopt a tougher stance in Syria against the rebels,” said Nihat Ali Ozcan, an analyst at the Economic Policy Research Foundation in Ankara. “Russia may still be talking to Turkey at the table but it will probably have a much more aggressive stance on the ground in Syria”
- Tougher Russian stance toward Turkey could delay return of Russian tourists; lira weakened after shooting to trade 0.8% down at 3.5337/dollar at 9 pm in Istanbul
- Attack highlights fragile security situation in Turkey, where dozens of security personnel have been killed in past 10 days as a conflict between govt, separatist Kurds intensifies
- Incident unlikely to change development of conflict in Syria, says Ayham Kamel, director of Middle East and North Africa at Eurasia
- “Broadly we’re moving toward a position in Syria where the regime will incrementally consolidate its control over the trajectory of the conflict,” Kamel says
- “The Russian support for the Syrian regime will remain on track and the plan to combine a military campaign initially with support for a political solution at a later stage will not significantly change”
Live Feed from RT:
The shooting caught on tape:
A photo of the attacker and his victim:
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Ankara a clear provocation aimed at derailing the Syrian peace negotiations.
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The sister and the mother of the gunman who shot the Russian ambassador have been detained in Turkey’s Aydin, CNN Turk reports
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The US has said it stands “ready to offer assistance to Russia and Tukey as they investigate this despicable attack.”
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) December 19, 2016
The Turkish embassy has offered its condolences to Russia, calling the murder of Ambassador Karlov “an inhumane tragedy”.
“An inhumane tragedy occurred today with our distinguished colleague Andrey Karlov,” the Turkish embassy said, according to TASS. “There is no person in their right mind who would not condemn this evil act,” the mission said. “We grieve with all our hearts. We bring our deepest condolences to the people of Russia. This is our shared pain and loss.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry added that it won’t let the attack on the ambassador to overshadow tires.
The ball is now in Putin’s court.
Meanwhile, Twitter has circulated a picture allegedly showing the personal file of perpetrator, Melvut Mert Altintas, apparently proving he was a police officer.
Rus Büyükelçisi Karlov’u öldüren suikastçi aktif görevde olan çevik kuvvet polisi Mevlüt Mert Alt?nta?. pic.twitter.com/uyf5ovIjUH
— ahmet ??k (@sahmetsahmet) December 19, 2016
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Update 5: And here come the accusations: according to the Ankara Mayor the Assassint was a “Gulenist”, suggesting that Turkey will promptly blame the “shadow government” of the cleric Fetullah Gulen who continues to reside in rural Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile the US State Department is urging US citizens to avoid the US embassy in Ankara.
EU spokesman Federica Mogherini said she “Expressed to Russia FM Lavrov EU condolences for unconceivable killing of Ambassador Karlov. Also in contact with #Turkey authorities”
At the same time, the Russian Federation Council, which branded the assassination a “terrorist act” said it considers the killing of Ambassador a grave failure of Turkish law enforcement.
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Update 4: According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russia views the attack as a terrorist act and will raise the matter at a UN Security Council meeting. Furthermore, according to local Yeni Safak, the assassin is said to be a police officer. The man was an active member of the riot police force in the city, according to Turkey’s Yeni Safak newspaper, which gave the assassin’s initials as M.M.A. without naming him.
The publication adds that the alleged assassin was born in 1994 in Aydin and attended police academy in Izmir on Turkey’s Aegean coast, Yeni Safak says.
In a strange twist, eyewitness to CNN Turk said that people were checked with a metal detectors to visit photo exhibition where Russian Turkey ambassador was shot at in Ankara, suggesting there may have been coordination.
The following photo has emerged of the alleged assassin M.M.A. after his shootout with the police (NSFW)
— Faruk Özzengin (@fozzengin) December 19, 2016
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Update 3: The attacker reportedly identified himself as a police officer as he entered the exhibition, a Turkish military source told Interfax. “We have information, from one of the witnesses, that the attacker presented himself as a police officer, showing the relevant ID at the entrance. This information is being checked right now,” the source is quoted as saying.
The perpetrator, who was wearing a suit and a tie, shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘God is great’ in Arabic) during the attack, AP reports, citing their own photographer. The attacker also said several words in Russian, according to the news agency, and damaged several of the photos at the expo.
Turkish authorities have stepped up security at the Russian embassy in Ankara following the attack, a RIA Novosti correspondent reports.
US State Dept spox issued the following statement on twitter:
We have seen reports that the Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov and others have been attacked by a gunman in Ankara. We condemn this act of violence, whatever its source. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families
The German embassy in Turkey condemned the attack in a tweet.
— AlmanyaBE (@AlmanyaBE) December 19, 2016
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Update 2: US equity markets stumbled and gold and bonds were bid as safe havens as the headlines hit…
- RUSSIA AMBASSADOR TO TURKEY DIES OF GUNSHOT WOUND – RIA CITES SOURCE
Another video of the moment of the shooting:
— ?????.?? (@GraniTweet) December 19, 2016
Is this the Archduke moment?
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The Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, has been shoot dead after an armed attack in Ankara. According to CNN Turk man opened fire in the air then fired twice at the ambassador, who was shot in the back. Turkish TRT adds that after a shootout with the police, the gunman has been shot dead.
Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov
The Ambassador shown moments before the attack:
— RT (@RT_com) December 19, 2016
The following photo from Huyrriet shows the moment of the attack:
And a video of the attack:
— Warfare Worldwide (@WarfareWW) December 19, 2016
A photo of the attacker:
Footage from outside the building where the Russian ambassador was killed:
— RT (@RT_com) December 19, 2016
The attack took place at the opening of the “Russia through Turks’ eyes” photo exhibition, Turkish NTV news channel reports, and adds that there is information that three other people are injured. Karlov is reportedly getting aid at the scene of the shooting, and is said to be in critical condition.
“The ambassador was delivering a speech at the opening of the exhibition, and suddenly, during his speech, there was a shriek ‘Allah Akbar!’ — and someone started shooting,” an eyewitness told RIA Novosti. “It is likely that the attack was aimed at the Ambassador because after the shots were made the assailant let those present escape the room.”
An Associated Press photographer present at the shooting of the Russian Ambassador says the gunman fired multiple shots – 8 or more
In video showing the shooting Russian Ambassador to Turkey, the gunman heard shouting “Don’t forget about Aleppo, don’t forget about Syria!” and shouting “Allahu Akbar”
After shouting about Aleppo the gunman also shouts “So long as those places are not secure, you won’t taste security yourselves.”
Russian Embassy in Ankara has not issued an official statement concerning the assault yet. However, soon after the news emerged, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russian Foreign Ministry would soon issue a statement. The attack comes just a day before Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s planned visit to Moscow for Syria talks with his Russian and Iranian counterparts.
Soon after the attack, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu arrived at the site.
CNN Turk also adds that the man who shot the ambassador shouted about Aleppo.
Sputnik reports that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed the information that Russian Ambassador suffered a gunshot wound. The official statement noted that Russia is in contact with Turkish authorities regarding the attack.
According to interfax, Russia has called on Turkey to protect and aid the wounder ambassador.
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Google translation from the latest upates via Turkish’ Hurriyet:
Russian Ambassador Andrey Gennadiyevich Karlov was armed at the opening of a painting exhibition in the Center for Contemporary Arts in Ankara. It was stated that the ambassador and the ambassador to whom he was attacked were still inside. Special Operations Police turned around the building, 15-20 hand guns were heard. It is stated that there is a conflict.
The attack took place during the opening of a painting exhibition in Ankara’s Center for Contemporary Arts. Russia’s Ankara Ambassador Andrey Karlov, who came to the floor to speak after the opening, was attacked at this time.
Hürriyet Ankara representative Deniz Zeyrek said: “We have a photograph from our Ankara buremus and we have a photograph about the incident and there was an exhibition of photographs of Çamkatka while the ambassador spoke to the air before the attacker first shot it and then the ambassador shot him from the back. The ambassador and the aggressor are still inside.Police said in the preparation for the operation that ”
Hürriyet photomuhavi Ha?im K?l?ç explained the people living there: There was a photo exhibition organized by the Russian embassy. A man in a black suit was standing behind the ambassador, who we thought was our protection when the embassy was speaking. And then he fired at the air. Then the ambassador shot.
The attacker said more about Aleppo. Then he wanted people to go out. As the people went out, they fired a few more hands into the body of the ambassador. I guess one of those invites came to one of the invites. He said that the Contemporary Arts Center’s security was entering by showing a police ID. There were about 100 people in the guesthouse and they were completely evacuated. As the people ran away, the ambassador fired a few more hands.
Special Operations and police teams surrounded the building. 15-20 gun shots were heard. It is stated that there is a conflict.
In the meantime, Russian officials who spoke to hurriyet.com.tr said that the attacks were carried out by radical Islamic terrorists.
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The Turkish Lira is sliding on the news:
Russian, Turkish, Iranian foreign ministers to meet in Moscow on December 20
December 18, 22:24 updated at: December 18, 23:06 UTC+3
“It is necessary to discuss in the trilateral format the situation in and around Syria, first and foremost,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.
MOSCOW, December 18. /TASS/. Russia’s foreign ministry confirms that foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey will meet in Moscow on December 20, Russian president’s envoy for the Middle East and African countries and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told TASS on Sunday.
“A trilateral meeting in planned to be held in Moscow on December 20,” he said. “Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held telephone conversation with his counterparts from Turkey and Iran and they welcomed this idea.”
According to Bogdanov, such idea has been discussed for quite a time. “It is necessary to discuss in the trilateral format the situation in and around Syria, first and foremost,” he said.
He said that it is necessary to take efforts to motivate the Syrian parties “to sit down at the negotiating table to try to reach an agreement on lasting ceasefire, on resolution of some humanitarian issues with eye of reaching political settlement.” “We have the basis for that and it is United Nations Security Council resolution 2254,” he added.
Truck Crashes into Crowded Christmas Market in Germany
Nine people have been killed and at least 60 more injured after a truck rams into a busy crowd at one of Berlin’s Christmas markets.
— Rudaw English (@RudawEnglish) December 19, 2016
Law enforcement officials say that the violence was “deliberate.” There is no road within the vicinity, according to an eyewitness.