Family refuses to claim body of Russian ambassador’s murderer

This picture taken on December 19, 2016 shows Andrey Karlov (L), the Russian ambassador to Ankara, lying on the floor after being shot by a gunman (R) during an attack during a public event in Ankara. A gunman crying "Aleppo" and "revenge" shot Karlov while he was visiting an art exhibition in Ankara on December 19, witnesses and media reports said. The Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency said the gunman had been "neutralised" in a police operation, without giving further details. / AFP PHOTO / STRINGER

The family of 22-year-old Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, a police officer who assassinated the Russian ambassador to Turkey in December, has refused to claim the assassin’s body, which as a result will be buried by a municipality in Ankara.

Altıntaş shot Ambassador Andrei Karlov to death while the ambassador was giving a speech at an art gallery in Ankara on Dec. 19.

He was subsequently killed in a police operation in the same venue.

Altıntaş’s body was taken to the Keçiören Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) in Ankara for an autopsy.

His autopsy was completed on Dec. 21. Altıntaş’s body remained in the Keçiören ATK morgue for 15 days in line with relevant procedures for the family to claim the body.

However, Altıntaş’s family did not claim his body during the span of 15 days, prompting the ATK to write to the Keçiören Municipality asking for the burial of Altıntaş’s body.

The police officer will be buried by the municipality in a cemetery where people with no relatives and unclaimed bodies are buried.

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  1. Regardless of what he did he’s still your son. How any mother can turn away from her dead child is beyond my comprehension. I don’t care if she’s ashamed or afraid for her life or for whatever reason she has in doing this. That’s your son. If you’re a good mother then you don’t refuse to claim his body and let him be buried in a pauper’s grave. You claim him as your own and see that he gets a proper burial. To me, what Mert Altintas’ family did in refusing to claim his body is worse than what he did.

    • I agree. The only explanation that I can find is that his family were prevented from taking his body (for some reason), but I cannot possibly understand his mother not wanting to see him for the last time before he is buried. Even my heart aches when I think that his body was there for 24 days!

      • Thank you. I am glad to know that I’m not the only one who thought this. It didn’t occur to me that the family may have been prevented in claiming his body but I kind of doubt that. In another article that I read it was stated that Altintas’ family was “ashamed” of what he’d done and referred to him as a “traitor”. Okay, I get that they think that. But he’s still your son! For the parents and especially a mother to turn away from their only son is awful. No matter how old he is, that’s your baby. You gave birth to him, you raised him, you loved him and then because he committed a crime you leave him unclaimed and unwanted. An unforgivable thing done by Mert Altintas’ family and especially his mother. And I meant it when I said that it’s worse than what he did.

        • Yes, you are right – it does appear worse than what he did. I think it is terribly unfair to Altıntaş – yes, he is an assassin, he killed a person, but he got his punishment by being also killed (how many cases there are where a killer clings to his life and actually lives a long life, even if in prison!). Also, clearly Altıntaş was not an evil person killing for the sake of killing as he was in a position to actually target more people right there, but he didn’t.. I just can’t comprehend – of all the people that loved him – isn’t there at least one who could have overcome their “shame” and allow his body to rest in peace? Yesterday I came across an article where it was mentioned that even the killed ambassador’s wife felt bad that Altıntaş’s body was not claimed by his family.

          • Yes I saw that article too. It was a very gracious thing for Mrs. Karlov to have said. And she was right. Everyone deserves a proper funeral. I think Mert Altıntaş’s family will someday regret not having claimed their son.

  2. I read in several articles today that Marina Karlov, wife of slain ambassador Andrei Karlov, said that she felt sad when she heard that Altintas’ family didn’t claim his body. Mrs. Karlov said that everyone, including the man that killed her husband, deserved a proper funeral. What a lovely and gracious woman Mrs. Karlov is to have said that. I hope that Mert Altintas’ family and especially his mother sees that and regrets not giving their son a funeral.

    • So, it appears the poor little boy was buried on Friday, January 13th, in the cemetery of the homeless. I still hoped his family would turn up at the last moment..

      • Everything about this is sad. The family seems to care more about what other people and/or their government may think than they do about their own child. Even Lee Harvey Oswald’s family claimed him and gave him a proper funeral. I wonder if this is a Middle East thing or just having to do with that particular family.