Russia’s ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was on Monday shot dead at a photo exhibition in capital Ankara by a Turkish policeman who was seen shouting: “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!”
Recounting the incident, Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici who was also present at the exhibition said the gunman, who was wearing a dark suit and tie, fired at least eight shots on the ambassador. He recalls how the gunman walked around the ambassador while he lay motionless.
“It was a coolly calculated assassination. Pandemonium erupted. People screamed, hid behind columns and under tables and lay on the floor,” the AP photographer said.
The gunshots came in. The gunman, later identified as police officer Mevlut Mert Altintas, also trained his gun at the people trying to find cover on the right side of the room.
“He shouted Allahu akbar, but I couldn’t understand the rest of what he said in Arabic. I saw that the man was agitated — and yet, he was, strangely, in control of himself. He shouted at everyone to stand back. Security guards ordered us to vacate the hall and we left,” he recalls.
The gunman was later killed in a shootout.
“When I returned to the office to edit my photos, I was shocked to see that the shooter was actually standing behind the ambassador as he spoke. Like a friend or a bodyguard,” he recollects.