Russia sees Turkey as a friend, has problems with some politicians: Putin
MOSCOW – Reuters
AFP photoRussian President Vladimir Putin said on April 14 that Russia viewed Turkey as a friend but had problems with some Turkish politicians.
“We consider Turkey our friend,” Putin said in an annual televised phone-in. “We have problems with a few politicians whose behavior we consider inadequate.”
Relations between Turkey and Russia have been tense since Nov. 24, 2015, when the former downed a warplane of the latter on its border with Syria on the grounds of an airspace violation. Turkey claims that it warned the Russian aircraft multiple times before shooting it down, while Russia denies any warnings reaching its side.
Russia has accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his family of helping smuggle Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) oil, but Ankara has strongly refuted such claims.
Answering a question of who he would save – Erdoğan or Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko – if they were drowning, Putin said he would lend a helping hand to “partners” if they themselves wished it.
“If someone has decided to drown, it is no longer possible to save them. But, of course, we are ready to lend a helping hand and a hand of friendship to any of our partners if they want that themselves,” Putin said.