Russian ambassador killed in Ankara
Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, has been killed at an art exhibition in the Turkish capital of Ankara, Russian embassy sources said, Hurriyet Daily News reported. Karlov was shot by a gun while making a speech at a painting exhibition in the Turkish capital, the embassy said, adding that it believed that it was a radical Islamist attack.
Earlier, private broadcaster CNN Türk said Karlov was in a critical state, adding that the attacker might be still inside the building and that Karlov had not yet been removed to hospital. Three people were wounded during the attack. They were taken to Güven Hospital in central Ankara, reporters said.
"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 said. "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," Sputnik reported citing RIA Novosti..
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed the information that Russian Ambassador suffered a gunshot wound. "Today, during a public event in Ankara, an unknown person opened chaotic fire, and the ambassador of the Russian Federation in Turkey received a gunshot wound," Maria Zakharova said.
The official statement noted that Russia is in contact with Turkish authorities regarding the attack. Karlov was not taken to the hospital immediately after the assault, he got aid at the scene of shooting. The ambassador was initialy reported to be in a critical state. Later Zakharova stated that he died.
Soon after the attack, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu arrived at the site. The assailant is reported to have been eliminated, according to Turkish NTV.
The attack comes one day before Moscow meeting on Syria between Turkish, Russian and Iranian Foreign Ministers Mevlut Cavusoglu, Sergey Lavrov and Mohammad Javad Zarif.
As Turkish political scientist Togrul Ismail stressed in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza, this crime is a pure political provocation, planned to disrupt diplomatic meetings between Russian and Turkish politicians.
"This crime was committed just before the meeting between Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Russia and Iran. Turkish Defense Minister also planned to visit Moscow. Such attack on the eve of serious talks at the highest level is nothing more than a provocation," he pointed out.
This provocation was made to cause a discord in the Russian-Turkish relations. "Those behind this attack don't want Turkey's rapprochement with Russia, don't want stability in the Middle East region. Right now, Turkey and Russia are closer than ever on Aleppo issue, joint actions in Syria helped to achieve the possibility to stop hostilities. Many people are interested in creating problems between Moscow and Ankara, but I'm sure that it was done by forces that oppose cooperation between the two countries," he concluded.
According to the director of the Political Studies Institute Sergey Markov, the attack was likely organized by a terrorist group banned in Russia, like Daesh or Jabhat al-Nusra, which are really afraid that Russia and Turkey will help to achieve piece in Syria. "I think as a result the relations will only improve: Russia and Turkey could become military allies in the fight against terrorism, these organizations should get harsh response," he thinks.