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‘Turkey licking Americans in a particular place,’ angry Putin says


  •  Erdogan warns Putin ‘not to play with fire’
  •  Putin imposes sanctions, says country ‘fully mobilized’ to tackle threats from Turkey


Russia’s Vladimir Putin subjected Turkey to a furious tirade on Thursday, using barrack-room language to wonder aloud whether it had shot down a Russian warplane last month to curry favor with the United States.

Addressing almost 1,400 reporters in a cavernous hall inside a Moscow conference center, the Russian president dedicated a chunk of his annual news conference to spelling out why he saw no prospect of a rapprochement with Ankara.

“If someone in the Turkish leadership decided to lick the Americans in a particular place I don’t know whether they acted correctly or not and I don’t know … whether the Americans needed that,” said Putin, referring to the shooting down.

Putin said he could imagine a scenario where there was a deal for Turkey to shoot down a Russian plane in return for Washington turning a blind eye to Turkish troops entering Iraq.

“Perhaps there was such an arrangement,” he said.

Turkey’s downing of a Russian SU-24 fighter bomber near the Syrian-Turkish border on Nov. 24 prompted Putin to impose economic sanctions on Turkey who he claimed had stabbed Russia in the back.

Turkey said it was acting to defend its airspace. Moscow said its plane had not overflown Turkey.

Putin made clear Russian sanctions would stay in place for some time, saying it was hard for the Kremlin to reach any kind of agreement with the current Turkish leadership, whom he accused of “creeping Islamization” that would have the secular state’s founder, Kemal Ataturk, turning in his grave.

“Maybe, they thought we would run away from there (Syria)? But Russia is not such a country,” said Putin.

Putin, speaking on the eve of a meeting of world powers in New York on Friday to discuss Syria, was more conciliatory towards the



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