Ankara assassination image named World Press Photo of the Year

An image of the moment an off-duty police officer assassinated the Russian Ambassador to Turkey has won World Press Photo of the Year

Updated 17:45 - NOTE: Contains disturbing imagery

The shocking image of a 22-year-old off-duty police officer moments after he had assassinated the Russian ambassador to Turkey has been named World Press Photo of the Year.

The contest recognises press photography across eight different categories with 45 photographers set to be honoured at this year’s event.

The 2017 contest saw 80,408 images submitted by 5,034 photographers around the world.

The main category winner - taken by Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici - captures the moment Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş assassinated the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, at an art exhibition in Ankara, Turkey, on December 19th.

Altıntaş wounded three other people before being killed in a shootout with Turkish officers.

World Press Photo jury

The winning photo was chosen by a group of internationally recognized professionals in the fields of photojournalism and documentary photography.

Jury member João Silva described the winning photo as “the face of hatred.”

"Right now I see the world marching towards the edge of an abyss,” he said. “This is a man who has clearly reached a breaking point and his statement is to assassinate someone who he really blames - a country that he blames - for what is going on elsewhere in the region."

Mary F. Calvert - also on the jury panel - said the image “epitomizes the definition of what the World Press Photo of the Year is and means.”

“It was a very, very difficult decision, but in the end we felt that the picture of the Year was an explosive image that really spoke to the hatred of our times,” she said. “Every time it came on the screen you almost had to move back because it’s such an explosive image.”

World Press Photo of the Year - ‘An Assassination in Turkey,’ 19-12-2017. Image: Burhan Ozbilici/Associated Press

Winner of Contemporary Issues, Singles – ‘Taking a Stand in Baton Rouge,’ 09-07-2017. Image: Jonathan Bachman/Thomson Reuters

Winner of Daily Life, singles - ‘The Silent Victims of a Forgotten War,’ 29-03-2016. Image: Paula Bronstein/ Time Lightbox / Pulitzer Center For Crisis Reporting

Winner of General News, Singles – ‘Offensive On Mosul,’ 02-11-2016. Image: Laurent Van der Stockt/Getty Reportage for Le Monde

Winner of Nature, Singles – ‘Caretta Caretta Trapped,’08-06-2016. Image: Francis Pérez

Winner of People, Singles – ‘What ISIS Left Behind,’ October 2016. Image: Magnus Wennman/Aftonbladet

Winner of Sports, Singles – ‘Grand National Steeplechase,’ 09-04-2016. Image: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Winner of Spot News, Singles – ‘Pakistan Bomb Blast,’ 80-10-2016. Image: Jamal Taraqai/European Pressphoto Agency

Founded in 1955, the World Press Photo Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization based in the Netherlands.

The award winners will travel to Amsterdam to present their images at the World Press Photo Festival on 20th - 22nd April 2017.

The prize winning photographs will also form an exhibition travelling to 45 different countries - which is attended by 4 million people every year.

Jury member Tanya Habjouqa said she felt choosing Mr Ozbilici’s image was a “brave decision.”

“It was a very intense, sometimes brutal, discussion - sometimes even emotional - but I feel proud,” she said.

“We were bold. I think the selection is definitely going to push forward a debate and I think it is a debate that is essential to have.”

In previous years, the World Press Photo exhibition has made its way to Dublin in October/November.