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Turkey Releases Audio Of Apparent Warning To Russian Jet

Russians burn a Turkish flag during a rally in front of the Turkish Embassy in Moscow on November 25.
Russians burn a Turkish flag during a rally in front of the Turkish Embassy in Moscow on November 25.

The Turkish military has released what it says is an audio recording of an apparent warning issued to a Russian jet before it was shot down near the Syrian border.

A voice in the recording can be heard saying in English, "Change your heading south immediately." The message is repeated several times.

The surviving pilot of the Russian warplane shot down by Turkey on the Turkish-Syrian border has said he received no warning.

In his first interview since the incident on November 24, Konstantin Murakhtin told Russian state media on November 25 that there had been "no contact at all" before his warplane was shot down by Turkish fighter jets.

Turkey insists it gave 10 warnings in the space of five minutes before the plane was shot down.

"There was no warning, not by radio exchange nor visually," said Murakhtin, who was rescued by Russian special forces.

His co-pilot was killed by gunfire as he parachuted from the burning plane.

Murakhtin, speaking from the Hmeymim air base in Syria, said he knew the region he had been flying in "very well" and that the warplane had not been in Turkish airspace "even for a second."

The incident has led to tensions between the two countries.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the shooting down of the Russian warplane was likely "a planned provocation" while adding that Ankara's NATO allies were trying "to cover up for what the Turkish Air Force did yesterday."

Medal For Slain Pilot

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin conferred his country's highest honor, the Hero of Russia, upon the pilot who was killed on November 24 along the Turkey-Syria border.

The decree bestowing the honor to Oleg Peshkov was posted on the Kremlin's website on November 25.

Because Russia does not publicize information about military casualties abroad, the statement does not make any mention of why Peshkov was given the award. It merely says the honor was conferred "posthumously."

The same press statement says that Putin has conferred the Medal of Courage upon Aleksandr Posynich, the marine who was killed in Syria during the search-and-rescue operation following the downing.

The president also presented the same honor to navigator Murakhtin.

Russian Sanctions On Turkey

Meanwhile, The Russian government has ordered its agricultural-safety agency to tighten control over imported agricultural products from Turkey, citing "repeated violations" of Russian norms by Turkish producers.

Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Tkachev announced on November 26 that additional inspectors will be stationed at border crossings where Turkish goods enter Russia and additional inspections of Turkish producers will be instated.

"Unfortunately, an average of 15 percent of Turkish agricultural products do not meet Russian standards," Tkachev said.

Russia routinely imposes purportedly health-related bans on goods from countries with which Moscow has strained political relations.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, BBC, Interfax, and TASS
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