Last night, Ambassador to Russai Andrei Karlov was giving a speech at the Ankara Center for Contemporary Art when a Turkish policeman came up behind him and shot him four times in the back. Cameras caught the assassination as it was taking place and show a man in a dark suit shoot the ambassador along with others present who were wounded.
The policeman, Melvut Murt Altintas, had served in the riot police for the past two and a half years. Altintas entered the museum with his police ID and was seen in the video shouting “Allahu Akhbar” and spoke of the suffering of the Syrian people. He said, ”Do not forget Aleppo, do not forget Syria… we die there every day… We are not safe here in the streets when they are dying over there.” He then spoke to the cameras, ”Keep filming me, only my dead corpse will leave this building.” Altintas then continued his rant about the Syrian suffering: ”Whoever is responsible for this conflict is going to pay.”
Indeed, a short while later Altintas was shot dead. Anakara Mayor Melih Gokcek said the attack was meant to ruin relations between Turkey and Russia. Turkey is a NATO member which was helping the rebels against Assad’s Syrian regime. Russia supported the regime so there were already strained relations between them. Turkey and Russia have been normalizing relations since June 2016. Previously, their relationship was jeopardized when a Turkish combat aircraft shot down a Russian fighter jet in November last year.
Both Putin and Erdogan agreed that this assassination was aimed at destroying the growing relationship between Turkey and Russia and both agreed that they won’t let it happen. Putin promised revenge for the criminals. “The only response we should offer to this murder is stepping up our fight against terror, and the criminals will feel the heat,” Putin said.
Today, diplomats from Turkey, Iran and Russia are scheduled to meet in Moscow to discuss solutions to the Aleppo siege. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the meeting will take place as scheduled.