Mevlut Mert Altintas - The sharp-suited Turkish cop who killed Russian ambassador

As the world leaders condemn the shocking assassination of Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Ankara, more details about the 22-year-old killer has now come to fore.

By Zee Media Bureau | Last Updated: Dec 20, 2016, 09:54 AM IST
Mevlut Mert Altintas -  The sharp-suited Turkish cop who killed Russian ambassador

Ankara: As the world leaders condemn the shocking assassination of Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Ankara, more details about the 22-year-old killer has now come to fore.

According to the initial investigations done by the Turkish authorities, Karlov's killer came from Soke - a quiet region in the west of Turkey - and had served with the anti-riot police for less than three years.

The young assassin has been identified as Mevlut Mert Altintas, who was caught on camera as he gunned the Russian ambassador down at a cultural centre in the Turkish capital.

Dressed in a black-suit, Altintas was also heard shouting ''Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) and “Don’t forget Aleppo” as he waved his gun and killed Karlov in cold blood. 

However, it is still unclear if Altintas, who was later “neutralised” by Turkish guards, was attracted to religious extremism or had any history of activism.

The video footage of the incident showed the clean-shaven man smartly dressed in a suit, wearing a tie and white shirt pull out a gun and fire at ambassador Andrei Karlov from behind as the envoy opened a Russian photography exhibition in Ankara.

He then threatened terrified spectators, yelling “Allahu Akbar” and saying that the murder was vengeance for Russia’s actions in the war-battered Syrian city of Aleppo.

Later, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Altintas was born in the town of Soke in Aydin province in western Turkey and attended a special school for training future policemen.

Altintas then joined the Ankara anti-riot police - the Cevik Kuvvet in Turkish - and had worked there for the last two-and-a-half-years.

The region of Aydin on the Aegean coast is one of Turkey’s most peaceful regions well away from trouble-spots and the country’s most religiously conservative areas.

After the attack on Karlov, Altintas refused to surrender and remained inside the exhibition centre as clashes took place with police for 15 minutes.

However, he was then killed by police in an operation, authorities said.

Shortly after the incident, his mother, father and sister were detained for questioning in their homes in western Turkey.

The mayor of Ankara, Melih Gokcek, known for his outspoken comments, speculated on his official Twitter account that the attacker may be linked to the group of Fethullah Gulen blamed for the July 15 coup aimed at toppling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

With AFP inputs