Russian Ambassador Assassinated in Turkey

The Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was assassinated by a Turkish special forces police officer at an art gallery in Ankara. The attack caused shockwaves around the world because of what it might mean for Russian and Turkish relations, which had only just begun to warm after the Turkish military shot down a Russian jet in 2015. Charter flights only resumed between the two countries in August. Fears were somewhat allayed shortly after the attack when Turkish President Recep Erdoğan called Russian President Vladimir Putin, and both condemned the attack in their respective speeches.

Despite the assassination, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, along with Iran’s, flew to Moscow the following day to discuss a new agreement over Syria’s troubled future. They vowed to step up their fight against terror.

The shooter, Mevlut Altintas, was a 22 year-old who had worked for Ankara’s riot police for two and a half years. After shooting the ambassador, he shouted, “Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria! Everyone who has taken part in this oppression will one by one pay for it!” Twenty minutes later he was killed in a gunfight with police. Altintas has so far not been linked to any terror organizations. Erdoğan, however, has claimed that he had links to last summer’s attempted coup in Turkey, allegedly backed by Fethullah Gulen, according to the Turkish government.

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