News World Russian ambassador to Turkey shot dead in art gallery
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Russian ambassador to Turkey shot dead in art gallery

Andrei Karlov Russian ambassador shot dead
The gunman gestures after shooting Andrei Karlov. Photo: AP/Burhan Ozbilici
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UPDATE 5.30AM 

The body of slain Russian envoy Andrei Karlov is on its way back to Moscow from Turkey, a day after he was shot dead by an off-duty police officer in the Turkish capital.

The white, red and blue Russian flag was draped on the casket as a Russian Orthodox priest recited prayers in a ceremony at the Ankara airport on Tuesday.

Top ministers from the Turkish government also made spoke in memorial to Mr Karlov.

EARLIER

A Turkish policeman has gunned down a Russian diplomat as he spoke at the opening of a photography exhibition in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

Andrei Karlov was raced to hospital after being shot in the back, but did not survive the attack, which was labelled a terrorist act by the Russian government.

In a chilling photograph, the killer can be seen standing behind the ambassador as he addressed a crowd.

The gunman, a 22-year-old Turkish off-duty policeman who was wearing a black suit, shouted “Allah Akbar” as he opened fire.

RT reports that following the shooting he shouted: “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!

“Only death can take me away from here. Whoever has a role in this cruelty, they will pay for it one by one. They will,” the man went on to say.

He was then shot dead by Turkish security forces.

The shooting follows the deaths of nine Germans in another suspected terror attack when a truck ploughed into a Christmas market in central Berlin.

Russia condemns shooting

“We regard this as a terrorist act,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters.

“Terrorism will not win and we will fight against it decisively.”

Ms Zakharova described the shooting as a “tragic day in the history of Russian diplomacy”.

“We are in touch with Turkish officials, who assured us that there will be a thorough and comprehensive investigation [into the case],” Zakharova said.

The Turkish Interior Ministry said the gunman was working for the police riot squad in Ankara for the past two and a half years.

Relations between Turkey and Russia have been strained recently over Russia’s actions in Syria.

In recent weeks there have been huge protests outside the Russian embassy in Ankara over its backing of the Syrian government regime, and security would have been high for the event.

Russia, Iran, Syria and Turkey were supposed to be meeting over the issue tomorrow.

The US State Department condemned the incident as did Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

NTV and other Turkish broadcasters say three other people were wounded in the attack.

Turkey Russian ambassador
Turkish police officers secure the area outside the photo gallery where the ambassador was shot. Photo: IHA via AP

Mr Karlov, who started his career as a diplomat in 1976, worked extensively in North Korea over two decades, before moving to the region in 2007, according to a biography on the Russian Embassy’s website.

He became ambassador in July 2013.

Speculation is now swirling as to how Russia will react, including the possibility of putting boots on the ground in Syria if it proves the gunman was from a Syrian rebel group.

– with AAP 

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