The Turkish Ambassador to the Vatican, Mr Karim Taha, died in Rome on Thursday (9 June) after being shot by a young gunman.
The Turkish Ambassador to the Vatican, Mr Karim Taha, died in Rome on Thursday (9 June) after being shot by a young gunman. Police hunting the killer have linked the attack with Armenian underground groups.
SYNOPSIS: The ambassador was shot at almost point-blank range in the neck and the back. He was returning to his home in the city's fashionable Parioli??? district for lunch when the gunman approached him from behind. His assassin was described as young, tall and wearing a dark suit and sunglasses.
Mr Taha was taken to a Rome hospital where he underwent an emergency operation. He died a few hours later. Police say he had received a message in March signed by an underground Armenian movement in Turkey which said a Turkish personality would be killed unless jailed Armenian "political prisoners" were not released within two months. He was given a police guard, but this was dropped recently. The police are making enquiries in both the Armenian and Turkish communities.
Several diplomatic representative visited the hospital to pay their respects. Pope Paul branded the assassination as cowardly. In a telegram of condolence to Turkish President Fahri Koroturk, he praised the ambassador's competence.
Mr Taha was the Vatican's ambassador since 1973, and the seventh Turkish diplomat to have been murdered in various cities throughout the world in the past two years.