Turkey ‘ready to work’ with Russia to prevent repeat of jet downing: PM
AFP photoPrime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Dec. 9 that Turkey is “ready to work” with Russia to prevent a repeat of incidents similar to the Nov. 24 downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey, while also accusing Russia of “ethnic cleansing” of Turkmens in Syria’s Latakia.
“We are ready to work with Russia to prevent similar incidents in the aftermath of the downing of the Russian jet,” Davutoğlu said at a meeting with representatives from the foreign press in Istanbul, while reserving harsh words for Moscow’s actions in Latakia.
“Russia is trying to create a safe zone for itself by isolating the Turkmen and Sunni population from Latakia and also trying to safeguard the Russian and Syrian bases,” he said, describing the Russian targeting of Turkmen groups as “ethnic cleansing.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, ruled out on Dec. 10 the accusations, naming Davutoğlu's remarks "groundless."
Davutoğlu also added that the Russian bombing of the Azez region, while also cutting the supply lines of moderate opposition groups, only served the interests of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The Turkish prime minister also referred to the controversial deployment of Turkish soldiers to Mosul as an “act of solidarity” rather than aggression, amid increasing threats from ISIL against Turkish soldier trainers.
Meanwhile, he also expressed optimism over “turning a new page” in EU-Turkey relations, heralding the fact that the relaxation in visa rules for Turkish citizens traveling in the EU would be completed in between six and nine months.