Putin Talks Tough on Turkey
In state of the nation speech, Russian leader describes incident near Syria-Turkey border as a “treacherous war crime”. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Turkey it will “more than once” regret shooting down the Russian bomber jet near the Syrian-Turkish border. Delivering his annual state of the nation address on Thursday, Putin said Russia will not ignore what he described as Turkey’s “aiding of terrorists”.
He also called for a broad international front against terrorism, an end to what he called double standards and halting any backing of what he called “terror groups”. He harshly criticised Turkey, accusing it of buying oil from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group. Putin said the downing of the Russian Su-24 warplane by Turkish F-16 fighter jets for alleged airspace violation on November 24, was a “treacherous war crime”.
Russia has repeatedly been making the claim that Turkey buys oil from ISIL since the incident near the Turkey-Syria border. Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, said: “Putin’s speech echoed statements by US President George Bush after the September 11, 2001, attacks. “Notably his emphasis on terrorism and fighting terrorism in a world full of terrorism, underlines the attack on Russian values, and makes it clear the likes of Turkey are either with Russia or with the terrorists.”He didn’t give any signal of backing down. He seemed to be escalating the war of words with Turkey and other Russia detractors in Europe and the Middle East.”
Putin’s comments came a day after Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said he was ready to meet his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines of a two-day Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) conference in Belgrade. “As far as the meeting with Turkish Minister [Mevlut] Cavusoglu goes, we are ready to make such a meeting on the sidelines [of the OSCE conference],” Lavrov said in the Serbian capital on Wednesday. But, he cautioned, “it will be sad if we hear nothing new”.
Russia has escalated its dispute with Turkey by claiming to have evidence that proves President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his family are benefiting from the illegal smuggling of oil from territory held by ISIL. “Turkey is the main consumer of the oil stolen from its rightful owners, Syria and Iraq. According to information we’ve received, the senior political leadership of the country – President Erdogan and his family – are involved in this criminal business,” Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s deputy defence minister, said on Wednesday.
Turkey has vehemently denied Russia’s claims, with Erdogan saying again on Wednesday that he would resign from his post if they could be proved.
“Turkey has not lost its moral values as to buy oil from a terror organisation… Those who make such slanderous claims are obliged to prove them. If they do, I would not remain on the presidential seat for one minute,” Erdogan said. “But those who make the claim must also give up their seat if they can’t prove it.”
Culled From Aljazeera News