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Turkey Accuses Russia Of Cover-Up Over Air Violation


Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has accused Russia of trying to "cover up" its violation of Turkey's airspace with "unfounded" claims that Ankara is illegally importing oil from Islamic State militants in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that Turkey shot down its plane to protect what he described as Turkish profiteering from the oil trade, a charge Turkey denies.

Davutoglu on December 1 also renewed a call for Russia to keep military and diplomatic channels for dialogue open, insisting that Russia's stance was turning the Syria crisis into a "crisis between Russia and Turkey."

Turkey has said its F-16 fired on the Sukhoi Su-24M warplane on November 24 after it entered Turkish airspace and that Turkish pilots had issued 10 warnings.

Russia insists the jet was flying over Syria.

In related comments, U.S. President Barack Obama said he supports Turkey's right to defend itself.

Obama was speaking after a meeting on December 1 with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Paris, where he has been attending the climate summit.

The U.S. president said the "United States supports Turkey's right to defend itself," but stressed that the Islamic State militant group was the enemy that all sides needed to focus on.

Obama also said he doesn't expect Russia to suddenly stop targeting opposition groups with air strikes in Syria after spending years propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

But Obama said it's possible over the coming months the United States will see a "shift in calculations" by Russia and a recognition that it's time to end Syria's civil war.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP and Reuters
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