Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was shot and killed in Ankara on Monday by a young Turkish policeman who cried out that it was “revenge” for Russian bombing that killed civilians in Aleppo. Karlov was attending the opening of a photography exhibition at a city gallery when the assailant approached him and fired at close range. TV footage shows a man in a dark suit and tie, waving a gun and gesturing in the air shot from behind at Karlov who was addressing a crowd from a podium at the Ankara exhibition hall. Ambassador collapsed right after being shot and died on way to hospital.
Recently Turkey and Russia were working in close collaboration to evacuate citizens from Syrian city of Aleppo after Asad led troops took back control of the city. But sentiments of people in Turkey were hurt and some protests against Russia were reported from Turkey. Reportedly protesters were not pleased with the role that Russia played in Syria. It was reported that the killer before opening fire shouted that he did it as revenge for Aleppo. The shooter allowed people to exit the art gallery after he shot the ambassador, but gunman was also killed by Turkish police shortly after the tragic incident.
Turkey was standing on the opposite side of the Syrian conflict with Ankara backing rebels trying to topple Moscow-ally President Bashar al-Assad. In recent past relations of both countries touched the lowest point when last year a Turkish jet shot down a Russian warplane over Syria. It was evident that both countries had differences over developments in Syria, but through negotiations both countries had reconciled the situation in recent times. Recently Moscow and Ankra has developed understanding to work together for the safety of civilians in Syria. But this incident has proved that sentiments of people are still against the Russian actions in Syria. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin to share information about the shooting of Moscow’s ambassador to Ankara. Russia has termed the unfortunate incident as a terrorist act, but also decided to cooperate with Turkey to comprehensibly investigate the incident. After the tragic incident of killing of a high profile personality, response of Russia was calm, and reaction of both countries to keep cooperating in future is appreciable. Incident was expected to deteriorate bilateral relations of Russia and Turkey but instead it is expected to further cement their relationship. In recent developments, it is reported that Turkey has not excluded possibility of involvement of US backed Turkish cleric Fathullah in the incident. Turkey earlier put responsibility of a failed coup in the country on Gullen. But it is a serious matter and requires proper investigation. It is a fact situation in Syria is critical and all the regional countries and international humanitarian organizations should come forward to help people. The good thing on part of both Russia and Turkey is that despite the tragic incident that could have createad a rift between the two countries, both reacted very sensibly keeping in view the situation in Syria.
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