Give up baseless claims on Daesh link: Turkey tells Russia
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday called on Russia to re-establish dialogue channels instead of making “baseless accusations” of an alleged oil trade between Ankara and the Daesh terrorists.
“We should sit at the table and discuss what to do instead of making baseless accusations,” Davutoglu told reporters at Ankara airport before leaving for a visit to the Turkey-backed breakaway region of northern Cyprus.
The downing of a Russian warplane last week by Turkish F-16 jets for allegedly violating Turkish air space on the Syrian border sparked tensions between Turkey and Russia, until now major trade partners.
Russian President Vladimir Putin snubbed a request by Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to meet on the sidelines of a UN climate conference near Paris on Monday.
Instead, the Russian strongman used his news conference to accuse Ankara of importing oil from IS militants in Syria.
“Russian authorities should know it was not Turkish jets that violated Russian air space,” Davutoglu responded.
“When there is a war taking place on our doorstep and refugees are pouring into Turkey it would not be responsible behavior to ignore air space incursions,” he said.
“It is not possible to conceal air space violations through baseless accusations targeting Turkey like (allegations of) oil purchases from Daesh,” he added.
“Our call to Russia again is to open military communication channels to prevent similar incidents happening. Let’s keep diplomatic channels open,” Davutoglu told a news conference before departing on an official visit to northern Cyprus.
“We must sit down and talk at the table instead of making unfounded allegations,” he added.
Putin, who has signed a decree imposing economic sanctions on Turkey over the incident, said on Monday Turkey shot down the Russian jet because it wanted to protect supplies of oil from the Daesh militants.
Davutoglu said Turkey will continue in its efforts to expel the Daesh militants from the area on the Syrian side of the border between the two countries.
Erdogan late Monday had also angrily rounded on Putin over the comments, saying that he was ready to resign if any oil trade between Turkey and Daesh was proven.
“A claim is made through evidence. If there’s such evidence, then put it on the table and we will look,” said Erdogan, quoted by Turkish media from Paris.
“We have said time and time again that we do not see it right for two countries that reached a point which felt like a strategic partnership to make such emotional statements.”