Pro­file: Sharp-suited cop who killed Rus­sian en­voy

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The as­sas­sin of the Rus­sian am­bas­sador to Ankara was a 22-yearold from a quiet re­gion in the west of Turkey who had served with the an­tiriot po­lice for less than three years. The man iden­ti­fied as Mev­lut Mert Alt­in­tas shouted “Al­lahu Ak­bar” (God is great­est) and “Don’t for­get Aleppo” as he waved his gun around at a cul­tural cen­tre in the Turk­ish cap­i­tal. But there has yet to be any in­di­ca­tion Alt­in­tas, who was later “neu­tralised” by po­lice”, was at­tracted to re­li­gious ex­trem­ism or had any his­tory of ac­tivism.

Images showed the clean-shaven man smartly dressed in a suit, tie and white shirt pull out a gun and fire at am­bas­sador An­drei Karlov from be­hind as the en­voy opened a Rus­sian photography ex­hi­bi­tion in Ankara. He then threat­ened ter­ri­fied spec­ta­tors, yelling “Al­lahu Ak­bar” and say­ing that the mur­der was vengeance for Rus­sia’s ac­tions in the war-bat­tered Syr­ian city of Aleppo.

In­te­rior Min­is­ter Su­ley­man Soylu said Alt­in­tas was born in the town of Soke in Ay­din prov­ince in western Turkey and at­tended a spe­cial school for train­ing fu­ture po­lice­men. Alt­in­tas then joined the Ankara anti-riot po­licethe Ce­vik Kuvvet in Turk­ish-and had worked there for the last two-and-ahalf-years. The re­gion of Ay­din on the Aegean coast is one of Turkey’s most peace­ful re­gions well away from trou­ble-spots and the coun­try’s most re­li­giously con­ser­va­tive ar­eas.

Af­ter the attack on Karlov, Alt­in­tas re­fused to sur­ren­der and re­mained in­side the ex­hi­bi­tion cen­tre as clashes took place with po­lice for 15 min­utes. But he was then killed by po­lice in an op­er­a­tion, author­i­ties said. Re­ports said that his mother, fa­ther and sis­ter were im­me­di­ately de­tained for ques­tion­ing in their homes in western Turkey.

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. In footage from the scene, Alt­in­tas talks about pledg­ing al­le­giance to ji­had in Ara­bic. — AFP

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