A gunman attacked Andrei Karlov, Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, in the capital of Ankara on Monday. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. She added that the ministry would soon comment on “the attack on the Russian ambassador in Turkey”
Karlov was several minutes into a speech at an embassy-sponsored photo exhibition in the capital, Ankara, when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted “Allahu Akbar” and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience. The attacker also said some words in Russian and smashed several of the photos hung for the exhibition.
Hurriyet newspaper reporter Hasim Kilic, who was at the exhibit, said the gunman also shouted “For Aleppo!” when he launched his assault.
Russia and Turkey recently negotiated a cease-fire in the Syrian civil war between rebels and the Assad regime fighting over the city of Aleppo. The cease-fire has led to the negotiated surrender of rebels that had held the city since nearly the beginning of the five-year-old conflict.
If the evacuation from Aleppo is completed later on Monday, it will close an important chapter in Syria’s civil war, which Russia involved in largely due to its long-standing alliance with the ruling Assad clan, and Turkey is involved largely due to its long border with the country.
Earlier this year, there was a diplomatic crisis between the two nations after Turkey shot down a Russian jet it said had violated their airspace during maneuvers over Syria.
Turkey has also struggled with a series of deadly terrorist attacks recently, from both Kurdish rebels and groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS.)
According to the Ministry of Foriegn Affairs, Karlov began his diplomatic career in 1976, and has previously served in South Korea. He became Russian Ambassador to Turkey in July of 2013.