Killer of Russia envoy 'used police ID' to enter Ankara show

Killer of Russia envoy 'used police ID' to enter Ankara show
PHOTO: Reuters

Ankara - The Turkish policeman who assassinated Russian ambassador to Ankara Andrei Karlov at an exhibition centre used his police ID to enter the show while armed, the local municipality said.

Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22, did not go through the metal detector security check when he entered the exhibition in central Ankara and was warned by a security officer, said the Cankaya municipality in Ankara where the exhibition centre is located.

But after showing his police ID, he was allowed to proceed, it said.

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It said that the Contemporary Arts Centre (CSM) which is hosting the exhibition is frequently used by embassies and has X-ray machines and security cameras and has five security staff on duty.

The Hurriyet daily added that Altintas, who had worked for Ankara's anti-riot police for the last two and a half years, had stayed at a nearby hotel to prepare for the attack.

It said Altintas, who was off duty for the day, had put on a suit and tie and shaved at the hotel before heading to the exhibition centre.

He was later killed by police after a shootout that lasted over 15 minutes.

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Altintas was born in the town of Soke in Aydin province in western Turkey and attended a special school for training future policemen.

The mayor of Ankara, Melih Gokcek, known for his outspoken comments, speculated on his official Twitter account that the attacker may be linked to the group of Fethullah Gulen blamed for the July 15 coup aimed at toppling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

His suggestion has yet to be echoed by other officials but was repeated in the pro-government press, which claimed what Ankara terms the Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO) was behind the attack.

"An attack on friendship by treacherous FETO," said Sabah. "A bullet from FETO," added the Star daily.

The mainstream Hurriyet said that authorities were investigating the assassin's possible links to the Gulen movement.

They were particularly focusing on friends Altintas may have had at the police academy, it added. Six people have been detained for questioning, including his mother, father and sister.

Gulen denies having any link to the failed coup bid and supporters also issued a statement rejecting any connection to the attack on the Russian ambassador.

Russian ambassador to Turkey shot dead (Warning, disturbing content)

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    Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov makes a speech at an art gallery shortly before he was shot in Ankara, Turkey, December 19, 2016.

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    Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov lies on the ground after he was shot by Mevlut Mert Altintas (man standing with gun) at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey, December 19, 2016.

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    Mevlut Mert Altintas is an off-duty police officer who shouted "Don't forget Aleppo" and "Allahu Akbar" as he opened fire.

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    "He took out his gun and shot the ambassador from behind. We saw him lying on the floor and then we ran out," said the witness, who asked not to be identified.

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    A video showed the attacker shouting: "Don't forget Aleppo, don't forget Syria!" and "Allahu Akbar" ("God is Greatest") as screams rang out.

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    He paced about and shouted as he held the gun in one hand and waved the other in the air.

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    The gunman was killed by special forces.

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, director of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Sergei Naryshkin and Alexander Bortnikov, director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on December 19, 2016, few hours after the Russian ambassador to Ankara was shot dead by a gunman during an attack at an art exhibition in Ankara.

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    Flowers lie next to a picture of Russia's ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov outside the Russian foreign ministry in Moscow following his assassination in Ankara on December 19, 2016.

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    Two women pay their respects after laying flowers outside the Russian foreign ministry in Moscow following the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey on December 19, 2016.

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    Turkish policemen stand guard near the Cagdas Sanatlar Merkezi, a major art exhibition hall, where Andrey Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Ankara, has been shot dead on December 19, 2016 in a gun attack during an art exhibition in Ankara.

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    Turkish policemen stand guard near the Cagdas Sanatlar Merkezi.

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    Turkish Minister of Interior, Suleyman Soylu speaks to journalists outside the Private Guven Hospital where Andrey Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Ankara, is treated after being shot by a gunman during an attack at an art exhibition in Ankara.

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    Turkish soldiers and policemen stand guard near the Cagdas Sanatlar Merkezi.

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    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.

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    This handout picture taken on November 16, 2016 and released on December 19, 2016 by the Russian Foreign Ministry, shows Andrey Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Ankara.

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    Turkish soldiers and policemen stand guard near the Cagdas Sanatlar Merkezi.

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    Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu arrives to the art gallery where Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov was shot in Ankara, Turkey, December 19, 2016.

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    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.

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