Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov. Photo Credit: AP / via bbc.com.

Multiple news services are reporting that the Russian Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was murdered today by an unidentified man whose homicidal intent was apparently motivated in part by Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War.

Ambassador Karlov had been attending an photo exhibition called “Russia as seen by Turks” at the Contemporary Arts Gallery in the central Cankaya district of the Turkish capital of Ankara, when he was “shot in the back several times” by the assailant. Immediately after the shooting, the attacker began lecturing the attendees on Russia’s policy in Syria, according to the Al Jazeera news service:

“Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria,” the attacker said right after he shot down the ambassador, as seen on a video shared by Turkish media from the scene.

“Whoever took part in this cruelty will pay the price, one by one … Only death will take me from here,” the man said, while carrying a handgun.

The BBC additionally reports that the attacker also said “the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar” (God is great)” during his rant.

Associated Press photos from the scene show the attacker armed with a pistol of undetermined make.

Photo credit: AP, via bbc.com.

Turkish security services arrived soon thereafter and, in the words of Turkey’s state-run news service, “neutralized” the assailant in an “operation that lasted approximately fifteen minutes.”

Ambassador Karlov was taken, apparently still alive, to the nearby Guven Hospital in Ankara’s central Cankaya district, where he subsequently died of his wounds.

Let’s not mince words here: this shooting is a serious incident.  The Turks and Russians are backing different sides in the Syrian war, and the Russian-backed Damascus government recently launched a generally successful (and bloody) bid to take back control over northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Last year at this time, the Russians and Turks had a bit of a row over the downing of a Russian Su-24 fighter by a Turkish Air Force F-16, but the Russians stayed their hand after exchanging a few angry words with the Turks.

Complicating all of this is the fact that Turkey is a part of the NATO alliance, and is host to a large U.S. Air Force presence at Incirlik Air Base in the south (plus a few other installations with an American presence elsewhere.) In theory, if Russia tries something against Turkey, Uncle will be committed to defending its (sometimes unreliable) ally.

World War I famously began with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and European powers that automatically and unquestioningly backed their formal allies. Let’s hope we’re not heading down the same path here.

 

UPDATE 1: VOA News reports that the attacker was an off-duty Turkish police officer.

 

UPDATE 2: The attacker has been identified as Mevult Mert Altintas, who was a member of a “special operations” police force. Dean Weingarten has posted a video of the attack here.

NOTE: An earlier version of this post referenced a second shooting near the U.S. Embassy. This was incorrect; there was only one shooting incident.

77 Responses to BREAKING: Russian Ambassador to Turkey Shot, Killed by Turkish Police Officer

  1. So my “oh shit” meter is red lining. The similarities between this and the situation in 1914 are a little too similar.

    My only hope is that the various parties are smart enough now to not blindly jump in just because of alliances.

      • Unfortunately, Obama is still sitting on the throne for another month. He’s been doing everything he can to do as much damage as possible before Trump takes over and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’d start World War 3 just to screw over Americans (or even hope he could stay in office until the war was over).

    • Maybe it’s time to pay attention to what George Washington said: steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world.

      Or Thomas Jefferson: Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none.

      NATO might have been useful for protecting Western Europe from the Soviets in the early ’50s while they rebuilt, but now the EU could overpower the Russians. They don’t need us, and we don’t need to bleed for them.

      • All the Russians need to do to bring the EU to their knees is this:

        Wait until a cold snap comes into western Europe. Then the natural gas and oil pipelines going west all develop some “malfunctions.”

        Then the Europeans (especially the Germans) learn the follow of having a military alliance to protect them from the Russians while at the same time basing their economies on the fuel that the Russians are selling them about 30% of their natural gas, about a third of their crude oil, a bunch of coal on top of that.

        Could the EU survive? Sure. Will they be inconvenienced? Oh yes – the economic disruption will be huge. At least as large as the threat of a shooting war breaking out.

        • “Wait until a cold snap comes into western Europe. Then the natural gas and oil pipelines going west all develop some “malfunctions.””

          That’s why we’re so keen on liquefying a good chunk of our NG and shipping it to the EU.

          Let the EU tell Putin to suck eggs…

      • The EU may have better toys but they largely lack the will to fight. Russia may soak up casualties but that is what they have always done and they have the will to keep going until their done.

    • Meh. I don’t see the Russians going to war over a trifling ambassador. Putin’s not that emo. Dude’s heart circulates a mix of at least 75% anti-freeze.

      I’d wager they use this to sweat Erdogan into giving them things they want. Whatever that might be. More freedom for the FSB in Turkey, airbase access, concessions on passage through certain straights that the Russians care about… all of the above?

      • Maybe, but when Putin tries to sweat people into seeing things his way it usually involves military posturing. Even the coolest heads eventually lose playing chicken.

      • What I see happening out of this is that Putin works behind the scenes to get the EU to cut Turkey loose from NATO. It will require a little bit of melodrama, some gentle pressure, a little bit of propaganda that highlights what a thug Erdogan has become. It will require no force.

        Without NATO membership, in the future if Russia wants to go after Turkey with military power, Turkey cannot exercise membership in NATO to pull in the UK and US.

        The Russians play chess, not checkers.

  2. Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serb in 1914. Serbia was invaded on that premise and, due to all the military alliances of Europe, WWI started.
    Turkey, is a part of a military alliance (NATO) that deems if a member is attacked, the rest of the members defend.
    Could history be about to repeat itself?
    Ironically, it all happens on the anniversary of the end of the Battle of Verdun.
    2017 could be a scary year.

    • “… Serbia was invaded on that premise…”

      Just who in their right mind wants to invade *Turkey*, for cripe’s sake?

      • Someone who wants easy access to a nice, warm-water port, that’s who.

        Who’s that? Oh, Russia.

        This is not a recent desire by Russia, BTW. It’s been a dream of Russia to have a warm-water port since, since, oh, the time of Peter the Great.

        All it requires is knocking the Turks out of the area.

        • ^ Agreed. Russia has wanted warm-water port access since before America existed independently of Britain.

          Previously, Britain and France opposed them because that sort of access could threaten their holdings in North Africa and India, respectively. Later, after France quit Algeria and the Brits quit nearly everywhere ‘East of Suez,’ the USA opposed it because the USSR’s ideological goals (to unite the world under the communist economic system) threatened American access to markets and resources in Europe / Middle East (and Israel, a special case b/c the U.S. allied with it in the early ’70s for reasons partly strategic and partly ideological.) That was also why CentCom (nee the RDF) was created, and the base at Diego Garcia built.

          But now? Does America’s security still depend on opposing Russian expansionism toward the south no matter what? Is Turkey still an ally worth protecting with nuclear weapons? ‘

          I don’t know the answers to those questions, but they are ones we’re going to need to think about. Soon.

    • To be fair, the death of an ambassador makes Turkey the aggressor in the event of war, not Russia. That makes the NATO articled non-binding. I bet Trump will be the first to see it that way.

      • Further, any level-headed member of NATO would be looking for a reason to cut Turkey loose from NATO, now that Erdogan has made it quite clear that he’s moving Turkey out of the secular wester-style government column and firmly into the Islamist column.

        • Except that quite a few of the “larger” NATO countries are already handing their governments over to Islam.

        • For the first time Turkey’s military was not able to step in and keep the Islamist invasion at bay. I haven’t seen the whole list of what went wrong with the coup, but the pooch was thoroughly screwed top to bottom to be sure.

          Kiss Turkey goodbye. It’ll be another Islamic shithole in less than a generation, the Brits failed to civilize the primitives. The book of the child-raping-warlord leaves no margin for those who actually read it and live it. The nonsensical propaganda about a religion of peace is found nowhere in the Quran – it’s taqiyya, lying to your enemies in furtherance of Islam.

          Pew Research (the left-leaning info tank) did a survey of Muslims across dozens of Muslim countries. The myth of majority moderate Muslims is just that. Over 50% of them wanted Sharia, over 30% felt honor killings were acceptable in some circumstances, the list goes on and on. I guess we’ll have to get to the point where there are “no-go zones” and ‘Muslim Patrols” in the US before we finally acknowledge that Islam is still the same problem it has been from day one until today. It’s mandate is to dominate the world and establish a theocracy. Those ‘followers’ who are not on board, have their heads removed, or are tossed from buildings.

          http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/22/muslims-and-islam-key-findings-in-the-u-s-and-around-the-world/

      • That’s only true if the Turkish government ordered the attack and somebody can prove it.
        If Russia decides to go into Turkey to “investigate”, much like the Austro-Hungarians went into Serbia to investigate their assassination, then that would be the aggressive act.

        Hopefully President-Elect Trump’s relationship with Putin will help keep things calm here.
        Speaking of which…today’s the real presidential election. Has anybody seen results yet?

        • “Speaking of which…today’s the real presidential election. Has anybody seen results yet?”

          So far, no major surprises, except 2 faithless electors have abandoned the HildaBeast…

          *snicker*

          Texas’s votes shortly should put Trump over 270…

        • @pwrserge: Do you think the Russians want the corpse that badly?

          Note, I am not sure the assassin is dead because I haven’t seen anything definative but what I have read and based on my experience with the Turks I would be surprised if he is still alive.

      • To be fair to the Turks, this (hopefully) is a case of a rogue actor inspired by religious solidarity, not one aided and abetted by the government.

        • It’s a government as much as a religion. Islam has slowly infiltrated it’s agents into the government, until the security apparatus basically has two teams inside it – one is stridently pro-Islam and often works against the secular side. This guy was very likely given some material support by the Islam side of the security apparatus.

    • The biggest historical difference between then and now is that WWI wasn’t ALL because of military alliances. It was that on paper and in the history books, sure. And it’s mostly true.

      Except back then a HUGE reason those alliances were enforced was because Europe was led by quite a few kissing cousins, literally.

      King George and Tsar Nicholas could have been identical twins. If you think about it, if a prince ALWAYS marries a princess the gene pool doesn’t get very deep.

      A lot of the reason WWI kicked off the way it did was the various monarchies working out their family issues…

        • Tsar Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm II were second cousins and childhood friends. The two exchanged telegrams in July of 1914 yrying to sort the whole thing out appealing to each other in the childhood names.*

          As Monarchs, cousins, and friends they were close and WWI kicking off had little to do with family and dynastic issue and a lot to do with feckless weak leaders and terrible timing.

          There is a great short series on youtube (not my sole source of knowledge on the topic) called the Seminal Tragedy from the guys at Extra Credit/Extra History.

          *Look up the Willy-Nicky Correspondence

      • Another reason was that the structure of alliances in Europe had been significantly fostered by Otto von Bismarck, who played it like a fiddle to pursue Prussia’s interests. It was a dynamic system doomed to failure once there was no guiding hand tweaking it constantly; once it became a static its brittle nature almost guaranteed a major war.

  3. I have a feeling there’ll be hell to pay!! Hard to negotiate something like this away between two hard-headed governments.

      • They say he shot some other people [Chiraq style?] so I dunno if the ambassador got a whole mag in the back or not. It does look like at least one round came out his chest though.

        To the ambassador it’s rather academic at this point.

      • In the video, you can see that the slide is not locked back. If the assassin did empty the gun, he did a fast reload and dropped the slide again. My suspicion is that there were rounds left in the gun. During his rant, the assassin repeatedly aims at the audience, presumably to keep them at bay. Had there been an opportunity to take him down quickly, first aid and prompt transport to a hospital might have saved the ambassador’s life.

      • The video has a ton of echo, but news reports are that it was 8 rounds fired, give or take one. Even in California you’d have one or two left. Since the gun looks full sized, I’d guess he’s got another 9 or 10 rounds, if it was a 9mm.

  4. What did the assassin think would be the outcome of this action?

    That the Russians will suddenly withdraw from Syria and given everyone a plushy My Little Pony toy as they’re leaving?

    I don’t think so.

    Did he think that he was going to put Turkey into good graces with the Russians?

    Again, I don’t think so.

    The Russians have shown, quite amply and repeatedly, that they have and entertain none of the west’s silly ideas about how to deal with Islamic violence.

      • Well, given his (reported) rant about Aleppo, he seemed to express a bigger ideal behind this action than merely shooting the ambassador.

        • I’m sure many assassins would give you a rant about something or other if you gave them the opportunity.

          I’m also confident that most of them don’t think through what they’re doing (unless they’re professionals). They’re angry about something, some poor bastard became the object of that anger and now they’re gonna kill the guy. Most of them just think shooting someone “important” makes a point. They don’t consider the chain of events it might set off or, if they do, they likely don’t care.

    • Yes. I recall in the 70s when a Russian official was killed by some Muslim outfit. The KGB identified the guy, and sent a simple message: we know who his family are, where they live; we know who had authority over this guy, who their families are, and where they live; so turn him over or we will come after them. They were believed because they had done exactly that before.

      It’s said that the KGB didn’t die, it just changed clothes. I would not want to be one of this guy’s relatives.

      • I don’t think Shannon pays anything for these posts.

        I think this *is* Shannon.

        She hasn’t had so much as a drop of news coverage in months, so she’s got time on her hands.

        Robert, you should do an IP trace on these troll posts; I’d be willing to bet a dime that they lead back to Shannon Watts’ house.

    • Let’s put this one to bed quickly, shall we?

      The toddler died as a result of typical black-on-black violence. Doesn’t matter if it’s a gun or a brick, blacks settle the most ridiculous of life’s ‘issues’ with violence. That’s their culture, what are you a racist? Cultural Imperialist? Aren’t they allowed to have their own culture?

      As to Switzerland, it’s only become a rape-infested 3rd world hell-hole since they let in a record number of, wait for it, rapey 3rd world animals. At this point there is no info that I’ve seen on the shooter. We have no idea if it is the usual Sunni v. Shia violence (they kill each other a lot you know), or if it was some indiscriminate Muzzy shooting at a Swiss citizens, or if it was gang violence (all of which have become prevalent since the Swiss naively assumed they could let these animals in and they’d become civilized just by location).

      Meanwhile, Muslims threw how many gay folks off buildings today? How many women were stoned to death for being rape victims? How many beaten? How many young boys raped as a matter of course?

      I really doubt it was a white Swiss who was doing the shooting. There would have been 3 fatalities.

  5. Off-duty cop…that explains the generally good weapons handling in the pics. Finger indexed off trigger, even. Was wondering about that.

  6. It’s all fake news leaked by the Russians in an effort to keep the Electors from changing their minds and voting for Hillary.

  7. The original article I saw was from The Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s own.

    And I quote from the article:

    — — — —

    “Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, has been shot and killed at an art exhibition in the Turkish capital of Ankara, Russian embassy sources have confirmed to the Daily News.

    Karlov was shot by a gun while making a speech at a painting exhibition in the Turkish capital, the embassy said, adding that it was a radical Islamist attack. Three other persons were also shot in the attack.”

    — — —

    “Karlov was shot by a gun……”

    Oh really ?

    Must be one of those ghost guns that run out 3,000 rounds-per-second from a single clipazine, self-firing around corners, through schools into th……… Never mind.

    Also, it’s come out officially that the shooter was an L.E.O. – who was quoted as screaming ye olde standard ‘Tally-Ho Snackbar !’, along with, “We die in Aleppo, you die here.

    Additionally, “Allahu Akbhar” does NOT mean “God Is Great”. It translates to “Allah Is Greatest”. Words mean things.

    • Um, no.

      The one raised index finger is a sign among Salafists.

      It roughly means that “there is no god but Allah, and He is the one god.” NB that the index finger is raised, and the thumb is positioned on the middle finger. The origin of this sign/signal go back to descriptions of how Muhammad would raise his finger and position his thumb.

      As I keep telling people: Read. Read the holy books of Islam, read their history, and all will become clear. ISIS is the literal embodiment of Islam. Emphasis on the word “literal.”

  8. Oh it’s just some “birth pangs” prior to the return of JESUS. And most all of the coming cosmic kerfuffle is mighty close…kings of the due north of Jerusalem.

  9. Russia has made eternal enemies with their latest campaign. I was watching a news story with the orphaned children of Syria and there was a boy about 10 years old or so who said something to the extent of “right now we have to flee but we will be back to liberate” with a matter of fact tone in his voice and cold stare in his eyes.

  10. I wonder if Russia and it’s state sponsored media will label this assassination as a “spontaneous protest brought about by an anti-Islamic YouTube video.” I wonder still if they will then do absolutely nothing about it.

  11. One thing I have noticed in all these attacks, they always say Allahu Akbar but you never hear them say Jesus saves.
    Am I missing something here?

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