A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened an economic retaliation against Turkey, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is said to have requested a meeting with Putin in Paris on the sidelines of the Global Climate Summit.
Erdogan’s request has finally put an end to the war of words which has been on between the two countries since Turkey downed Russian plane Sukhoi Su-24 in the Turkey-Syria border area, three days ago.
Turkey is likely to call for calm as the economic retaliations of Russia would significantly affect the Turkish economy, but an apology is not expected as they plead ‘not guilty’.
“A proposal from the Turkish side about a meeting at the level of heads of state has been delivered to the president,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on a conference call on Friday. “That’s all I can say.”
Following Russia President Vladmir Putin’s threat of economic retaliation on Turkey and report that his country had not received any apology from Turkish leaders, the President of Turkey Tayyip Erdogan has said on Thursday “at this point, there are some threats — ‘Joint projects may be halted, ties could be cut’? Are such approaches fitting for politicians to adopt such a stance? First of all, politicians and military delegations need to sit down and talk about this issue. And afterwards, the mistakes should be mutually recovered. If we make emotional statements rather than doing this, it would be unfitting.”
Russia’s defence ministry has already suspended all cooperation with the Turkish military including a hotline set up to share information about air strikes in Syria. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered his government to draw up measures that would include freezing some joint investment projects and restricting food imports from Turkey.
After holding talks with French President Francois Hollande in Moscow on Thursday, Putin said that he will co-operate with the US-led coalition in its fight against IS. But, he cautiously warned that it would be in peril, if there are any repeats of Turkish action.
“I will repeat, because we thought Turkey was a friendly state and simply did not expect any attacks on this side. This is why we consider this hit treacherous” said Putin.
Later on Thursday, Turkey released audio recordings of what it says are the Turkish military’s warnings to the pilot of the Russian plane that was shot down at the border with Syria. The recordings indicate that the plane was warned several times over approaching Turkey’s airspace and asked to change course.
One of the two Russian pilots was killed by militants in Syria after ejecting from the plane, while his crewmate was rescued by Syrian army commandos. The surviving pilot has denied that his jet veered into Turkey’s airspace and rejected Turkey’s claim that it had issued repeated warnings to the Russian crew, before downing the aircraft.
Speaking in televised comments from the Russian base in Syria, the surviving navigator of the downed plane, Capt Konstantin Murakhtin, maintained the plane did not enter the Turkish airspace “even for a single second.”
In an escalating war of words following the crash of of Su-24 , Russia accused Turkey of buying oil from Islamic State in Syria. To this, Erdogan responded by accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his backers, which include Moscow, of being the real source of the group’s financial and military power.
Tuesday’s shoot down was the first time in half a century that a NATO member shot down a Russian plane.
World leaders have already urged both sides to avoid escalation of tension. UN chief Ban Ki-moon voiced hope that all countries involved in air campaigns in Syria would take steps to avoid such incidents in the future.
(With inputs from news agencies)