Hours after the Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot dead in full public view during a photo exhibition, firing was reported in front of the US embassy in Ankara. According to the reports thus far, no one was hurt in the incident.
The state-run Anadolu Agency says the man took out a pump action shotgun he hid in his coat and fired around eight shots in the air early today. He was overpowered by the embassy’s security guards.
The embassy said its missions in Ankara, Istanbul and the southern city of Adana would be “closed for normal operations on Tuesday.”
The incident occurred barley hours after an off-duty Turkish policeman in a suit and tie fatally shot Russia’s ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov in front of stunned onlookers at a photo exhibit on Monday.
The attacker, who too was killed after a shootout, was heard reportedly shouting, “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!”
The attack comes a day before a meeting of Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign and defense ministers in Moscow to discuss Syria. Russia and Iran have backed Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout the nearly six-year conflict, while Turkey has supported Assad’s foes.
President Vladimir Putin had called the killing of Russian envoy a “provocation” aimed at sabotaging warming ties between Moscow and Ankara and efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria.
“The crime that was committed is without doubt a provocation aimed at disrupting the normalisation of Russian-Turkish relations and disrupting the peace process in Syria,” Putin said in televised comments.
Ambassador Andrei Karlov, 62, was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the Turkish capital of Ankara when a man fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience.
“Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!” the gunman shouted in Turkish, referring to the Syrian city where Russian bombardments have helped drive rebels from areas they hadoccupied for years during the war.
Turkish authorities are yet to formally disclose the motive behind the ghastly attack on the deceased diplomat.
(With inputs from the Agencies)