New Delhi: Russian President Vladimir Putin will be visiting India on Wednesday to attend the…
New DelhiReuters): President Vladimir Putin is fully mobilised to tackle what the Kremlin regards as an unprecedented threat from Turkey following the shooting down of one of its warplanes by a Turkish F-16, the Russian leader’s spokesman said on Saturday.
In comments which underscore how angry the Kremlin still is over the incident, Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, called the behaviour of the Turkish air force “absolute madness” and said Ankara’s subsequent handling of the crisis had reminded him of the “theatre of the absurd.”
“Nobody has the right to traitorously shoot down a Russian plane from behind,” Peskov told Russia’s “News on Saturday” TV programme, calling Turkish evidence purporting to show the Russian SU-24 jet had violated Turkish air space “cartoons”.
Peskov said the crisis had prompted Putin, whose ministers are preparing retaliatory economic measures against Turkey, to “mobilise” in the way an army does in tense times.
“The president is mobilised, fully mobilised, mobilised to the extent that circumstances demand,” said Peskov.
“The circumstances are unprecedented. The gauntlet thrown down to Russia is unprecedented. So naturally the reaction is in line with this threat.”
Peskov said Putin was aware of a Turkish request for him to meet President Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the Paris climate change conference next week but gave no indication of whether such a meeting would take place. Erdogan on Saturday said the Paris summit could be a chance to repair Ankara’s relations with Russia.
Peskov denied Turkish press reports which said Moscow and Ankara had struck a deal for their warplanes to stop flying along the Syrian-Turkish border, saying military ties between the two countries had been severed and a hot line meant to avoid misunderstandings among their pilots dismantled. Peskov, according to the TASS news agency, also spoke of how Erdogan’s son had a “certain interest” in the oil industry.
Erdogan has spoken of slander and asked anyone making such accusations to back up their words with evidence. Peskov said he “noted” that Turkey’s newly-appointed energy minister, Berat Albayrak, was Erdogan’s son-in-law. Peskov said there could be up to 200,000 Turkish citizens on Russian soil.
“What’s important is that everyone who is able to use their influence to guarantee at least some predictability in the pattern of Turkey’s behaviour,” said Peskov. “Russian planes should never be shot down.”