Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, was shot earlier today at the opening of an art exhibit in Ankara. Three other people were wounded.
The attack appears to be a premeditated act of terrorism, and it occurred at an event with media present, including an AP photographer according to The Guardian.
Karlov was making a speech to the gallery hall when his suited attacker interrupted him with a shout of “Allahu Akhbar” and began shooting.
This seems like it could end up a historic photograph. Russian ambassador in Ankara and his assassin. pic.twitter.com/FGlvUdR1Bn
— Ankit Panda (@nktpnd) December 19, 2016
Some reports have the attacker also screaming “Allepo,” the Syrian city, which had been controlled by the country’s rebels but recently fell to forces loyal to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
Turkey’s principal interest in Syria is minimizing the power of the Kurds, a militarized minority within Syria who are part of the rebel forces there. Turkey also has a large Kurdish minority who are fighting, sometimes violently, for independence, so it seems Kurdish power as a threat.
Russia was backing Assad’s forces, antagonizing the Kurds. Protests have recently erupted around Turkey about Moscow’s role in perpetrating war crimes in Aleppo.
The other principal superpowers in the Syria crisis are Iran and the US, and it remains to be seen how this event will affect world diplomacy.