Developing: Russian Ambassador to Turkey Assassinated in Ankara
UPDATE 2030 GMT: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin appear to have closed ranks over the consequences of the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey.
Erdoğan said, “This provocative terror attack is aimed at damaging normalization of ties between Russia and Turkey.” He announced that Ankara has agreed to a joint investigation with Moscow.
Putin indicated that recent cooperation with Turkey, including tomorrow’s Russian-Turkish-Iranian meeting in Moscow, will not be affected, as he denounced a “provocation aimed at undermining Syria peace process”.
— RT (@RT_com) December 19, 2016
A Turkish senior official also tried to turn attention to the movement of cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused of the July attempt to overthrow Erdoğan. He said that the killer of the Russian Ambassador had ties to the Gulenists.
UPDATE 1830 GMT: Turkish media have identified the assassin as Mevlut Mert Altintas, a member of the police’s special operatons unit in #Ankara.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to brief him about the shooting, according to pro-Erdoğan outlet Daily Sabah.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: The Russian Ambassador to Turkey has been shot and killed while visiting a photo exhibition at an Ankara art gallery.
The gunman attacked Andrey Karlov as the Ambassador was speaking at the exhibition. Shot eight times, Karlov died in hospital soon after the assault.
The gunman, reportedly an off-duty policeman, was subsequently killed by police.
The assassin shouted:
Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria. Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria.
You will not taste safety unless our fields are safe. Only death can get me out of here.
Whoever has a share in this tyranny will pay for it one by one.
Russian, Iranian, and Turkish officials, including Foreign and Defense Ministers, are due to discuss Syria in Moscow on Tuesday.
Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — who brokered the removals agreement that was renewed for the third time on Sunday, overcoming initial Iranian objections — conferred again by phone.
Putin also spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.