‘Turkey will regret jet shooting more than once’

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DOHA (Al Jazeera): Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Turkey it will “more than once” regret shooting down the Russian bomber jet near the Syrian-Turkish border.

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Delivering his annual state of the nation address on Thursday, Putin said Russia will not ignore what he described as Turkey’s “aiding of terrorists,” adding that the November shooting down of the Sukhoi Su-24 was a “treacherous war crime.”

Putin also called for a broad international front against terrorism, an end to what he called double standards and halting any backing of what he called “terror groups.”

“We are not planning to engage in military saber-rattling [with Turkey],” Putin said.

“But if anyone thinks that having committed this awful war crime, the murder of our people, that they are going to get away with some measures concerning their tomatoes or some limits on construction and other sectors, they are sorely mistaken.”

Moscow has already responded with measures including bans on some Turkish fruit and vegetables, and in his icy remarks Putin made clear that would not be the end of it.

“It appears that Allah decided to punish the ruling clique of Turkey by depriving them of wisdom and judgment,” Putin said.

He harshly criticized Turkey, accusing it of buying oil from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

“We are fighting for justice, happiness and the entire future of our civilization. We have to be prepared and we have to defeat them [terrorists]before they get here that’s why we launched this operation in Syria.”

Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, said: “Putin’s speech echoed statements by US President George Bush after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

“Notably his emphasis on terrorism and fighting terrorism in a world full of terrorism, underlines the attack on Russian values, and makes it clear the likes of Turkey are either with Russia or with the terrorists.

“He didn’t give any signal of backing down. He seemed to be escalating the war of words with Turkey and other Russia detractors in Europe and the Middle East.”

Putin’s comments came a day after Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said he was ready to meet his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines of a two-day Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) conference in Belgrade.

Later on Thursday, Lavrov met with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu. But he said he heard “nothing new” about the downing of the Russian plane.

Russia has escalated its dispute with Turkey by claiming to have evidence that proves President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his family are benefiting from the illegal smuggling of oil from territory held by ISIL.

TNS

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