Russia is not yet ready to forgive Turkey over its shooting of the Russian Su-24 fighter jet last month. Russian President Vladimir Putin canceled his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tomorrow, December 15.
Putin and Erdogan scheduled the meeting during the G20 Summit in Turkey on November 16, more than a week before Turkey shot down Russia’s fighter jet at the Syrian border. Since the incident, the relationship between the two countries deteriorated.
Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Pres. Putin confirmed that the meeting was canceled. He said, “It will not take place. It is not planned.” The Russian President also disregarded a meeting with Erdogan during the Climate Change summit in France last month. Putin also refused to answer phone calls from Erdogan.
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Turkey’s relations with Russia is deteriorating
The leaders of Russia and Turkey have been engaged in a war of words since the downing of the Russian fighter jet. Erdogan refused to apologize for the incident and emphasized that his country would do it again if a similar situation occur. Turkey claimed that Russian fighter jet violated its airspace despite repeated warnings.
Putin called Turkey’s action as a “stab in the back” and emphasized it would have “serious consequences.” The Russian President recently stated that Russia is “planning to engage in military saber-rattling with Turkey.” In fact, Moscow terminated all military cooperation and implemented economic sanctions against Ankara including a ban on imports of some Turkish product.
Russia also imposed a visa regime on Turkey effective January 1. Russian citizens were also advised to leave Turkey. It is also expected to cancel joint projects with Turkey to further cripple its economy. The Kremlin also considered declaring war against the Turkish government, but eventually decided not to respond symmetrically.
Russia sets three conditions to improve ties with Turkey
Turkey consistently insisted on engaging in a constructive dialogue with Russia to reduce the tensions between the two countries. However, the Turkish government hasn’t made any practical steps in the direction, according to Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov.
He noted that the Turkish government repeatedly expressed its readiness to engage in a dialogue to resolve the issue, but it is also issuing statements that contradict the announced approach.
In order to restore the normal relations between Moscow and Ankara, Karlov outlined three conditions. These conditions include the need for Turkey to apologize for the downing of the Russian fighter jet that caused the death of its two servicemen; Turkey should also identify and punish those responsible for the incident, and to pay for the damages it caused.
“If our expectations are not met, Turkey’s other announcements will not pay off,” said Karlov.
Russian warship fired warning shots at Turkish ship
Meanwhile, a Russian warship fired warning shots at a Turkish fishing vessel to avoid a collision on Sunday. The incident happened 22 kilometers north of the Greek island of Limnos in the Aegean Sea, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said they needed more information from the crew aboard the fishing vessel before making a proper response to the incident.
“We are not on the side of escalating tension. We are on the side of de-escalating tense situations through dialogue,” said Cavusoglu.
In an interview with Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, Cavosuglu was quoted saying, “Ours was only a fishing boat, it seems to me that the reaction of the Russian naval ship was exaggerated. Russia and Turkey certainly have to re-establish the relations of trust that we have always had, but our patience has a limit.”
Cavusoglu also emphasized that Russia put itself in a “ridiculous position” after Putting accused Turkey of downing the Russian fighter jet to protect oil supplies from the Islamic States. He said “no one believed” Putin’s allegations.
Furthermore, Cavusoglu criticized Russia’s military intervention Syria, which is primarily intended to support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. He said, “Unfortunately Russia is not in Syria to fight terrorists.” He added that only 8% of the Russian airstrikes targeted Islamic State while 92% were aimed at groups opposing the Assad regime.