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What does ambassador's murder mean for Turkey and Russia? 

20 December

An off-duty police officer shot dead Russia's ambassador to Turkey in an Ankara art gallery last night in a violent protest against Moscow's involvement in the Syrian conflict.

A video of the attack shows Mevlut Mert Aydintas, 22, standing calmly behind diplomat Andrei Karlov, 62, as he delivered a speech at the opening of a photographic exhibition.

Several minutes into the address, Aydintas pulled out a gun, shouted: "Allahu Akbar" and fired at least eight shots.

He then shouted: "Don't forget Aleppo. Don't forget Syria. Unless our towns are secure, you won't enjoy security. Only death can take me from here. Everyone who is involved in this suffering will pay a price."

Aydintas was subsequently killed in a 15-minute police shoot-out. Three others were also wounded.

So what does this mean for Russian-Turkish relations?

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the shooting was "clearly a provocation aimed at undermining the improvement and normalisation of Russian-Turkish relations, as well as undermining the peace process in Syria". The "only response" to the attack was to step up the fight against terrorism, he said.

RT, the news organisation with close links to the Kremlin, says Putin has spoken with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and that the two countries will cooperate in the investigation.

The killing might seem "minor" by comparison to the civil war raging in Syria and Iraq, the refugee crisis and massacres in Europe, says The Times, "but it could have serious consequences: history proves that assassinations can easily trigger wars".

Questions will be asked as to how the killer's apparent radicalisation went unnoticed, it adds, and in Turkey and the broader Middle East, "all such questions lead to conspiracy theories".

The paper also notes it is a year since Turkey shot down a Russian jet. "With the two backing opposite sides in the great clash between Sunni and Shia [Muslims], this wound will take time to heal," it says.

The Spectator says the friendship between the two countries over Syria has "been on ice so thin, both sides have suffered frostbite".

After reaching an agreement within the last week to allow the evacuation of Aleppo, "the question now is whether the fulfilment of this deal, and others potentially in the works in Syria, could now be unpicked by the actions of one man," it adds.

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