This could be what people call “a pretty big deal“:
The Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, has been badly wounded in an armed assault in Ankara according to Turkish press. According to CNN Turk man opened fire in the air then fired twice at the ambassador, who was shot in the back. It is reported that police is still exchanging fire with the attacker.
The attack took place at the opening of the “Russia through Turks’ eyes” photo exhibition, Turkish NTV news channel reports, and adds that there is information that three other people are injured.
Karlov was immediately rushed to a hospital after the assault, according to Turkish media. The ambassador is reported to be in a critical state.
Russian Embassy in Ankara has not issued an official statement concerning the assault yet. However, soon after the news emerged, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russian Foreign Ministry would soon issue a statement. The attack comes just a day before Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s planned visit to Moscow for Syria talks with his Russian and Iranian counterparts.
No word yet on who is responsible for the attack. The Islamic State’s a good candidate, but if the Turkish government announces the PKK was behind it, there’s a 99% chance it’s a false flag operation.
Let’s hope it’s not a “Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo” big deal…
Update: The attacker evidently shouted “Allah Akbar” during the attack which is far more Islamic State than PKK.
Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored photo 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. The attacker also said some words in Russian and smashed several of the photos hung for the exhibition.
CNN Turk reported that the gunman entered the gallery with a police ID and opened fire on the ambassador as he made a speech. CNN Turk is reporting that a brief hostage situation has ended after special forces entered the building, adding that Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu is at the scene.
Haaretz also offers this photo of the attacker:
More Russian looking than Middle Eastern, and a bit on the light-skinned side for a Chechen.
Update 2: The Russian ambassador has died. Not the sort of things those cheerful, forgiving, happy-go-lucky sorts in the Kremlin are inclined to sweep under the rug…
Update 3: “Turkish security officials identified the attacker as Mert Altıntas, who had graduated from İzmir Rüştü Ünsal Police Academy in 2014.” Also: “He said something about ‘Aleppo’ and ‘revenge’.”
Update 4: Holy fark! Footage of the shooting:
Andrie Karlov, Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot while making a speech at the opening of exhibition “Russia in the eyes of Turks.”
— Jenna Abrams (@Jenn_Abrams) December 19, 2016
Update 5: Evidently assassin Mert Altıntas has himself been slain. Graphic-ish pics in Tweet that follows:
— Michael Horowitz (@michaelh992) December 19, 2016
Update 6: Turkey’s Foreign minister is flying to Moscow of Syria talks. Meanwhile, Russian capo Vladimir Putin isn’t sounding overly belligerent over the assassinations. “This murder is clearly a provocation aimed at undermining the improvement and normalization of Russian-Turkish relations, as well as undermining the peace process in Syria promoted by Russia, Turkey, Iran and other countries interested in settling the conflict in Syria.” Notably absent from Putin’s statement: the phrases “Casus belli,” “glass parking lot” and “sew the earth with salt.”