A shot in the back. Ankara paid last respects to Andrey Karlov

Natalya Mihailova | 21 December 2016
Andrey Karlov’s body is already in Moscow, but a piece of his soul will remain forever in Turkey, which he loved and where he was killed. A street in Ankara, where the Russian Embassy is located, and the Contemporary Art Center, where the Ambassador died, carrying out his duties, will be renamed after him.
A shot in the back. Ankara paid last respects to Andrey Karlov

Tomorrow Patriarch Kirill will read the burial service over the Russian diplomat in the  Cathedral of Christ the Savior, and today in the freezing temperatures with the enhanced security measures, the ceremony of farewell of the Russian ambassador in Turkey was held at Esenboga International Airport.


The guard of honor lined up on the airfield in front of the aircraft. The servicemen carried the coffin in the colors of the Russian flag with Karlov’s body and put it on a pedestal. The mourning wreaths were laid by the coffin.

Mayor of  Ankara, Melik Gokcek, Minister of Internal Affairs of Turkey, Suleyman Soylu, Deputy Prime Minister, Togrul Tyurkesh, the ambassadors and representatives of the diplomatic missions of the different countries came to pay last respects to Andrey Karlov.

The diplomat’s widow, Marina Karlova

The diplomat’s widow, Marina Karlova

“We have lost a very close friend. Since the moment as Andrew Karlov took up his duties, he did his best for the development of the Russian-Turkish relations and represented his people and country in the most dignified manner. I express our condolences. Rest in peace, dear Ambassador. You will remain forever in our hearts “,  Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, Tugrul Tyurkesh said.


“We will always remember him. The most sincere condolences to his family and the entire Russian people, ”  Deputy Foreign Minister, Ahmet Yildiz said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not show up at the airport, but he expressed his opinion about the killer and Karlov himself:

‘’He was a very sincere and nice person. Yesterday’s assassination is highly tragic. I curse those who did it. I express my deepest condolences to President Putin, the Russian people and family of the Ambassador. Yesterday I said in a conversation with Putin, that it was a clear provocation. In any case, we will not allow to spoil our relations with Russia.’’

Archimandrite Vissarion of the Great Orthodox Church of Constantinople read the burial service over the coffin. After the farewell ceremony the charter aircraft with the  diplomat’s body flew to Moscow.


Today Smolenskaya Square receives condolences from all over the world, from all  the international organizations; the Russian diplomats in the various countries recall their comrade and friend.

“Goodbye, Andrey … For the first time ever I am writing on the page of the Embassy on my own behalf. Because today’s post is very personal. I am writing and I cannot hold back the tears. Today my friend Andrei Karlov died. He was meanly shot in the back. He was killed, while the cameras were on, and then I saw the footage of his death, with his face contorted in pain at the moment of the shot. It was reported, that he was wounded and in the hospital, and we with my wife Tanya sent a text message to his wife Marina, who was also at the opening of this damn exhibition, telling her to stay strong and that we are supporting her. And she replied: “Andrey was killed on my eyes, he laid on the floor, and that person did not allow to approach to him.”

This summer in Moscow, after the meeting of the ambassadors, when we all were on vacation, the Karlovs came to visit us. We were drinking tea, he was telling a lot about Turkey, which he loved, invited to visit the country,  promised to show some extraordinary beautiful things, the names of which, of course, I have not remembered. Then we recalled the days, when we had started our work in North Korea. We had been making fun of each other, our children had been growing up together. Then we recalled that many years after he had become the ambassador in Pyongyang, and I had become the minister-counselor. We agreed, that when we both would be retired sometime in the future, we would visit each other’s summer cottage.

We would never visit each other’s summer cottage. Because he is dead, and the half of me is dead as well.

Goodbye, Andrey. I promise you, that the day when you will be laid in the ground,  the bells of the Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, which you built there and where His Holiness crowned you with Marina, will sound over Pyongyang. That day I was holding the crown with the image of the Savior over your head. Goodbye, my best friend, my brother, my dear fellow, “ Alexander Matsegora, Russian Ambassador to the DPRK, where Andrei Karlov worked prior to the appointment to Turkey, wrote.

The employees of Vestnik Kavkaza also had the good fortune to meet with Andrew Karlov at the end of September 2013, when with the support of the Ambassador VK held the international historical conference entitled  ‘The Caucasian War of the 19th century: Realpolitik and the ‘Memory of war’’ along with the Political Studies Center ‘North-South’ in Ankara.  Andrew Karlov participated in the conference and held a reception for the heads of Vestnik Kavkaza  and North-South at his residence in Ankara. Then the warm personal relations, which have remained all these years, established between the agency and the Embassy.


Andrey Karlov was born on February 4th, 1954 in Moscow.

In 1976 he graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, in 1992 he graduated from the MFA Diplomatic Academy.

He occupied various positions in the central apparatus of the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and in the missions abroad.

In 1976-1981 and in 1984-1990, he was an employee of the USSR Embassy in North Korea (DPRK). In 1992-1997, he was an employee of the Russian Embassy in the Republic of Korea. From 2001 to 2006, he was the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Russia in North Korea.

In 2007-2008, he was the Deputy Director, and since January 26th, 2009 to July 12th, 2013 he was the Director of the Consular Department of the MFA of Russia and a member of the Board of the Foreign Ministry.

In July 2013, Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the appointment of Andrey Karlov as the Russian Ambassador to the Turkish Republic.

On December 19th, 2016 a criminal shot several times in the back of the Russian ambassador at the opening of the photo exhibition entitled ‘Russia through the eyes of the Turks’ in the Gallery of Modern Art in Ankara. The wounds were fatal.

Turkish media reported that the killer shot 11 times, nine bullets hit Karlov. The assassin, who got into the exhibition by showing his police identity, was killed as a result of the operation of the law enforcement agencies. The Russian Foreign Ministry qualifies the incident as a terrorist attack.

At the exhibition Karlov was speaking about the Russian-Turkish friendship; and his last political statement, made a few days ago, was: “We are against any kind of terrorism, and we are ready to cooperate with Turkey.”

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