Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says Turkey will repent “more than once” the downing of a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian-Turkish border, stating that Moscow will not turn a blind eye to Ankara’s “aiding of terrorists.”
Addressing Russian lawmakers in his annual state of the nation on Thursday, Putin said Russia still cannot comprehend why the downing took place, adding that the death of a Russian pilot in the incident would have long-term consequences for those responsible.
He also censured “part of the leadership in Turkey” which engages in trade with terrorist groups in Syria and neighboring Iraq and is responsible for the Russian pilot’s death.
The Russian leader further stressed that Moscow’s anger over the jet downing is directed at particular individuals and not at the Turkish nation.
“We have many friends in Turkey. They should know that we do not equate them and part of the current Turkish leadership, which holds a direct responsibility for the deaths of our troops in Syria,” Putin said.
On November 24, Turkey shot down the Russian Su-24 bomber, which it claimed had entered its airspace – an allegation Russia strongly rejects. One of the two pilots was killed by Takfiri militants after parachuting from the plane while the other, held by the terrorists, was later freed in an operation by the Syrian Army. A Russian marine was also killed in the search and rescue operation immediately after the downing of the plane.
Putin stressed that the Russian operation in Syria is aimed first and foremost at preventing militants from returning home and mounting terrorist attacks on Russian soil.
Putin also called on all nations that have pledged to fight terrorism to join forces, and “not apply double standards on terror” or use terrorist groups for their own needs.
The Russian president reiterated that Russia believes that the Turkish leadership makes money from smuggling crude oil obtained by Daesh terrorist group in territories that the Takfiri group occupies in Syria and Iraq.
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has rejected as “Soviet-style propaganda,” Russian allegations that Ankara is in league with militants to smuggle oil.
“In the Cold War period, there was a Soviet propaganda machine. Every day it created different lies …This was an old tradition but it has suddenly reared its head again,” Davutoglu said.
On Wednesday, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Moscow is aware of three main oil smuggling routes to Turkey.
He added that Turkey is the main buyer of smuggled oil coming from Iraq and Syria.
“According to our data, the top political leadership of the country – President Erdogan and his family – is involved in this criminal business,” Antonov stressed.
Iraqi lawmaker Mowaffak al-Rubaie stated on November 29 that Daesh has made over $800 million dollars in black market oil sales in Turkey over the last eight months.
“This is Iraqi oil and Syrian oil, carried by trucks from Iraq, from Syria through the borders to Turkey and sold… [at] less than 50 percent of the international oil price,” he said.
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