The Russian Ambassador to Turkey was on Monday evening shot dead at an Ankara art exhibit by a lone Turkish gunman.
Turkish officials have confirmed the shooter to be a 22-year-old Ankara riot police officer named Mevlut Mert Aydintas.
Eyewitnesses say the attacker was smartly dressed and looked like part of the security detail of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey. He stood behind the ambassador as he made the speech before shooting him from behind.
He shot Andrei Karlov in the gallery and then shouted out ”God is great!” and ”don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!”
He also wounded at least three others in the assault before he was killed by other officers in a shootout.
It is unclear if the attacker had links to any terrorist organization. It is, however, as a direct result and protest of the ongoing conflict and humanitarian situation in Syria in which Russia is heavily involved in.
Russia, which is backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, carried out air strikes which were instrumental in helping Syrian forces capture rebel territories last week in the city of Aleppo.
Turkey has also been involved in the Syrian conflict which it borders to the south. Turkey has backed the rebels and has been a staunch opponent of Assad.
Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attacks was aimed at hurting relations with Russia. He said he spoke to President Putin and both agreed that it was an act of “provocation”.
Putin in a televised report, said the act was “undoubtedly a provocation aimed at disrupting the normalization of the peace process in Syria” and bilateral ties.
A Russian foreign ministry spokesperson confirmed that a group of Russian investigators has been sent to Turkey to look into the case while Mr. Karlov’s body is being repatriated to Russia.