Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov shot dead at exhibition in Ankara

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The gunman was reported to have said "Allahu Akbar" before shooting the ambassador.

Russia’s ambassador to Turkey has died after an attacker opened fire at a photo exhibition in Ankara.

The ambassador, Andrei Karlov, was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted “Allahu Akbar” and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience.

Turkish police have also fatally shot the gunman involved, according to the NTV news channel. He is understood to have been a police officer in his early 20s.

Three other people injured were still inside the gallery, according to reports.

It was reported that the gunman shouted in Turkish ahead of the shooting: “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria.”

The man then yelled: “Stand back. Stand back. Only death will take me out of here…Anyone who has a role in this oppression will die one by one.”

He also smashed several photos which were part of the exhibition.

Hasim Kilic, a correspondent for the daily Hurriyet, told AFP: “He said something about ‘Aleppo’ and revenge.”

There was panic as people ran for cover after the shots were fired, with three other people reportedly wounded in the attack.

The gunman is seen at rear on the left as Andrei Karlov speaks at the gallery in Ankara, moments before his death.
The gunman is seen at rear on the left as Andrei Karlov speaks at the gallery in Ankara, moments before his death.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Mr Karlov was shot “when an unidentified assailant opened chaotic gunfire during a public event in Ankara”.

She later confirmed the ambassador had died, adding that Russia was in contact with Turkish officials about the incident.

Ankara mayor Melih Gokcek told reporters outside the exhibition centre that the “heinous” attack had aimed to disrupt newly-re-established relations between Turkey and Russia.

US state department spokesman John Kirby said US officials are aware of reports about the shooting.

“We condemn this act of violence, whatever its source,” Mr Kirby said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”

Three other people were wounded in the attack, NTV said.

Mr Karlov, 62, joined the diplomatic service in 1976, and went on to serve as Russia’s ambassador to Pyongyang from 2001-2006.

He later worked as the chief of the foreign ministry’s consular department, and had been Russia’s ambassador to Turkey since 2013.

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