Turkish authorities detained six people prior to the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, at an exhibition of Russian photography at Ankara. The ambassador was shot in the back while having a speech on a Tuesday morning in the art gallery.
Videos of the attack circulate the internet where the perpetrator was seen shouting "Allahu Akbar" which translates to "Don't forget Aleppo" after he shot the Russian ambassador.
The suspect was identified as 22-year-old Mevluü Mert Altıntasş who was an Anakara riot police officer for 2 ½ years, according to Daily Sabah. "Don't forget Aleppo, don't forget Syria. You will not be able to feel safe for as long as our districts are not safe. Only death can take me from here," he shouted in Turkish as seen in the video. He was shot dead after minutes of open fire with the police.
Altintass passed the metal detector examination after he showed his police ID. He was off-duty at the time of the incident and reportedly stayed in a nearby hotel to prepare for the attack, shaving and wearing a suit and tie.
The six people that are detained by the police include family members of the suspect and a cotenant in Ankara.
Turkey pointed the blame to US based Turkish preacher Muhammet Fethullah Gülen who has been criticizing and fighting the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Prior to this, authorities also arrested a retired police-academy technician who is believed to be the protector of the suspect inside the Gulen network, according to Wall Street Journal.
Gulen disputed the claims and stated that they are not connected with the assassination of the Russian ambassador.
A memorial service for Karlov was conducted at the airport in Ankara before his remains got delivered back in Russia. President Vladimir Putin sent a Russian investigative team to help with the fulfillment of the case. Putin stated that the assassination is clearly a "provocation aimed at derailing the normalization of Russo-Turkish relationship and also the peace process in Syria."
Turkish president Erdogan stated that he had a telephone call with Putin agreeing to strengthen ties against terrorism.
"No matter how much terror you unleash, no matter how many heinous people you assemble, you won't be able to divide this nation," Mr. Erdogan said, in an inauguration on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, hours after the ambassador assassination, another shooting incident occurred at the US Embassy of Turkey. A Turkish man was apprehended in the attack after he fired nine rounds of shots. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident.