Erdogan slams Putin for involving his family
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday rejected “immoral” Moscow claims that his family was involved in alleged oil dealings with ISIS militants as his Russian counterpart continued lashing out against Ankara, vowing never to forget downing of a Russian jet.
“The immoral side of this issue is involving my family in the affair,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in Ankara after the Russian defence ministry accused him and his family of involvement in illegal oil trade with ISIS jihadists after Ankara’s downing of one of Moscow’s warplanes last month.
The ministry said it had a proof that Erdogan and his family were benefiting from the illegal oil smuggling.
In order to calm the situation with Russia, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Ankara is willing to share details of the jet downing incident.
On Thursday, the Turkish and Russian foreign ministers also met on the sidelines of a European security meeting in Serbia’s capital, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official said.
Thursday’s meeting in Belgrade between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu was the first between the countries senior officials since Turkey downed a Russian plane near its border with Syria, touching off a crisis between the two states that previously enjoyed warm ties.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry official was speaking on condition of anonymity because of government rules that bar officials from speaking to reporters without prior authorization.
Earlier, Davutoglu also dismissed the Russian allegations as “Soviet-style propaganda” on Thursday and said the NATO member was doing all it could to secure its border with Syria.
“In the Cold War period there was a Soviet propaganda machine. Every day it created different lies. Firstly they would believe them and then expect the world to believe them. These were remembered as Pravda lies and nonsense,” Davutoglu said.
“This was an old tradition but it has suddenly reared its head again. Nobody attaches any value to the lies of this Soviet-style propaganda machine,” he told a news conference before leaving on an official visit to Azerbaijan.
Davutoglu said a rejection of Russia’s claims by the United States was further evidence that Moscow was peddling a fabricated narrative.
Putin: Russia ‘will not forget’
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday vowed never to forget Turkey’s downing of one of Moscow’s warplanes.
“We will not forget this complicity with terrorists. We always considered and will always consider treachery to be the ultimate and lowest act. Let those in Turkey who shot our pilots in the back know this,” Putin told lawmakers in his annual state of the nation address.
“We know for example who in Turkey fills their pockets and allows terrorists to make money from the stolen oil in Syria,” Putin said.
“It is precisely with this money that the bandits recruit mercenaries, buy arms and organize inhuman terrorist acts aimed against our citizens, the citizens of France, Lebanon, Mali and other countries.”
Russia has announced sanctions against Ankara banning the import of some Turkish food and reintroducing visas for visitors from the country, and Putin insisted Turkey would be made to regret its actions.
“We will not rattle our sabres. But if someone thinks that after committing heinous war crimes, the murder of our people, it will end with tomatoes and limitations in construction and other fields, then they are deeply mistaken,” Putin said.
“We will not stop reminding them of what they did and they will not stop regretting their actions.”
Putin said that given a push to improve relations with Ankara in recent years, Moscow did not understand why its rival in the Syria war had downed its jet.
“Only Allah, most likely, knows why they did this. And evidently Allah decided to punish the ruling clique in Turkey by depriving them of their intelligence and reason.”