Turkish President Erdoğan: No reason to target Russia

Turkish President Erdoğan: No reason to target Russia

Turkish President Erdoğan: No reason to target Russia

AA Photo

Turkey has no reason to target Russia – a country with whom it has strong relations – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Nov. 26, two days after Turkish jets shot down a Russian military plane near the Syrian border.

“The plane was shot down within the rules of engagement announced previously,” Erdoğan said at a meeting in Ankara. 

“The nationality of the plane was unknown at the time of the incident. We do not have any reason to target Russia with whom we have strong relations,” he said, adding that it is one thing to not agree with Russia on Syrian policies and another to activate the rules of engagement.

Erdoğan also dismissed Russia’s accusations that Turkey was buying oil from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which controls parts of Syria and Iraq. 

“The ones who claim that we buy oil this way from Daesh are obligated to prove their claim,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIL.         

“Daesh sells the oil they drill to [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad. To Assad. Talk these over with the al-Assad you support,” Erdoğan said, in a reference to Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev’s accusations.  

The Turkish president also accused Russia of not fighting ISIL in Syria.

“The purpose of those only attacking the moderate opposition in Syria in the name of the ‘anti-Daesh fight’ is obvious,” he said.  

“If one looks for the weaponry and financial power of Daesh, the first place one should look at is the al-Assad regime … There is almost no country besides Turkey which fights against the organization called Daesh seriously.”