godswastedink  asked:

What's your opinion on the attack on the Russian ambassador?

Damn, that was fast. For those who don’t know, the Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot by a Turkish policeman around one hour ago and later died of his wounds. If you don’t mind, I’ll exploit this post to make some kind of summary of everything we know so far.

Current NYT article on the event:

Russian Ambassador to Turkey Is Assassinated in Ankara

By Tim Arango and Rick Gladstone. December 16, 2016

ISTANBUL — Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at an Ankara art exhibit 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, who was described by Ankara’s mayor as a policeman, also wounded at least three others in the assault, which was captured on Turkish video. Turkish officials said he was killed by other officers in a shootout. 

The assassination instantly vaulted relations between Turkey and Russia to a new level of crisis over the protracted Syria conflict on Turkey’s southern doorstep. It came after days of protests by Turks angry over Russia’s support for Syria’s government in the conflict and the Russian role in the killings and destruction in Aleppo, the northern Syrian city. 

The envoy, Andrey G. Karlov, was shot from behind and immediately fell to the floor while speaking at an exhibition, according to multiple accounts from the scene, the Contemporary Arts Center in the Cankaya area of Ankara. 

The gunman, wearing a dark suit and tie, was seen in video footage of the assault shouting in Arabic: “God is great! Those who pledged allegiance to Muhammad for jihad. God is great!” 

Then he switched to Turkish and shouted: “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria! Step back! Step back! Only death can take me from here.” 

Turkish officials said that the gunman was killed after a shootout with Turkish Special Forces police. The assailant’s identity was not immediately known.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, told the Rossiya 24 news channel that Mr. Karlov had died of his wounds in what she described as a terrorist attack. 

Russia news agencies said the ambassador’s wife fainted and was hospitalized after learning of her husband’s death. They also said Russian tourists in Turkey had been advised against leaving their hotel rooms or visiting public places as a precaution. 

CNN Turk published images showing several people lying on the floor of the gallery. 

Russia’s Tass news agency initially quoted witnesses of the attack as saying that there had been an “assassination attempt” against Mr. Karlov, and that he had been shot from behind while finishing his opening remarks at the opening of the exhibition, called “Russia Through Turks’ Eyes.” 

While the Russian and Turkish governments back different sides in the Syria conflict, they had been collaborating in recent days in efforts to evacuate civilians from Aleppo. 

Mr. Karlov, who started his career as a diplomat in 1976, worked extensively in North Korea over two decades, before moving to the region in 2007, according to a biography on the Russian Embassy’s website. He became ambassador in July 2013. 

The attack was a rare instance of an assassination of any Russian envoy. Historians said it might have been the first since Pyotr Voykov, a Soviet ambassador to Poland, was shot to death in Warsaw in 1927. 

For many Russians, the assassination is likely to recall the 19th­ century killing in Tehran of Aleksandr Griboyedov, a poet and diplomat who died after a mob stormed the Russian Embassy. 

That episode is remembered as the most severe insult to Russia’s diplomatic corps in the country’s history. 

More recently, the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah, now allied with Russia in Syria, kidnapped four Soviet diplomats in 1985, killing one and releasing three a month later.

The article does not mention it, but the shooter was able to enter the exposition by showing his police ID (he was off-duty at the time).

A man, right, reported by The Associated Press to be the gunman, after the shooting of the Russian ambassador, on the floor, on Monday at a gallery in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Yavuz Atalan/AFP/Getty

Andrey Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, speaking at the gallery in Ankara on Monday, moments before he was shot. Burhan Ozbilici/AP

People huddle during the shooting in the art gallery. Burhan Ozbilici/AP

Live-update of The Telegraph

From a BBC article:

From a Reuters report:

ANKARA, Dec 19 (Reuters) - There are “very strong signs” that the gunman who killed the Russian ambassador to Turkey on Monday belonged to the network of the U.S.-based cleric who Ankara says orchestrated a failed coup in July, a senior security official said.

The official, who declined to be identified, said the current investigation was focused on the gunman’s links to Fethullah Gulen’s network.

The government says Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, created a “parallel network” in the police, military, judiciary and civil service aimed at overthrowing the state. The cleric denies this.

President Tayyip Erdogan identified the attacker, who was later killed by security forces, as a member of the Ankara riot police who had spent 2-½ years on the force. (Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

We even have videos of the shooting:

Now, what do I think?

I don’t particularly sorry for Andrei Karlov nor the shooter (both are dead). 

I am more worried about the consequences it will have concerning the war in Syria and the regional political landscape. I believe it will lead to a greater Russian participation in Syria. The shooter held obvious (Sunni) fundamentalist beliefs and this constitutes an early Christmas gift for Moscow’s and Damascus’ propaganda departments in their campaigns painting the rebels as sectarian Sunni Arabs (some are). It will help justify Russian interference (blood calls for blood).

Erdogan and Putin may or may not grow closer. On this point, I’m really in the dark. I lean towards the latter. 

The ceasefire in Aleppo is even more at risk now and this worries me. 

I believe the gunman acted alone and wasn’t on the payroll of anyone. No state implications whatsoever.

But I think it will at least prolong the war in Syria. This means more suffering, destruction, death, starvation…etc. especially for civilians.

Bugün babam bir gezmede anlattı çok hoşuma gitti paylaşmak istedim. Benim babamın dedesinin dedesi Atatürk zamanında yaşamış. Sene 1935 falanmis sanırım. Kayseri'de yaşıyoruz biz, büyük dede de Kayseri'de o zamanlar. Dedenin bütün oğulları ölmüş, 30 40 tane de yetim torun kalmış başına. Bir tek oğlu varmış, o da askerdeymis. Dede de tek başına yapamiyormus. Dönemin ilgili kişisine gitmiş derdini anlatmış. “Oğluma teskeresini verin” demiş. Adam bunu dinlememis tabi. Bu da sinirlenmis binmis esege Ankara'ya. Gazi Paşa'yı görmeye. Neyse varmış kendi kendine bulmuş Çankaya'yı. Iceri kadar girmiş ama onu Atatürk'le görüştürmemişler. Bu başlamış Atatürk'e, askerlere orduya falan sovmeye. Neyse Atatürk de o sıra balkona çıkmış sigara içiyor. Kargaşayı duyunca askerlere ne oluyor diye sormus. Askerler demişler işte sana küfrediyor. Atatürk alın getirin o adamı bakayım demiş. Askerler tutmuşlar dedeyi Ata'nın huzuruna. Atatürk adama derdini sormuş önce dinlemis falan. Sonra birkaç arkadaşı Ismet İnönü'yü falan çağırmış derdini duyunca. Önce dedeye Kayseri'ye giden bir tren bileti almış, sonra da teskereyi imzalamış. Odada bulunan arkadaşlarından da para toplanmasını rica etmiş. Ismet Inonu'den ses seda yok. Dede sinirlenmis “Anasını siktigimin kulagi isine gelmediginden duymuyor” demis. Ismet bir anda kalkmış ne dedin den diye celallenmis. Tekrar et dedigini falan tarzinda bir şeyler söylemiş. Dede de aynen tekrar etmiş. Ismet Inonu bu dedigini birkaç kez daha tekrar ettirdikten sonra cebinden parayi çıkarmış ve yol harcliginin tamamı benden demiş. Dede teskere elinde memlekete dönmüş. Ona izni vermeyen adama gidip teskereyle hava falan atmış.

Kulağa çok uydurulmus geliyor ama dedim ki ne büyük adamlar. Tabi bahsettigi dedeyi ben tanimam. Babam da tanımaz. Ama akrabalarimizdan Atatürk ile bire bir görüşen biri olduğunu duyunca bir şaşırdım :D