Breaking: Green on Blue Murder, Russian Ambassador to Turkey

A lot of news is developing here and it may quickly be overcome by events. But here’s what we have so far (this post replaces our scheduled 1800 post).

Facts

  1. The Ambassador did not have significant (i.e. armed) security.
  2. He and two others are reported shot. One is believed to have been the individual translating for him, probably a Russian Embassy officer.
  3. He was taken by surprise while giving a routine speech at the opening of a Russian-Turkish art exhibit at the Contemporary Art Center in Ankara. Engagements for diplomats don’t get any more routine or low-threat than that.
  4. The gunman began yelling before he fired, and may have fired a warning shot (reports disagree), but then immediately shot the Ambassador in the back. The Ambassador was hit by multiple rounds and appears to have died immediately. (He was not pronounced dead until 19:53 Turkish time, after attempts to resuscitate him in hospital). Numerous photos from the scene (there was a significant media presence) show him remaiing in the exact same position once he falls.
  5. The shooter was a Turk, a police officer who was standing behind the Ambassador as if providing security. He apparently was wearing an appropriate recognition signal for police/bodyguards.
  6. So far, Turkish sources have not revealed the man’s name or exact assignment, beyond that his duties were in Istanbul. Update: The attacker was 22-year-old Mevlüt Mert Alintas, born 24 June 94, in Söke, an Aegean coastal town once populated by Greeks who were subsequently ethnically cleansed. (The town was resettled with Turks “cleansed” in turn from Greek and Cypriot territory). He appears to be an ethnic Turk, not a Kurd or other minority member. 
  7. The shooter harangued the crowd, with slogans in Arabic but declarations in Turkish, while threatening them with his service pistol.
  8. The shooter is reported to have been put down by a national CT team.

How it went down, in pictures.

Ambassador Andrei Gennadyevich Karlov begins his speech at an art gallery. What only one person at the gallery knows, the young man out of focus behind him to the left, is that the young man, a Turkish policeman, is here to murder Karlov.

Karlov is a career diplomat, who has been Ambassador to both Koreas before. He has seconds to live.

After the first shots, Karlov is down. So is another man (l.) who may have been the interpreter translating for Karlov, who had been positioned to Karlov’s right (out of the frame in the picture above to the left… you can see, from the relative positions of the microphones in the photos below, where he stood; the silver mic was the Ambassador’s, and the black one the translator’s). The photographer in this Hürriyet photo is clearly proned out himself; while the gunman harangues the survivors, who are clustered in a knot behind a wall (you can see them in the left rear of the picture below).

This next picture shows the reactions of the people attending the exhibit opening. (Where we had them we preserved the original news agency captions). Absence of a counterattack on the attacking cop suggests that there were no armed personnel on hand.

This is in keeping with what is known about Karlov, who disdained armed security, and would not ride in armored vehicles. When Turkish journalists asked him about it (he’s been Ambassador to Turkey since 2013), he told them that “Nobody will do anything to me.”

Pepole react after the the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was shot at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. A gunman opened fire on Russia’s ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition on Monday. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

After murdering Karlov, the gunman remained on guard, menacing the members of the public even as he harangued them with his message. His pistol handling shows signs of traning.

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

The cop/shooter periodically raised and lowered his handgun, which appears to be a Turkish-made CZ derivative. When he was or just had been threatening someone, he got on the trigger; otherwise he maintained well-trained trigger discipline.

Note poor Karlov’s glasses, slid across the floor as he fell lifeless.

An unnamed gunman shouts after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. A Russian official says that the country’s ambassador to Turkey has died after being shot by a gunman in Ankara. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

He periodically made the “one finger” gesture commonly associated with ISIL and other Islamist extremists (it symbolizes “monotheism,” in response to the Islamist belief that Christianity and many other religions practice shirk, or polytheism).

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. A gunman opened fire on Russia’s ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition on Monday. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

The relative lack of bleeding also suggests that Karlov was killed instantly. At one point the gunman seemed to check him, as if considering a coup de grâce. 

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

There are a lot more pictures of the one-finger gesture.

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. A gunman opened fire on Russia’s ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition on Monday. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. A gunman opened fire on Russia’s ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition on Monday. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

A man gestures near to the body of a man at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. An Associated Press photographer says a gunman has fired shots at the Russian ambassador to Turkey. The ambassador’s condition wasn’t immediately known. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

A man gestures near to Andrei Karlov on ground, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. An Associated Press photographer says a gunman has fired shots at the Russian ambassador to Turkey. The ambassador’s condition wasn’t immediately known. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici).

Analysis (incl. Opinion)

Rather predictably, a government that embraces Islamism gets it good and hard in the end, and this, of course, is what happened to Pakistan starting with Zia Al-Haq. Now it appears to be happening to Turkey. Erdogan has ridden the Islamist tiger, and now it’s his turn on the teeth end.

While Turkey is fertile ground for conspiracy theories, and many will doubtless emerge blaming everyone from the US to the Kurds to the Russians themselves, the most probably reason for this murder is exactly what the murderer said: self-radicalized Islamic fundamentalism.

For more information

The Turkish de facto state-controlled paper Hürriyet has limited coverage in English; Google Translate’s Turkish is pretty weak but you can decode some of these things. Hürriyet’s reporters and photographers were present at the scene of the crime.

Hürriyet Google translated: Who is Andrey Karlov?

About the Assassin

 

A final warning

On major, breaking stories, the press’s bias is entirely towards speed, not accuracy. Do not be surprised or think conspiracy is afoot, just because any of the early reports we’ve posted here are soon contradicted. That’s almost inevitable, because it’s almost a certainty that every early report (including this one!) contains major errors.

61 thoughts on “Breaking: Green on Blue Murder, Russian Ambassador to Turkey

  1. James

    I will say in photo of folks in corner the one older gentleman on the right in green shirt has a resigned yet just give me a opening look on his face,feel he has been witness to/participated in violence before.

    1. Winston Smith

      Also notice the guy to his right hugging the wall and hiding behind the girl. I guess there’s snowflakes all over.

  2. Sommerbiwak

    The lorry driver in Berlin that drove into the crowd at a Xmas market did it of yet undetermined motive. Even an accident with the lorry getting out of control is not ruled out yet. But the german federal investigator has pulled the investigation into his responsibility in case it was terrorism.

    Meanwhile in Zürich, Switzerland one or more gunmen shot up a mosque during praying hour. Three wounded, gunman (or-men) on the run.

    1. Loren

      No accident. Original driver found in truck murdered. Germany is getting exactly what the politicians organized with their immigration policies and coddling of pos muslims.

      1. Hognose Post author

        Per the German paper Die Welt, the prisoner who is suspected in the murder of the driver and at least nine others is a “Pakistani ‘refugee'”:

        Ein Mann wurde festgenommen, dieser soll als Flüchtling nach Deutschland gekommen sein. … Nach Informationen der „Welt“ soll der Fahrer ein pakistanischer Flüchtling sein…

        And this:

        Mutmaßlicher Lkw-Fahrer soll als Flüchtling nach Deutschland gekommen sein
        Nach Informationen der „Welt“ soll der mutmaßliche Lkw-Fahrer aus Pakistan kommen und als Flüchtling am 16. Februar 2016 nach Deutschland eingereist sein.

        According to Die Welt sources, the probable truck driver came from Pakistan and was admitted to Germany on 16 February 2016 as a refugee.

        1. Sommerbiwak

          Yes have just read it after getting up. *sigh* Was to happen sooner or later with this uncontrolled mass of people.

          The driver will need more teddy bears and welcoming I am sure. /sarc

  3. Sommerbiwak

    “7. The shooter harangued the crowd, with slogans in Arabic but declarations in Turkish, while threatening them with his service pistol.”

    The slogans seem to have been quran quotes.
    Makes sense to make those in arabic and adress the crowd in turkish. The killer is said to have shouted something along the lines to not forget Aleppo and not to forget Syria.

  4. C Otto

    Well, i tried to post it, but I’m having issues. There is a video of the event over on youtube

  5. morokko

    Both Turks and Russians most probably will try to spin it in a way that let them conduct their mutual business without obstacles – so the assassin will likely be labeled as Gulenist plant and also stories about American involvement or at least acquiescence will be promoted, albeit unofficially. The interesting thing is the killer restrained himself mostly to shooting only ambassador. The usual jihadists rather revel in general mayhem, so even if their target is specific they would most probably just blast also another people, for the sake of blasting them, especially at such gathering, when pretty much everyone present is either foreigner or local “apostate”. So it could be mostly political thing, with obvious islamic justification thrown in for a good measure. Or perhaps the shooter still more or less believed himself to be the police officer, hence he tried to avoid murdering more people than necessary.

    1. Sommerbiwak

      dead assassins do not talk. he can be labeled a Gülenista, derkaderka, ISIList or whatever Erdogam feels like.

    2. Hognose Post author

      Exactly this is happening. Turkish state media (the only media left in the country) are calling it a Gülenist attack, and Russian state media (ditto) are hinting that it’s some kind of American plot.

  6. Matt

    I noticed his trigger discipline as well. Thought his weapon looked like a Canik, a P99 clone. I’m not surprised he wasn’t taken alive. Dead men tell no embarrassing tales.

    Photographer has a line on a Pulitzer for those shots.

    1. Hognose Post author

      And the guy’s probably going to need therapy. Although news photogs tend to be made of sterner stuff than reporters. Unlike reporters, who can make the whole story up in a bar (and often do), photographers almost have to go to where the story is.

      1. JonMac

        It very clearly isn’t. The K2P has a CZ75-style slide inside the rails configuration, this does not. The pistol is either a Sarsilmaz ST9, or a first generation Canik TP9. No way to tell which for sure from this footage, but my vote goes to the TP9, which has since had a radical restyle.

  7. LSWCHP

    I’ve long since joined the camp that says “Don’t let any more of these bastards into my country”. Hate speech I know, but an attitude that will protect the lives of me, my kids and my fellow countrymen against these murderous Allah Akbaring goat-humping dogs.

    If only our “leaders” would develop the same attitudes instead of cowering in fear of accusations of waaaacism.

    Islam is fundamentally incompatible with secular western democracy. Many more of us in the west will die in the coming years at the hands of the Mohammadans (or however you spell his idiotic name) until we all wake up and reject them, as a healthy body rejects disease cells.

    1. Nynemillameetuh

      “The West” is so far from a healthy body that we can just go ahead and sign up for palliative care at this point. I guess the tranny bathrooms, empathy bellies, and museums to “victims of intolerance” will have to suffice.

    2. John Distai

      I agree with you. Please remember that there is a different kind of death happening with all of the first world countries. There is a population decline / replacement rate problem. People aren’t having children, and so the population slowly dies, and the population of the country dwindles. As this happens, there aren’t enough resources to fulfill previous social contracts.

      Slowing or reversing a declining population is a tricky problem. The short term solution is to import people from 3rd world countries who breed prolifically. If we’re lucky, those folks will produce more responsible and productive members than they subtract through mayhem.

      With that being said, I’d prefer that the first world countries weren’t in this predicament and didn’t have to resort to this sort of population bolstering solution.

      1. John M.

        “Slowing or reversing a declining population is a tricky problem.”

        I dunno, all your ancestors figured it out, and some of them couldn’t even read. If you need some tips, let me know.

        -John M.

        1. John Distai

          They did figure it out, and they probably shouldn’t have.

          Those were the days before a 50%+ divorce rate, lawyers, alimony, child support, and various other reproduction-inhibiting schemes. I reluctantly did my part, and may eventually pay a hefty price for it, too. Just the thing I wanted to avoid, hence my reluctance.

          Others may be wiser or more risk averse than I was. How can we find the right women to make those guys suckers too? Hence the tricky problem.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I got as far in the article as Imam al-Obama’s fatwa that ISIL was “not Islamic,” and I tuned out. Which is probably unfair to the author, but….

      1. Sommerbiwak

        You mean the introduction? He just lists the clueless US leadership and quotes them.

        The article further describes daesh as the death cult, end-of-the-world cult that it is. They await the grand final battle, their version of judgement day as christians call it. And many of “the west(tm)” have no clue and dont see this. (do not want to?) Although ISIS is publishing exactly this message in english. in high gloss paper magazines! It is not like they hide their true ambitions.

        1. bloke_from_ohio

          That is why it is so great that Da’esh lost Dubiq to Arab, Kurdish, and Turkish forces and not the Rome.

          1. Sommerbiwak

            I most certainly agree.

            The article makes more sense of how and why daesh operates than anything european or american politicians say.

        2. Hognose Post author

          Iran’s government has similar millennial beliefs, but they differ on points of moz theology thanks to the Shia/Sunni schism.

          The right answer is to make them fear us more than they fear their god, I think.

          1. bloke_from_ohio

            Paraphrase of the best forum signature line I have ever seen:

            “Don’t get PTSD, give PTSD. Make [the bad guy] wake up in a sweat terrified that Canadians are coming to kill him.”

  8. Nynemillameetuh

    Interestingly, the shooter’s surname of “Altintas” translates roughly into “golden stone.” Perhaps a certain ethnic grudge was a motive? I’ve heard rumors about which groups constitute the Turkish deep state. But usually, I just chalk their mischief up to “sand people gonna sand people” and don’t investigate further.

    1. Paul Rain

      Yeah, doesn’t seem to be a Dönme name. Just a relatively civilised (stopped at one killing) hadji.

        1. Hognose Post author

          Especially as the next fellow will probably need an able man in that job.

          Diplomats are cheap, linguists you have to develop (& pay).

  9. Max Mueller

    Prediction, Russians not concerned with Turk politics or help. There will be a brutal investigation on their own without concern for any Geneva conventions on how to extract the intelligence information from whomever they please. If it takes a 100 painfully interrogated individuals, there will be a messy route to get to the instigators. whether innocent or guilty. Big payback! Lots of bodies and parts. Beirut.

  10. Trone Abeetin

    All I could think of was how shitty the soles of the ambassadors shoes looked.
    I mean, all that money you’re saving by eschewing security, maybe you could afford some new Thom McCann’s. or a cobbler at minimum.

    1. Sommerbiwak

      In Turkey there are still lots of able craftsmen that do not charge an arm and a leg. A custom pair of shoes is definitely within budget.

      I had planned to make a holiday visit to Turkey before Erdogan pulled his moves against the opposition and tour archaeological sites and get a pair of hand crafted shoes or two.

      1. Hognose Post author

        I carry my P-01 in a Turkish holster, it was a great product at a very good price via eBay. Mine you, it’s a minimalist OWB belt slide, not a retention/duty holster.

  11. ambiguousfrog

    Is it customary for Ambassadors to have the hosting country provide security? Why was there no “trusted” Russian security? I’m not a 100% positive here because I’m just a civi, but you’d think you’d be less vulnerable to this, being so close to your inner circle.

    1. Hognose Post author

      This guy rejected armed security, both host nation and Russian, according to Hürriyet, anyway. I’m guessing that the Russian Federation is going to be tightening up its ambassadors’ act on this, at least in nations with a lot of Islamist activity / migrants.

      It’s pretty normal for some surprising figures to go about without armed security, including ambassadors in friendly countries, senior civil servants, royals, etc. Others go around with only token security. (One officer with a sidearm). In some banana republics and the Washington, DC, area, the size of a bureaucrat’s motorcade and phalanx are bragging points, but most of the world goes about their business unarmed and un-phalanxed.

  12. bloke_from_ohio

    Eventually people are going to get sick and tired of this nonsense and platitudes about diversity, tolerance, and the like won’t restrain them. I am not looking forward to that day, but I think some of the lunatics that are driving the Islamic extremism bus are. I hope I am wrong, but I doubt it.

  13. Anonymous coward

    One has to watch this interview with a former CIA director in order to properly view this in context.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4H4j3iTBws

    Team “Assad must be deposed” is desperate to kick off a real war before Jan 20th.
    Maybe they’ll shoot down another jet too.

    It’s all a case of “Let’s you and him fight.”

    Turkey needs to be kicked out of NATO post haste. Can you name one person you know who’s willing to get drafted to fight for a Turkish dictator?
    Quietly pack up our nukes in Turkey bring them home, that might be enough to send the message.

    1. bloke_from_ohio

      1) Recognize (unilaterally if needed) Kurdistan.

      2) Deploy a red horse squadron to Irbil airport with the goal of making it Irbil Air Base.

      3) Redeploy all non-nuclear assets at Incirlik to the new base in Kurdistan. Bring the nukes out of the region entirely.

      4) Carry on wrecking Da’esh’s world.

      What leverage would Turkey really have at that point?

      1. morokko

        This sound nice, but most probably would end up being just another great hole to sink money, half of which would end up embezzled either by your contractors or Barzani clique – which, by the way, is for the long time in cahoots with Turkey. Replacing Barzani would take small revolution, and the one obvious replacement are so called “commies’ from YPG/PYD/PKK – some of which are on Your own terror list. Also their immediate Arabic neighbourhood would immediately stock up with ballistic missiles happily provided by Iran and China. Turkey is, at least nominally, still in NATO – their leverage, aside from substantial army and bunch of more or less controlled jihadist militias is the threat of breakup of the whole system and beginning of official turko-russian alliance. Perhaps then USA can bribe Putin to switch sides, although, as a central European Id rather not elaborate about what would that graft for Russians be. Or perhaps the Chinese would still be able to offer better price for Vladimir Vladimirovichs benevolence.

  14. robroysimmons

    The West’s feminized leaders talk the usual feminine blather of sharing and being nice to one another till the fridge is empty, then it will be more like “go kill the motherfuckers.”

  15. Mike_C

    >Both Turks and Russians most probably will try to spin it in a way that let them conduct their mutual business without obstacles
    >>There will be a brutal investigation on their own without concern for any Geneva conventions [… followed by …] Big payback!

    Which ever it turns out (and the two are not mutually exclusive), somehow I doubt that Russia will blame these murders on an obscure video made by some Copt living in exile in Novosibirsk. (As I’ve noted elsewhere.)

  16. looserounds.com

    “Nobody will do anything to me.”

    yeah,. of course not, thinking otherwise is just paranoid tinfoil hattery.

    “Nobody will do anything to me.”
    “They couldnt hit an elephant at this dis–”
    “Ain’t a spanish bullet made that can kill me”
    “ISIS has been contained”

    1. Bruce

      Right up there with:

      “Of course I’ll still respect you in the morning”,

      and, the absolute winner:

      “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.

  17. 11B-Mailclerk

    Since the Ambassador was known for not having security, is it possible that the Russians sent him to Turkey, with the intention that if he is going to get whacked, it would be nice to destabilize NATO in the process?

    I mean, if you are going to send someone out into the world, and he disdains security, do you send him to a nice friendly Slavic low risk country, or one where the average Moe hates your borscht?

    it just reads right as option 2.

  18. Soylent_Green

    Great comment from a friend: “Doesn’t sound like Putin is going after the Turks as a nation, but it does sound like someone is going to be getting Spetznaz in their breakfast cereal shortly”.

    “A crime has been committed and it was without doubt a provocation aimed at spoiling the normalization of Russo-Turkish relations and spoiling the Syrian peace process which is being actively pushed by Russia, Turkey, Iran and others,” Putin declared. “There can only be one response – stepping up the fight against terrorism. The bandits will feel this happening.”

  19. Docduracoat

    Looks like Russia is going to play nice
    Turkey rolled over and let Russia have Aleppo
    Who knows what else Turkey agreed to in secret to prevent Russian retaliation?

  20. Mike_C

    Good Lord. Gersh Kuntzman (the guy with the “PTSD” from the “bruising recoil” of a rented AR-15) beclowns himself yet again. On 21DEC in the NY Daily News he opines:
    Andrei Karlov is the human embodiment of policies that deployed bunker busters to kill babies, sent fighter planes on scorched earth bombing runs that destroyed a whole city, aided Syrian madman Bashar al-Assad in his campaign that has killed hundreds of thousands, and even ordered attacks on UN aid workers. So I, for one, am shedding no tears for Andrei Karlov. Frankly, I’m surprised his murder didn’t come months ago.
    […]
    Karlov’s job in Turkey was to ease tensions over Russia’s atrocities in Syria and its incursions inside Turkey itself — meaning his job was to enable and normalize Vladimir Putin. Given that role, he wasn’t a diplomat, but a soldier, and his death is the same whether it came on a battlefield outside Aleppo or in an art gallery in Ankara. His killer was also a soldier — not a terrorist, mind you, but a soldier. Terrorists kill innocent people with trucks in Christmas markets or with planes in skyscrapers. Soldiers kill their fellow soldiers.

    Emphasis mine.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I’m glad you read that nonsense so that we don’t have to, Mike.

      But now you see why guys like Kuntzman are terrified by guys like you and me that have firearms. He knows what he’d do if he had one… sneak up behind some unfortunate diplomat and backshoot him. He actually “reasoned” himself around to agreeing with the criminal act of the ISIL yardbird.

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