Russian ambassador to Turkey wounded in Ankara shooting
Claims gunman shouted ‘Aleppo’ as he shot Andrei Karlov in an Ankara art gallery
Unconfirmed reports said Andrei Karlov was attending the opening of an exhibit at a contemporary arts centre
The Russian ambassador to Ankara was seriously wounded on Monday in a gun attack at an art gallery in the Turkish capital, Turkish media has reported.
Reports said Andrei Karlov was attending the opening of an exhibit at a contemporary arts centre when he was attacked. Hurriyet newspaper said he had been taken to hospital with serious injuries.
Hurriyet’s said sources at the Russian embassy had confirmed the attack, while CNN Türk said several more people were injured.
Turkish officials said the assassin entered the building claiming he was a police officer. Some bystanders allege he shouted “Aleppo” when he shot Karlov, but the claims could not be immediately confirmed.
The attacker was said to have first shot Karlov in the back, before ordering people to leave the room. He then reportedly shot a second time as he lay on the floor. Turkish special forces have surrounded the gallery, believing the attacker to still be inside.
The Russian foreign ministry said it was in contact with Ankara over the events, RIA Novosti reported.
The ambassador had been part of discussions between Turkey that led to an evacuation of east Aleppo getting underway late last week. He had also been a central conduit to the Turkish government’s rapproachment with Moscow in April.
The incident comes a day before the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, is due in Moscow for talks with Russian and Iranian counterparts.
Russia and Turkey have recently gone some way to mending ties, following a long freeze in relations after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter plane in November 2015.
Fatih Öke, the press attache of Turkey’s embassy in Washington DC, wrote on Twitter: “The bullet to Ambassador Karlov is not only aims him. It aims also Turkish Russian relation. We are praying for his good health and peace.”
Karlov is a career diplomat who had previously served as ambassador to North Korea.