Home Global News Europe Gunman’s family among seven held over killing of Russian ambassador.

Gunman’s family among seven held over killing of Russian ambassador.


Turkish police arrested seven people today following the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Ankara.

The mother, father and sister of gunman Melvut Mert Aydintas, 22, were being held along with three other relatives and his flatmate.

A man who fired shots outside the U.S. embassy in Ankara using a pump-action shotgun was also arrested, after being overpowered by embassy staff.

Diplomat Andrei Karlov died instantly after being shot in the back at a gallery in the Turkish capital yesterday. He was making a speech at the opening of a photographic exhibition.

Aydintas, an off-duty member of Ankara’s riot police squad who was wearing a dark suit and tie, shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo” and “Allahu Akbar”. He pumped eight shots into the ambassador’s body before being killed in a shootout with police.

Theresa May sent a private letter offering her “sincere condolences” to Russian president Vladimir Putin last night.

Today Moscow warned it would give “no quarter” to the terrorists and would not offer any concessions in its military operations in Syria.

Mr. Putin called Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to request access for a Russian team of 18 investigators and officials.

Announcing the Russian probe, Mr. Putin declared: “We have to know who directed the hand of the killer.” He called the ambassador’s killing a “provocation” aimed at sabotaging ties between Moscow and Ankara. “There can be only one answer to this — stepping up the fight against terrorism, and the bandits will feel this,” he said.

The Russian foreign ministry today expressed thanks for international condemnation of Mr. Karlov’s assassination. The Russian Embassy said Mr. Karlov’s body would be flown to Russia today.

Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the killing had made Moscow even more determined to press ahead with Syrian talks that will offer “no concessions to the terrorists”.

He said ministers had “agreed this tragedy makes us more decisive in fighting terrorism and makes our today’s meeting even more important.”

Deputy foreign minister Oleg Syromolotov said: “I think every person who travels to Turkey should think twice before doing it because terrorist attacks happen there almost every day.”

Turkey’s pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak claimed Mr. Karlov’s killing was a plot by an American intelligence agency, and linked it to the failed coup in July.

Local police said their inquiry was focused on whether Aydintas acted alone or if his assault was part of an organized terror attack.

After Mr. Karlov’s shooting heavy security was imposed outside the Russian Embassy and the Iranian Embassy was closed as a precaution.

The U.S. Embassy closed its operations for 24 hours after the separate shooting incident, which took place outside at 3:50 a.m. A man pulled a shotgun from his coat and opened fire, blasting about eight shots in the air before the embassy’s own security guards intervened and apparently overpowered him.

Turkey imposed a blackout on the video of the shooting, which was broadcast around the world. It shows Aydintas walking around Mr. Karlov’s body and yelling slogans. “We are the descendants of those who supported the Prophet Muhammad, for jihad,” he also shouted in Arabic.

The Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers will meet in Moscow later to discuss the crisis in Syria.