Downing of Russian Warplane by Turkey Was ‘Hostile Act’, Putin Says

World » RUSSIA | December 17, 2015, Thursday // 14:58
Bulgaria: Downing of Russian Warplane by Turkey Was ‘Hostile Act’, Putin Says Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he speaks during his annual news conference at the World Trade Center in Moscow, Russia, 17 December 2015.

The downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey had been a “hostile act, not an act of unfriendliness," Russian  President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

Moscow had been particularly outraged that Turkey hadn’t tried to explain its action and immediately turned to NATO for help instead, Putin told his end-of-year news conference in Moscow.

“A military aircraft had been shot down and people died. If it had been an accident - and Turkish authorities allegedly did not know that it was a Russian plane - what is to be done in such cases? Pick up the phone and explain,” Putin said, according to TASS.

Relations between Moscow and Ankara have soured since Turkish Air Force fighter jets shot down a Russian Su-24M bomber in the border area between Turkey and Syria last month. While Turkey says that the Russian bomber violated Turkish airspace and ignored warnings to change course, Russia claims that there was no violation of airspace and no warnings were issued.

Putin said he didn’t understand why Turkey had shot down the Russian warplane.

"What have they achieved? Maybe, they thought that we would run away from there (Syria)? But Russia is not such a country."

Putin also said that he saw "no prospect" of improving relations with the current leadership of Turkey “if at all possible” after the downing of the Russian warplane.

The main reason to cancel Russia’s visa-free regime with Turkey had been what Putin described as ‘creeping islamisation’ threatening Russia’s national security.

"We do see and register the presence of militants in Turkey and among them, for instance, are those from [Russia’s] North Caucasus,” Putin said.

Those people keep staying in Turkey, get medical treatment there and aterwards, they use the visa-free regime to enter Russia using Turkish passports and “eventually dissolve", Putin said.

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Tags: Russia, turkey, Putin, Syria, warplane, jets, Islamisation, North Caucasus
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