22-year-old police murders Russian envoy: Interior min.

Motive of gunman, identified as riot police Mevlut Mert Altintas, still unknown

22-year-old police murders Russian envoy: Interior min. Turkish Minister of Interior, Suleyman Soylu (2nd L) speaks to media in front of the Private Guven Hospital where Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov hospitalized after Karlov has been shot in a gunman attack in Ankara, Turkey on December 19, 2016. Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov has been shot multiple times at an exhibition in Ankara and died on December 19, 2016. Karlov was delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of a photo exhibit when an armed assailant opened fire on him. (Güven Yılmaz - Anadolu Agency)


Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was shot dead by 22-year-old riot police officer Mevlut Mert Altintas, the Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Monday. 

Confirming Karlov's death, Soylu briefed the reporters that Altintas was working at his current position in Turkish capital Ankara since 2.5 years. 

Altintas was born on June 24, 1994 in Turkey's western coastal province of Aydin. He attended the Soke Cumhuriyet Anadolu High School and is a graduate of Izmir Rustu Unsal Police Vocational School, according to Soylu.

The minister added that investigation is underway to reveal the perpetrator's motivation.

Expressing condolences to the Russian government and its people, Soylu told reporters that Karlov's assassination was a "terrorist attack" which "deeply saddened" and "deeply hurt" Turkey.

"This assassination, this attack, this terror act is a heinous act targeting Turkey-Russia relations. This is a huge provocation. This malicious act which was conducted specifically in a period when Turkey-Russia relations were in a very good phase, is a bullet fired at Turkey and a friend who was under protection of our nation."

The attack also left Leyla Gundogan, Albania-born Turkish citizen, Anastas Zimbirikali and Anil Deger injured, who were immediately taken to Guven Hospital.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has just arrived in Russian capital Moscow, according to Soylu, for trilateral meetings with Russia and Iran on Syria on Tuesday. 

Soylu added that Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik was going to fly to Moscow as well for the meetings on Wednesday. He did not clarify whether Isik was still be joining the talks. 

The speech comes after the Russian ambassador was shot multiple times Monday evening at an art exhibition in Turkey's capital Ankara. 

Karlov had been delivering a speech at the Contemporary Arts Gallery in Ankara's central Cankaya district when an assailant opened fire on the diplomat before shooting into the air, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent who witnessed the incident.

Police special forces neutralized the attacker in an operation that lasted around 15 minutes.

Andrey Gennadyevich Karlov was born in 1954 in Moscow and had been serving as Russian ambassador to Turkey since July 2013.

A graduate of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations he was an experienced diplomat, serving in many positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the former Soviet Union and Russia.

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