Erdogan warns Russia "not to play with fire"

"We very sincerely recommend to Russia not to play with fire," Turkish President Recep Erdogan told supporters in northeast Turkey on Friday.

Source: Tanjug

Speaking in the context of the crisis in relations between the two countries after Turkey shot down a Russian bomber in Syria earlier this week, he added:

"We really attach a lot of importance to our relations with Russia. We don't want these relations to suffer harm in any way."

"There is a summit in Paris, I believe he (Vladimir Putin) will also attend. We could sit and talk there. II would like to meet (Putin) face to face in Paris. I would like to bring the issue to a reasonable point. We are disturbed that the issue has been escalated," he said, quoted by AP.

Erdogan also "stressed that the U.S. have documented proof that Russian companies and Islamic State are selling oil to the Syrian regime," Reuters reported, and rejected as "slander" Russia's claims it was Turkey who was buying oil from IS.

Erdogan also said his country "downed the jet as a result of automatic enforcement of the rules of engagement."

Reuters quoted Russian Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin as stating on Friday Moscow "has the right to make a military response" in the wake of "intentional murder of our soldiers".

It was reported earlier on Friday that Russian military deployed both the S-400 air defense systems and the Moskva missile cruiser to Syria, while local media in Turkey said the country's air force "suspended flights over Syria as part of the international coalition fighting Islamic State."

Crossed line

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was meeting with Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem earlier on Friday when he said Turkey "risks to face a complicated situation in the region."

"I do not think we now have reasons to discuss our perception of the Turkish provocation against our jet. Our perception has been presented in most details, first of all by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin," Lavrov said, according to TASS, and added:

"We believe the Turkish leaders have crossed the line of the acceptable. They risk bringing Turkey into a most complicated situation - both from the point of view of long-term national interests and from the point of view of the situation in the region."

Lavrov thanked Damascus for rescuing one of the crew of the shot down plane, while Muallem described the incident as an unprecedented act of aggression and offered his country's condolences to the families of the servicemen who died on Tuesday.

Muallem added that he agreed with Putin's statement that the attack was "a stab in the back":

"We have said for five years now that Turkey helps to support terrorists for ideological reasons, stabbing us in the back every day over a span of five years."


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