Turkey dismisses Russian spokeswoman’s ‘Ottoman’ comment
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
AA photoA senior Turkish official dismissed on May 5 a Russian spokeswoman’s comments regarding what she called the “destructive role of the Turkish government” on various issues.
Maria Zakharova, the official spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, told daily Izvestia on May 4 that Turkey was “striving to restore the previous might of the Ottoman Empire in one way or another.”
“Everybody knows how the Ottoman Empire ended,” she is quoted as saying by the TASS news agency. “Unfortunately, we can see an absolutely destructive role of the Turkish government in [everything], be it Crimea, Syria, refugees, terrorism, ethnic problems, and so on.”
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç said May 5 that comments from those “who do not respect the territorial integrity of their neighbors” and “try to camouflage their own internal problems with adventures in foreign policy, have no value in our eyes.”
Bilgiç said it was a very strange situation when “the spokesperson of a country that has experienced three [governance] experiences [Russian Empire, Soviet Union and Russian Federation] in the 20th century gives lessons to the others about the collapse of states.”
“The Turkish Republic has conducted an honorable, peaceful and friendly policy since 1923,” he added.
Turkey and Russia for years have had different policies on Syria and Ukraine. Turkey did not recognize the Russian annexation of Ukraine’s autonomous republic of Crimea in 2014 and has repeatedly accused Moscow of supporting the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria.
Relations between the two countries hit a new low on Nov. 24, 2015, when Turkish jets downed a Sukhoi-24M bomber along the Syrian border for allegedly violating its airspace.