Erdoğan says would resign if Putin ISIL oil trade claims proven
ANKARA - Agence France-Presse
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during the opening session of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Christian HartmannTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Nov. 30 said he would be ready to quit office if allegations by Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Turkey traded oil with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were proven.
"I will say something very strong here. If such a thing is proven, the nobility of our nation would require that I would not stay in office," Erdoğan was quoted by the state-run Andolu Agency as saying on the sidelines of the UN climate talks near Paris, which Putin is also attending.
Challenging Putin, who has refused to meet the Turkish leader after the shooting down of a Russian military jet, Erdoğan added: "And I tell Mr Putin 'would you stay in that office?' I say this clearly."
Putin earlier on Nov. 30 accused Ankara of shooting down the Russian Su-24 warplane last week to protect supplies of oil from ISIL to Turkey, charges Turkey vehemently denies.
"We have every reason to think that the decision to shoot down our plane was dictated by the desire to protect the oil supply lines to Turkish territory, right to the ports where it is loaded onto tankers," Putin said during a news conference on the fringes of the climate talks, echoing similar accusations he made last week.
"We have received additional information which unfortunately confirms that this oil, produced in areas controlled by the Islamic State [ISIL] and other terrorist organisations, is transported on an industrial scale to Turkey," Russian leader has claimed.
Erdoğan rebuked Putin's allegations, saying Turkey obtained all its oil and gas imports "through the legal path".
"We are not dishonest so as to do this kind of exchange with terrorist groups. Everyone needs to know this," he stated.
Erdoğan said on Dec. 1 that his government would act "patiently and not emotionally" before taking any measures in response to Russia's decision to impose sanctions on Turkey.
"Let's act patiently and not emotionally," Erdoğan told reporters when asked whether Turkey would hit back with its own sanctions. "Let's let their chips fall as they may, then if we have our own chips, we'll let those fall."