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Turkish President Says Putin's Remarks 'Unacceptable'

  • RFE/RL

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also rejected allegations from Putin that Turkey was helping to fund Islamic State (IS) militants by buying oil from the extremist group.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also rejected allegations from Putin that Turkey was helping to fund Islamic State (IS) militants by buying oil from the extremist group.

Turkey's president has said Russian President Vladimir Putin's comments after he met in Moscow with French President Francois Hollande were "unacceptable."

Speaking on November 27 after Putin accused Turkey of "deliberately" pushing bilateral relations to a dead end on November 26, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey did not intentionally shoot down a Russian fighter jet along the Turkey-Syria border on November 24.

Erdogan said Turkish forces responded automatically to "violations of the rules of engagement" after the plane entered Turkish airspace and refused to acknowledge repeated warning messages. A Russian pilot was killed in the altercation.

Putin also said on November 26 that Moscow was waiting for an apology and an offer of compensation from Turkey, and that he expected Ankara to "punish the criminals for this crime."

Erdogan has previously said that Russia should apologize for violating Turkey's airspace, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said Ankara will not "apologize on an occasion when we are right."

Turkey's military has released recordings of repeated warning messages it says were sent to the Russian pilot.

Moscow says the plane never left Syrian airspace and claims there were no warning messages.

Putin also called the downing of the Russian fighter jet "a treacherous stab in the back" that "contravenes common sense and international law."

He said that he hoped a "real, broad international coalition" will be formed into a "coordinated, powerful force" that will "support the actions of the Russian military conducting successful operations against terrorist groups and structures in Syria."

But the Russian president said Western countries in the U.S.-led coalition were not ready to work with Russia.

Erdogan on November 27 also rejected allegations from Putin that Turkey was helping to fund Islamic State (IS) militants by buying oil from the extremist group.

In fact, Erdogan said, the United States had documented evidence that Russian companies and IS militants are selling oil to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Shortly after Erdogan made the remarks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow had questions about Ankara's commitment to fighting against IS militants.

On November 26, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he had asked his government to formulate a package of punitive measures against Turkey.

Lavrov said on November 27 that one measure taking effect on January 1 would be the cancelation of visa-free travel in Russia for Turkish citizens.

Medvedev also said the shooting down of the Russian plane was "definitely an act of aggression" and said it was necessary to take "economic measures" in addition to the diplomatic and military responses that have already been adopted.

He said Russia would suspend ongoing talks on preferential trade status for Turkey and would consider restricting Turkish labor migrants in Russia.

Earlier, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow expected Turkey and other countries to respect the inviolability of marine traffic through the Black Sea straits as laid out in the Montreux Convention.

Peskov said a Turkey-Russia summit scheduled for St. Petersburg in December had not been "officially canceled," but that "there are many questions."

Erdogan said on November 27 that he hoped he would be able to meet with Putin on the sidelines of the November 30 climate summit in Paris.

But Peskov has said the Kremlin is not planning a bilateral meeting between Putin and Erdogan

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa, TASS, and Interfax
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