AP photographer Burhan Ozbilici has won the 2017 World Press Photo competition for his image of the assassin of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey.
In the photo, Mevlut Mert Altintas shouted after shooting Andrei Karlov at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey, on December 19, last year.
Ozbilici’s winning photo was part of a series titled “An Assassination in Turkey” which also won the Spot News – Stories category, which he captured in the moments before and after Altintas, an off-duty policeman, drew a handgun and shot Karlov at the photo exhibition.
Ozbilici, talking to Al Jazeera from Amsterdam on Monday, said that he did his job by taking the photos, “standing for independent journalism”.
“I immediately understood that it was a very important, historical moment. I had to stand there as a journalist and do my work,” he said.
“It was extremely difficult for me to predict what he [the attacker] would do next after shooting the ambassador. And I was not sure if there were more attackers,” Ozbilici said.
“I am not sure what I would do next in a similar situation [if it happened to me again]. I cannot predict. But I wish this does not happen to anyone else anywhere.”
During the incident, the gunman shouted “Don’t forget Aleppo. Don’t forget Syria!” in Turkish, referring to the Syrian city where Russian bombardments had helped to drive rebels from areas they had occupied for years during the war.
Authorities would later confirm that Karlov, 62, was dead. Altintas was killed after a 15-minute shootout.
The exhibition, titled “From Kaliningrad to Kamchatka, from the eyes of travellers” featured photos from Russia’s westernmost Baltic region to the Kamchatka Peninsula, in the east.