Russia Responds to Turkey's 'Ethnic Cleansing' Accusations
Russia responded on Thursday to the accusations made by Turkey on Wednesday that Russian airstrikes in Syria were aiming to achieve ethnic cleansing.
According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, the accusations of Ankara were groundless and pointed to Turkey's total detachment from reality.
On Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu accused Russia of attempting "ethnic cleansing" in northern Syria through its airstrikes.
Davutoglu pointed that Russian airstrikes targeted Turkmen and Sunni communities around the region of Latakia, who are hostile to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
According to him, Russian airstrikes were strengthening the position of Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
The relations between Russia and Turkey have deteriorated after the downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber by Turkish F-16 fighter jets near the Turkish-Syrian border on November 24.
Turkey claims that the Russian aircraft had violated Turkish airspace and was issued with ten warnings before being shot down.
Russia maintains that the airplane had stayed exclusively within Syrian airspace and no warnings were issued.
Both pilots of the downed aircraft managed to eject themselves, but one of them was killed midair by gunfire from the ground.
In retaliation, Russia imposed a set of economic sanctions against Turkey, which include ban on the import of certain goods and suspension of the visa-free travel between the two countries.
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