Moscow decries iconic photo showing ambassador’s assassination after winning top photo prize
Winner of the World Press Photo 2016 photographer Burhan Ozbilici (R) speaks next to Lars Boering, managing director of the World Press Photo Foundation (L) during the announcement of the World Press Photo prizes in Amsterdam, on February 13, 2017. (AFP/Jeroen Jumelet)
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Russia's embassy in Ankara expressed fury after an image taken following the assassination of a Russian ambassador in Turkey won a prestigious photography award.
Photographer Burhan Ozbilici won the 2017 World Press Photo competition on Monday for his shot of the moments after the assassination of Russian ambassador Andrei Karlov in the Turkish capital Ankara last year.
The winning image shows the gunman, off-duty police Mevlut Mert Altintas, shouting while raising his left hand and holding his pistol on the other. Lying on the floor behind him is the body of the slain ambassador.
The embassy said the decision by the jury was "demoralising" and showed a "complete degradation of ethics and moral values".
"Propaganda of the horror of terror is unacceptable," it said in a statement on its official Facebook page.
Jurors commended the courage of the photographer and symbolic resonance of the picture but the choice split the jury, with its president Stuart Franklin opposing the choice.
"Placing the photograph on this high pedestal is an invitation to those contemplating such staged spectaculars," he wrote in the British daily The Guardian.
The head of the foreign affairs committee of the Russian senate Konstantin Kosachev said the choice was "on the edge of morality" and asked "how many more terrorists could be inspired by this photo."
Altintas was killed at the scene by Turkish security forces and the authorities said he was part of the group of the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen who Ankara blames for the failed July 15 failed coup.
Russia, which sent an investigation team to Ankara after the killing, has yet to back this conclusion. The street in Ankara where the embassy is located has since been named after Karlov.