ISTANBUL — Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at on Monday evening by a lone Turkish gunman shouting “God is great!” and “don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!” in what Russia called a terrorist attack.
The gunman, a policeman, also wounded at least three others in the assault, which was captured on Turkish video, before he was killed by other officers in a shootout.
The ambassador to Ankara was shot in the back and killed while giving a speech at an art gallery on Monday. Turkish security sources said the gunman, was an off-duty police officer.
The Russian foreign ministry confirmed the death of envoy Andrei Karlov, which marked one of the most serious spillovers of the Syria conflict. Turkey has struggled with a string of attacks by Islamist and Kurdish militants but the killing of a Russian envoy could have resonance throughout the region.
Russia is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its air strikes were instrumental in helping Syrian forces end rebel resistance last week in the northern city of Aleppo.
The murder has inspired fearful comparisons with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 – and prompted some to speculate that Monday’s killing could also provide the spark for a regional conflagration. However, some experts feel that the shooting may actually spark the countries into more meaningful meetings and lead to quicker resolutions in Syria.