World

Russian Ambassador Killed By Gunman In Turkey

| by Sarah Zimmerman

Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was shot eight times in an art gallery by a lone gunman, who reportedly yelled "Allahu akbar [God is Great]" and "Remember Aleppo."

Karlov was in the gallery in the country's capital on Dec. 19 to give a speech regarding a new photo exhibition, according to CNN. A graphic video after the attack shows the assailant waving a gun, while Karlov's body lies on the floor next to him. The man is heard shouting in Turkish: " Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria! Do not forget Aleppo! Do not forget Syria!"

"The ambassador was delivering a speech at the opening of the exhibition, and suddenly, during his speech, there was a shriek 'Allahu Akbar!' — and someone started shooting," an eyewitness recounted, according to Sputnik News. "It is likely that the attack was aimed at the Ambassador because after the shots were made the assailant let those present escape the room."

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"Only death will remove me from here. Everyone who has taken part in this oppression will one by one pay for it," he continued.

Turkish police stormed the scene and a local newspaper reports that the assailant was "eliminated," according to Sputnik.

Karlov was rushed to the hospital seriously wounded. He later died from his injuries. 

The attack comes one day before Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is planned to go to Moscow to talk with Russian and Iranian officials about Syria.

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The strained relationship between Turkey and Russia was exacerbated when Turkish officials shot down a Russian warplane in Dec. 2015. According to the BBC, Russian President Vladimir Putin banned Turkish imports, suspended visitors' visas to Turkey, and refused to talk to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Dec. 20 talks were meant to continue efforts to normalize relations between the two countries. The two leaders recently talked over the phone regarding prospects of evacuated civilians from the besieged Aleppo and bargain a cease fire in Syria, according to CNN. 

It's unclear if Karlov's death will undo all progress made to repair the damaged relations. Putin has been notified of the incident but has yet to make a statement, according to The Daily Mail.

Sources: Sputnik News, CNN, BBC, The Daily Mail / Photo Credit: RT/Twitter

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