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Mevlut Mert Altintas did it for Al-Qaeda and the kids: why Andrei Karlov died

When Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was shot dead, what did his killer say? The Times leads with the assassination of Andrei Karlov, 62, by off-duty Turkish policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22. The killer was was later shot dead by special forces.

 

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The Times‘ headline declares: “This is for Aleppo, shouted killer after he shot envoy.” Like most newspapers it features the picture of Karlov lying dead on the floor at a photography exhibition in Ankara, Altintas by his side.

 

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The Guardian also leads with the killer’s words. Its story begins: ‘The Russian ambassador to Turkey has been shot dead by a police officer who shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo” as he pulled the trigger.’

The focus is placed very much on Russian’s involvement in Syria, a story that portrays the Russians as aggressors who think nothing of murdering civilians. US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, ran with that thread last week. “Is there literally nothing that can shame you?” Powers asked the Russian delegation as the cameras rolled. “Is there no act of barbarism against civilians, no execution of a child, that gets under your skin? That just creeps you out a little bit? Is there nothing you will not lie about, or justify?” A Guardian columnist wonder who we can live with ourselves “when we turn off the pictures from Aleppo and look in the mirror”.

Aleppo is no longer a city destroyed by failed talks, invasion, interference and tribal fighting. It’s a moral tale in which the West are the good guys. It’s no longer about them and their suffering; it’s about us and our sounds minds. Aleppo has given us a sense of purpose.

The narrative is clear: it’s Assad and the Russians versus civilians. Only Aleppo is also home to Islamists, al-Qaeda militants and other armed factions – although nothing as bad as Russia-backed Assad. “This is for Aleppo,” shouts the killer. This is for the defenceless children being murdered by Russian jets and Assad’s barrel bombs, says The West.

 

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The Daily Star hears other words uttered by Mevlut Mert Altintas. Its front-page report begins, “A gunman yelling Allhu Akbar, shot dead the Russian ambassador to Turkey.” The Times mentions the killer’s other message in paragraph 2 – ‘An off-duty Turkish policeman cried “Allahu akbar”’ – and the Guardian in paragraph four – ‘He then pulled out a gun, shouted “Allahu Akbar” and fired at least eight shots.’ The Mirror’s story has the war cry foremost: ‘Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was killed by his police protection officer who screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ and “don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria”.’

Might it be that the killer did it less for the kids than for violent Islamists?

Over in the Express, there is no word on the familiar cry of the jihadi – a shout familiar enough for British police to use in anti-terror training days. Hear it and run is the official advice. There the killer shouts, “Don’t forget about Aleppo, don’t forget about Syria.” There is no word on God playing any role in the crime.

Sky News agrees. In all reports it says the killer shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo”.

 

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Over in the Mail, we hear Altintas say in Arabic, “We are the descendants of the Prophet Mohammad for jihad.” The Mail adds, “According to local media, his words are similar to the unofficial anthem of Al Nusra, the Syrian branch of al Qeada.” The Mail mentions this twice, but offers no source to support the claim.

 

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So why did he do it? For the kids? For the jihadis. For Islam?

The Mirror says he was “filled with hate”. Well, yes. That much is obvious. The Sun says Antintas has “no known link to any group”.

Why did he do it? We don’t know. But as the censorious Turks issue a news blackout, let’s look out for the British media tweaking the story to fit their own agendas.

Posted: 20th, December 2016 | In: Reviews | Comments (5)