Turkish-Russian committee to investigate ambassador's killing

Russia's ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was shot on Monday while speaking at a photo exhibition in Ankara.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Turkish police secure the area near an art gallery where the Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was shot in Ankara, Turkey, December 19, 2016.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said Turkey and Russia will form a joint committee to investigate the killing of Russia's ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov.

Karlov was shot while speaking at the opening of a photo exhibition in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Monday evening.

The gunman was a police officer.

He shouted the following after he pulled the trigger:

"God is great! God is Great!
Don't forget Aleppo, don't forget Syria!
Don't forget Aleppo, don't forget Syria!
You will not taste safety unless our fields are safe. Only death can get me out of here.
Whoever has a share in this tyranny will pay for it one by one."

Turkish special forces shot the assailant dead at the scene.

Karlov's body will be flown to Moscow on Tuesday for burial.

Erdogan spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone about the incident.

Both president's described the attack as a "provocation" to strain their country's "good relations."

Erdogan called the assassination an attack on the Russian and Turkish people.

Putin said the envoy's killing targeted Syria peace efforts.

On the same night in Ankara, police detained a man who fired eight to nine shots into the air from a pump-action shotgun outside the US embassy.

"An individual approached the US Embassy Ankara main gate and discharged a firearm," the embassy said in a statement, adding that no-one was hurt.

The US on Tuesday closed its diplomatic missions in Ankara, Istanbul and the southern city of Adana as a result of the incident.

Meeting on Syria in Moscow

Foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey are holding a meeting on Syria in Moscow on Tuesday. 

Speaking to reporters about the shooting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, "We would like to thank Turkey for its immediate response in condemning the murder of ambassador Karlov. This was a heinous terror attack. Russian authorities are en route to Ankara to investigate this incident."

He added that Karlov's death will only intensify Russia's efforts against terrorism.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu followed his counterparts' statements by reiterating that "both countries are aware that the purpose of this attack was to damage Turkey-Russia relations."

Cavusoglu added that both Russia and Turkey are "determined to continue our joint work in Syria and will further develop bilateral relations."

The minister also confirmed that the street in Ankara where the Russian Embassy is located will be renamed to Andrei Karlov Street.