Standing “two or three rows back” with the press group, it was just a routine event until Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş shot the ambassador dead while he was speaking to the guest. Then Altuntas proclaimed “Revenge for Syria and Aleppo” and “Allahu akbar” (God is great) over the body.

Ozbilici, who works for Associated Press, said: “Everyone ran away and threw themselves on the ground or behind walls or under tables, shouting and panicking. I thought running away was not a solution anyway, and decided to remain calm to risk antagonising the gunman further. I just kept shooting, changing my position to get a better angle, trying to capture this moment.”

The date was December 19, 2016. The assassin was an off-duty Turkish police officer. He was killed in a shootout after Turkish Special Forces arrived at the gallery. Ozbilici was born in Erzurum in eastern Turkey. “I immediately understood it was a very important incident,” he said.

His instinctive reaction won him the World Press Photo of the Year, first prize singles. Ozbilici was selected from 80,408 images by 5034 photographers from 126 different countries. A selection of winning shots is on display in Budapest’s Ethnographic Museum until October 23.


The World Press Photo Foundation is a major force in developing and promoting visual journalism. Through the most prestigious awards in photojournalism and digital storytelling, an exhibition seen by more than four million people worldwide each year, global debates, and extensive research and training programs, the foundation strives to inspire, educate and support visual journalists, visual storytellers and their global audience with fresh insights and new perspectives.

World Press Photo 2017 exhibition

Néprajzi Múzeum (Museum of Ethnography)

Kossuth Lajos tér 12

District V, Budapest

(+36-1) 473-2400

Tuesday-Sunday: 10.00-18.00

Monday: Closed


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