Assassination of Andrei Karlov
|Assassination of Andrei Karlov|
|Location||Çağdaş Sanatlar Merkezi, Ankara, Turkey|
|Date||19 December 2016 |
|Weapons||Canik55 TP9 Compact 9mm pistol|
|Deaths||2 (Karlov and the perpetrator)|
|Perpetrator||Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş|
|Motive||Discontent of Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War|
|Accused||Gulen movement (according to Turkish officials and Russian delegation)|
Andrei Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, was assassinated by Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, an off-duty Turkish police officer, at an art exhibition in Ankara, Turkey on the evening of 19 December 2016. The assassination took place after several days of protests in Turkey over Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War and the battle over Aleppo.
|"Washington Post: Russian ambassador to Turkey assassinated in Ankara by off-duty police officer".|
The assassination took place after a long period of highly polarized and incited political atmosphere in Turkey, and after several days of protests by Turks against Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War and in particular the battle over Aleppo. Russian and Turkish officials held talks on brokering a ceasefire in Syria during the evacuation of Aleppo. Russia, Turkey and Iran planned to meet to negotiate a settlement over the Syrian Civil War.
Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, had been invited to deliver a speech at the opening of an exhibition of Turkish photography of the Russian countryside. The exhibition, "Russia through Turks' eyes", was being held at the Cagdas Sanat Merkezi centre for modern arts in Ankara's Çankaya district.
Mevlüt Altıntaş entered the hall using police identification, leading gallery attendees to believe he was one of Karlov's personal bodyguards. Karlov had begun his speech when Altıntaş fired several shots at the Russian ambassador from the back, fatally wounding him and injuring several other people.
After shooting Karlov, Altıntaş circled the room, smashing pictures that were on display and shouting in Arabic and Turkish: "Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest). We are the descendants of those who supported the Prophet Muhammad, for jihad. Do not forget Aleppo, do not forget Syria" and "We die in Aleppo, you die here". Shortly after, Altıntaş was shot and killed by Turkish security forces. Karlov was taken to the hospital, but died from his injuries.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared that the shooting was designed to disrupt the warming Russia–Turkey relations. The New York Times suggested a possible motive was revenge for the Russian Air Force's targeting of rebel-held areas in Aleppo.
Although seemingly an act of revenge against Russian military involvement in Aleppo as part of the ongoing Syrian Civil War, some have suspected Islamic extremism or anti-Russian sentiment to be the cause of the attack. President-elect of the United States Donald Trump accused the assassin of being "a radical Islamic terrorist", and the Russian State Duma said that "The culprits in this monstrous provocation, both the executors and those who guided the terrorist's hand by instigating Russophobia, ethnic, religious and confessional hatred, extremism and fanaticism, must face their deserved punishment".
Allegations of NATO involvement have circulated among government officials and commentators, as well as involvement by the jihadist movements of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as Al-Nusra Front/al-Qaeda in Syria) – two groups which Turkey has been accused of supporting in the past – have been made. Turkish authorities are reportedly investigating Aydintas' links to the Gülen movement; in a speech, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed that the perpetrator was a member of "FETÖ". The attack was praised by ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliated accounts on social media. The words spoken by the assassin are similar to the unofficial anthem of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham.
According to Turkish officials and the Russian delegation that arrived in Turkey after the murder, the Gulen movement was behind the assassination for the purpose of sabotaging Russia-Turkey relations.
Born in Moscow in 1954, Andrei Gennadyevich Karlov was educated at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and the Diplomatic Academy. He began his career with the government at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR in 1976. Karlov spoke fluent Korean and held various diplomatic positions at the Russian embassy to North Korea, including as Russian ambassador to North Korea from June 2001 to December 2006. He had been Russian ambassador to Turkey since July 2013.
Andrei Karlov is the fourth Russian diplomat to have died in the line of duty, after Alexander Griboyedov (killed as Imperial Russian ambassador to Qajar Persia, 1829), Vatslav Vorovsky (killed as Soviet representative to the Lausanne Conference, 1923), and Pyotr Voykov (killed as Soviet ambassador to Poland, 1927).
Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş
24 June 1994
|Died||19 December 2016 (aged 22)|
|Cause of death||Gunshot|
After being rejected from university twice, he graduated from İzmir Police School in 2014. His sister was quoted as saying that "he started to perform prayer five times a day in police school". He served on an elite Ankara riot police unit for two and a half years, and had been part of the security detail for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on eight occasions since July 2016.
Altıntaş' body was rejected by his family; his parents stated that "We are ashamed of him because of the murder and we will not claim the body of a traitor." His body was buried in a cemetery for unidentified and unclaimed corpses.
The day after the killing, Turkish authorities arrested a number of Altıntaş' family members in his home province of Aydin, as well as his flatmate in Ankara, holding the family members for one day. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also confirmed that a Russian investigative team was scheduled to arrive in Turkey on 20 December to assist with the investigation.
While ISIS has not claimed responsibility for the assassination, it has been celebrated by its supporters. The Islamist Jaish al-Fatah coalition, which includes the Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front), claimed responsibility for the assassination, according to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm Al-Sabea.
A Qatari journalist, Elham Badar, said the shooting was a 'human' response to 'Russian barbarism' in Aleppo and elsewhere in the conflict. New York Daily News columnist Gersh Kuntzman attracted criticism when he compared Karlov's murder to the assassination of Nazi German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Jewish student Herschel Grynszpan, saying "justice has been served." The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs later demanded an apology from the New York Daily News following the article's publication. Ukrainian MP Volodymyr Parasiuk, famous for his Euromaidan speech, has called the Russian ambassador's assassin a "hero".
In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a video message that "Turkey-Russia relations are vital for the region and those who aimed to harm ties were not going to achieve their goals", after having spoken to Russian president Vladimir Putin, adding that they "both agreed the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Ankara by a gunman was an act of provocation by those looking to harm relations of our countries." The Turkish Foreign Ministry pledged to spare no effort to not let "this attack cast a shadow on the Turkish-Russian friendship." Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced that the street in which the Russian embassy is located would be named after the ambassador.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: "Terrorism will not pass. We will fight it decisively." President Vladimir Putin stated he believes "a crime has been committed and it was without doubt a provocation aimed at spoiling the normalization of Russo-Turkish relations and spoiling the Syrian peace process which is being actively pushed by Russia, Turkey, Iran and others". He also ordered heightening of security measures at Russian embassies worldwide, and stated that "we need to know who guided the hand of the murderer".
- "What Gun Was Used to Assassinate the Russia's Ambassador to Turkey?". thefirearmblog.com. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
- Andrey Karlov suikastı
- Karlov suikastı davası devam ediyor: Altıntaş'ı FETÖ evinde gördüm
- "Russian ambassador's assassin 'guarded Recep Tayyip Erdogan'". The Telegraph. 21 December 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
- "Mevlut Mert Altintas: The policeman accused of killing Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
- "Turkish police detain six after Russian ambassador shot dead". Reuters. 20 December 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
- "Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov shot dead in Ankara". BBC News. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
- Walker, Shaun; Shaheen, Kareem; Chulov, Martin (19 December 2016). "Russian ambassador to Turkey killed in Ankara shooting". The Guardian.
- "Russian ambassador shot dead in Ankara gallery". 19 December 2016 – via Reuters.
- Gumrukcu, Tuvan; Butler, Daren (19 December 2016). "Russian ambassador gunned down in Ankara, Russian agency says killed". Reuters.
- Cagaptay, Soner (5 October 2015). "Turkey Is in Serious Trouble". The Atlantic. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- Cagaptay, Soner (20 December 2016). "Turkey's permanent state of crisis". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- "'Russia, get out of Syria': Thousands join protest on Turkey border". MiddleEastEye. 17 December 2016. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- Coskun, Orhan; Pamuk, Humeyra (13 December 2016). "Turkey talking to Russia on ceasefire, evacuation from Syria's Aleppo". Yahoo News. Yahoo. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- "Russia, Iran and Turkey to hold Syria talks in Moscow on Tuesday". Reuters. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- Ostroukh, Andrey (19 December 2016). "Syria talks between Iran, Turkey, and Russia will still go on in Moscow despite ambassador's assassination". Business Insider. Insider Inc. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- CNN, Catherine E. Shoichet and Nick Thompson. "Russia's ambassador to Turkey assassinated in Ankara". CNN. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
- "Who was the Ankara assassin?". ABC News. 20 December 2016.
- Shoichet, Catherine E.; Thompson, Nick; Grinberg, Emanuella. "Gunman shouted 'Do not forget Aleppo!' as he shot ambassador". CNN. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
- "Turkey: Russia's ambassador in Ankara killed in shooting attack by police officer". Haaretz. Reuters and the Associated Press. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
- "Russian ambassador to Turkey dead: Andrey Karlov dies after being shot in Ankara". The Independent. 19 December 2016.
- "Assassination in an art gallery". The Economist. 23 December 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
- Umar, Farooq; King, Laura (19 December 2016). "Off-duty police officer identified in fatal shooting of Russia's ambassador to Turkey". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
- "Turkish police officer, invoking Aleppo, guns down Russian ambassador in Ankara".
- Fisher, Max (19 December 2016). "Turkey, Russia and an Assassination: The Swirling Crises, Explained". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
That may hint at his motive: The Russian Air Force was a key part of the Syrian government’s successful assault on rebel-held parts of Aleppo, which included widespread attacks on civilians.
- Conway, Madalaine (19 December 2016). "Trump calls Russian ambassador's assassin a 'radical Islamic terrorist'". POLITICO.
- "Putin moves major press conference to attend funeral of slain diplomat Karlov". RT International. 21 December 2016.
- Kemp, Ted (19 December 2016). "Any number of groups could have wanted Russian ambassador dead". CNBC.
- Steinbuch, Yaron (19 December 2016). "Russian ambassador to Turkey killed in targeted attack". New York Post.
- Kentish, Ben (19 December 2016). "Russian MP blames Nato conspiracy for killing of ambassador in Turkey". The Independent.
- David, Graeber (18 November 2015). "Turkey could cut off Islamic State's supply lines. So why doesn't it?". The Guardian.
- "CIA apologizes to Turkey over ISIS oil trade allegations – AMERICAS".
- "Erdoğan resmen açıkladı: Suikastçı FETÖ mensubu" [Erdoğan officially announces: Assassin is FETÖ member]. Milliyet Haber. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
- Prince, S.J. (19 December 2016). "ISIS 'Celebrates' Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov". Heavy.com.
- "Mevlut Mert Altıntaş: The policeman accused of killing Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov?". The Daily Telegraph. 20 December 2016.
- "Who was Andrey Karlov? What we know about the Russian ambassador to Turkey". The Telegraph.
- "Четвертый на посту: посол России в Турции Андрей Карлов" [Fourth in the line of duty: Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov killed in Turkey]. Lenta.ru. 20 December 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
- Bromwich, Jonah Engel (19 December 2016). "Who Was Andrey Karlov, the Russian Ambassador Killed in Turkey?". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
- Gumrukcu, Tuvan (23 December 2016). "Russian envoy's killer remembered as lonely boy, not angry jihadist". Reuters.
- "El asesino de Andrei Karlov, un policía turco de 22 años". La Gaceta. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
- "Police school changed assassin of Russian envoy: Sister". Hürriyet Daily News. 26 December 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
- "Karlov's assassin stayed in hotel close to scene, took 11 shots". Hürriyet Daily News. 20 December 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
- "The Killer of the Ambassador of Russia in Turkey Visited Qatar Several Times". Alalam. 26 December 2016.
- "Family rejects body of Russian envoy's killer". Daily Sabah Turkey. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
- Family members of Russian envoy's assailant released from custody – Daily Sabah, accessdate: 23 December 2016
- "Statement of the MFA of the Czech Republic on the Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
- "The Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
- "ISIS ‘Celebrates’ Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov". Heavy.com. 19 December 2016.
- "Media: Jaish al-Fatah claims responsibility for murder of Russian ambassador". Russian News Agency TASS. 21 December 2016.
- "Qatari journalist posts: Russia 'deserved' ambassador killing for its 'crimes' in Syria". The Independent. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
- Gersh, Kuntzman. "Assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was not terrorism, but retribution for Vladimir Putin's war crimes". New York Daily News. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
- Pfeiffer, Alex. "NY Daily News Columnist Defends Assassination Of Russian Ambassador". Retrieved 23 December 2016.
- "Russian Foreign Ministry demands apology from NY Daily News – spokesperson". RT. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
- "Ukrainian MP calls Russian ambassador’s killer ‘a hero,’ FB reacts with outrage". RT. 20 December 2016.
- "Al Jazeera board member says Russia 'deserved' ambassador killing for its 'crimes' in Syria". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
- Pamuk, Humeyra; Toksabay, Ece; Dolan, David (19 December 2016). "Turkey's Erdogan says Putin agrees shooting of ambassador was provocation". Reuters. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
- "Turkish MFA says won't allow killing of ambassador 'cast shadow' over Turkish-Russian friendship". DailySabah.
- "Russian ambassador to Turkey assassinated in Ankara by off-duty police officer". Washington Post. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
- Osborn, Andrew; Pomeroy, Robin (19 December 2016). "Putin says ambassador murder is ploy to wreck Syrian peace process". Reuters. Retrieved 19 December 2016.