Putin: Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane ‘a stab in the back’ by ‘accomplices of terrorists’
Russian President Vladimir Putin harshly rebuked Turkey for itsdowning of a Russian warplane Tuesday morning.
“Today’s loss is linked to a stab in the back delivered to us by accomplices of terrorists,” Putin said Tuesday from the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi before a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah, according to Reuters. “I cannot qualify what happened today as anything else.”
“We established a long time ago that large quantities of oil and oil products from territory captured by Islamic State have been arriving on Turkish territory,” he continued, saying that was how the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, had been funding itself.
“And now we get stabbed in our back and our planes, which are fighting terrorism, are struck. This despite the fact that we signed an agreement with our American partners to warn each other about air-to-air incidents and Turkey … announced it was allegedly fighting against terrorism as part of the US coalition.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was due to visit Turkey on Wednesday, but he canceled his trip after the downing of the plane.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has defended Turkey’s decision to down the plane, saying on Tuesday that it was Turkey’s “national duty” to protect the country’s security. He added that Turkey had the right “to take all kinds of measures” to protect its border, the Associated Press reported.
Turkey says the plane was in Turkish airspace and had been warned repeatedly before it was shot down by Turkish F-16 jets. A US military spokesman confirmed to the BBC that Turkey had warned the Russian jet to exit Turkish airspace at least 10 times.
But the Russian leader says the plane was attacked by a Turkish surface-to-air missile while flying in Syrian airspace, roughly a mile from the Turkish border. Putin claims the plane crashed 2 1/2 miles inside Syria.
“Our pilots didn’t threaten Turkey,” Putin said. “This is obvious.”
A Turkmen rebel brigade in Syria said it shot dead the Russian plane’s two occupants, who descended with parachutes, according to Reuters. That claim had not been confirmed. The Turkmen in Syria have close ethnic and historical links to Turkey.
The Turkish military published a radar map
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