Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday accused Ankara of having shot down last week a Russian bomber near the Syrian border to protect the oil traffic that the organization Islamic State book (EI).
“We have every reason to believe that the decision to shoot down our plane was dictated by the desire to protect these oil routing paths to Turkish territory,” Putin said at a press conference in margins of Cop21 near Paris.
Putin refused to meet in Paris on Monday Erdogan despite the insistence of the Turkish president, whose country will undergo Moscow’s economic sanctions after shooting a Russian bomber on its border with Syria.
Nearly a week after surgery over the Turkish-Syrian border of two Turkish fighter aircraft F-16 down in flames a Sukhoi-24 bomber returning from mission, serious diplomatic crisis between Russia and Turkey knows no sign of relaxation.
Ankara refuses to apologize and maintains legitimately have acted to protect its airspace.
While the body of Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov – pilot strafed by Syrian rebels when he fell in parachute – left Turkey in the morning to be repatriated, the anti-Turkish fever continues in Russia and the state media to draw lashing out at Turkey, yesterday partner.
Meanwhile, Russian authorities are refining all economic sanctions against Turkey, whose scope should be limited, but the real impact.
Monday morning, the Kremlin has flatly ruled out any meeting between Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, which are both at Le Bourget, near Paris, to attend the climate summit.
Moscow continues to sulk Ankara despite insistent calls of the Turkish President to meet with the head of the Russian state “face to face”.
Furious, Russia since the incident accuses Turkey of having links with jihadist organization Islamic State (EI) and demands an apology.
“No Turkish prime minister, no president, no authority to excuse”, maintained Monday Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after meeting in Brussels Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary General which Turkey is a member.
“No country can ask for an apology, because we have done our duty”, namely “to protect our airspace and our border,” he pleaded.
Repeating that Turkey had “no intention to have an escalation” with Russia, Davutoglu urged Moscow to “reconsider” its economic sanctions, saying they were “contrary” to Turkey’s interests as Russia.
The NATO Secretary General again called for “calm”, but stressed that the defense of its airspace was “the sovereign right of Turkey”.
The remains of Russian pilot repatriated
The Russian government has adopted diplomatic and economic sanctions: restoration of the visa regime, banning charter flights between the two countries, the Russian ban employers from hiring or Turkish ban on imports of some Turkish goods.
The body of the pilot of the Sukhoi Su-24 shot down last week left Turkey for Russia where it should arrive soon.
The remains of the pilot, up to the Turkish authorities, was repatriated Sunday in the border region of Hatay (South) to Ankara, where a ceremony was attended by Russian representatives.
Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov, 45, was killed when he fell after being ejected by parachute. His navigator, Captain Konstantin Mourakhtine had rescued him after an operation by Russian and Syrian special forces. A first rescue attempt had killed a marine infantry soldier.
The pilot will be buried in Lipetsk (500 km southeast of Moscow), where he lived, the Russian media reported that specify that this officer had grown to Oskemen, now located in eastern Kazakhstan. Formed a military school in Yekaterinburg (Urals), Oleg Peshkov was married and had two children 8 and 16 years.
On 25 November, the day after the death of the pilot, Vladimir Putin signed a decree decorating Oleg Peshkov, posthumously, and Konstantine Mourakhtine the title “Hero of the Russian Federation”.
The Mourakhtine captain is currently hospitalized in a Moscow hospital, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Fruits and vegetables
The embargo that Russia intends to impose on Turkey will be limited to fruits and vegetables, but can be expanded, said Monday government officials.
“These measures (…) are only a first step”, warned the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, adding that they could be expanded if necessary.
A decree signed on Saturday by President Vladimir Putin, provides a range of retaliatory measures, trade restrictions bans hiring of Turkish workers, and the government is now to define the application.
On banned products, “it will be two main groups: first, are the vegetables, including tomatoes, and second, it is the fruit,” said Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.
“We believe that we must avoid the most of further price increases in our domestic market. For this, we propose to apply the ban within a certain time (…) so that consumers and merchants have the time, a few weeks to find other suppliers, “he said.
Russia already imposes an embargo on food and agricultural products penalize countries that because of the Ukrainian crisis, including the European Union. This measure, combined with the fall of the ruble, has already led to a surge in food prices.
Russia imports from Turkey especially tomatoes and citrus and the disappearance of these products were fearing a price increase in full holiday season.
On industrial goods, no restrictive measures are planned “for now,” said his side the number two of the Government Igor Shuvalov.
Regarding the construction sector, where Turkish companies are active in Russia, the contracts signed before 31 December may be carried out normally, but from next year, all new contracts must be approved by the Russian government, Shuvalov said.
In transport, the number of road transport Turkish companies licensed to operate in Russia will increase from 8000 to 2000, said his side Mr. Dvorkovich.
According to experts, Turkey should suffer restrictions especially the tourism sector. From the day of the crash of Russian Su-24, the government recommended the Russians not to travel to Turkey, which has led tour operators to stop selling stays.
The Russians are the second largest contingent of tourists in Turkey, after the Germans.