Turkish FM on way to Moscow for Syria talks as Russian envoy killed in Ankara
ISTANBULTurkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was on his way to Moscow to meet with his Russian and Iranian counterparts to discuss Syria, as Russian Ambassador to Ankara Andrey Karlov was shot dead in Ankara on Dec. 19, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hüseyin Müftüoğlu confirmed to the Hürriyet Daily News.
Çavuşoğlu and Lavrov are expected to hold a joint press conference in Moscow on Dec. 20, over the killing of Karlov, Turkish diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News on Dec. 19.
Karlov was shot by a gun while making a speech at a photography exhibition in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Dec. 19, Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed.
Çavuşoğlu was on an airplane en route to Moscow to meet his Russian and Iranian counterparts, Sergei Lavrov and Javad Zarif, respectively, Müftüoğlu said.
The tripartite talks were to due to focus on a solution, initially over Aleppo, but which could also be enlarged to include other parts of Syria, according to Reuters which cited a Turkish official as saying on Dec. 19.
Turkey and Russia have recently cooperated and reached a deal over a cease-fire on Syria’s besieged part of eastern Aleppo and an evacuation of rebels and civilians from the city.
The evacuation started on Dec. 15, and was ongoing on Dec. 19.
Karlov, who started his career as a diplomat in 1976, worked extensively in North Korea over three decades, before moving to Ankara in 2007, according to a biography on the Russian Embassy’s website. He became ambassador in July 2013.
Hürriyet Ankara representative Deniz Zeyrek said the attacker first shot into the air and later shot the envoy in the back.
He shot the envoy for the second time after the scene was evacuated. It has also been reported that the attacker entered the scene by showing a police identity and wearing a suit.
The attacker reportedly shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria! As long as our brothers are not safe, you will not enjoy safety” according to a footage released on Dutch website nos.nl.
“Whoever has a share in this oppression will pay for it one-by-one,” he added.
“Only death will take me away from here.” He also recited “God is great” before talking in Turkish.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu later arrived at the scene.
Meanwhile, Kremlin said that President Vladimir Putin was studying a report on the attack.