The world was shocked Monday when a police officer, Mevlut Mert Altintas, assassinated Andrey Karlov, Russian ambassador to Turkey. The human tragedy and the political implications of the killing were amplified by the visceral video and AP photographs from the scene.
You might not expect an assassination to become a popular internet meme, but it has—and it’s pushing the boundaries of decency in meme culture.
It's weird that a photo of an assassin standing over the dead body of someone he's just killed has become a meme already
— Bobby Saxton For RLB (@JusticeForCatts) December 19, 2016
Aaaand I've already seen my first Turkish Assassin meme. Ugh.
— Blowholio has all the TP (@Reweth) December 19, 2016
I honestly thought 2016 had shown me all she had. But then, BOOM: MurderMemes.
— C. Everett Cope (@cushbomb) December 20, 2016
12/19 12:03 PM: Oh god the ambassador, its ww3
12/19 10:30 PM: 12 haunting tweet responses
12/20 8:00 AM: Handsome gun guy: 2016 Savior?
— Professor table tennis (@Hegelbon) December 20, 2016
One of the main drivers of the assassin meme is the way the killer was positioned in the instantly iconic shot by AP photographer Burhan Ozbilici. Altintas, agitated and shouting about the tragedy in Aleppo, Syria, looked to cynical meme-makers like he was striking a disco pose.
The jokes were obvious:
He’s also been cast as Robbie Rotten from the infinitely meme-able Icelandic kids’ show LazyTown:
sometimes the memes are too raw, too soon pic.twitter.com/0NQpCCSZRl
— bonkers in yonkers (@jimpjorps) December 20, 2016
And mashed up in dozens of other ways:
He’s also revered on various Chan-centric Facebook meme pages: