Ankara: The Turkish interior minister confirms that Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated a policeman, who was later killed by police.
The assassin yelled “Allahu Akbar” and vowed to avenge what he says are Russian murders of innocent people in Syria, pointing his pistol at the ceiling and briefly at the the audience while the mortally wounded ambassador lie on the floor.
The assailant was working for the Turkey’s riot police squad in Ankara for the past 2 1/2 years. He has been identified as Mevlut Mert Altintas, born in 1994.
The 22 year old was a graduate of Izmir Police School. He was not on duty when he made the attack at an art gallery on Monday, according to two Turkish Security sources who spoke to Reuters.
Associated Press reports that the Russian Ambassador,Andrei Karlov, was several minutes into a speech at an embassy-sponsored photo exhibition when he was shot.
Moscow now views the murder as a terror attack, in a statement the Russian Government said “”We qualify what happened as a terror attack. We are currently in contact with Turkish authorities who are assuring us that a thorough, comprehensive investigation will be conducted.”
A Turkish senior official has said the current investigation is focused on the gunman’s links to U.S.-based Gulen network.
Turkish President Erdoğan in video message said the attack is a provocation to hurt Turkish-Russian normalization. Mr Erdoğan said “I tell those who want to harm our relation with Russia by this attack, you will never reach your aim.”
The sister and mother of the gunman who have also been detained in Turkey’s Aydin.