Russian Ambassador To Turkey, Andrei Karlov, Shot Dead In Ankara
…Tensions between Russia and Turkey have escalated in recent weeks.
The Russian ambassador to Ankara has been shot dead by a gunman during a live press conference, amid chaotic scenes at an art gallery in the Turkish capital.
Ambassador Andrei Karlov was making a speech at the opening of a photographic exhibition when the gunman interrupted him, firing multiple shots according to video from the scene.
A man wearing a suit and tie shouted “Allahu Akbar” before firing at least eight shots, according to an Associated Press photographer in the audience. Reports suggest the man mentioned Aleppo.
Russia has described the killing as a “terrorist attack”.
The Anadolu news agency said the gunman had been “neutralized” soon after the attack, which appeared to mark one of the most serious spillovers of the Syria conflict in Turkey.
Relations between Moscow and Ankara have long been fraught over the conflict, the two supporting opposing sides.
Russian RIA news agency said Karlov had died of his wounds.
Hurriyet newspaper said Turkish special forces had surrounded the building. NTV said three other people were wounded, Reuters reported
A Reuters witness said that while gunfire rang out for some time after the attack, it had now stopped. A Hurriyet newspaper reporter said the attacker chanted Islamist slogans.
Russia and Turkey have been involved in conflict in Syria across the border from where over two million Syrian refugees have settled. Turkey has been a staunch opponent of President Bashar al-Assad while Russia has deployed troops and its air force in support of the Syrian leader.
Tensions have escalated in recent weeks as Russian-backed Syrian forces have fought for control of the eastern part of the city of Aleppo, triggering a stream of refugees.
It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack. Islamic State militants have been active in Turkey and carried out several bomb attacks on Turkish targets.
Live photos from the press conference show the gunman pointing his weapon at the assembled crowd, who were photographed cowering in fear.
British Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to learn of the attack during a session in the House of Commons at Westminster.
Sat beside Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, May said: “I was just looking what I believe is breaking news that the Russian Ambassador to Turkey has been shot which is to be confirmed but which is a matter of concern.”
Johnson later described the attack as a “cowardly” and “despicable” murder.