Russia slaps sanctions on Turkey after downing of jet fighter
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday that Moscow is in the process of taking diplomatic and military measures against Turkey after the downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber, Sputnik reports.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan dismissed the move as “emotional” and “unfitting.”
“Military and diplomatic measures with regard to this crime have already been taken and more will be taken,” Medvedev said during a government meeting on Thursday.
Moscow’s measures against Ankara may affect financial operations, investment projects as well as the work of Turkish companies in Russia.
According to Medvedev, measures taken by Russia will be temporary and depend on the changing Moscow-Ankara relations and international situation.
“[The measures include] the suspension of the implementation of programs of economic cooperation, restrictions on financial transactions and on foreign trade transactions, changes to customs duties, measures in the tourism sector, to affect the tourism sphere, transportation, including transits,” he said.
Authorities are considering the introduction of bans on Turkish companies’ activities in the country.
Russia’s Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev underscored that any possible measures introduced against Turkey by Russia would not contradict WTO norms.
Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor has already announced health and sanitary claims against a Turkish company specializing in poultry production, while the Russian Foreign Ministry recommended tourists to avoid traveling to Turkey.
All military contacts with Turkey have been cut following the downing of Russia’s Su-24 military jet, the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday.
Terrorists at jet crash area killed
Russian and Syrian military have killed terrorists in the search area of the downed Russian Su-24 jet, Konashenkov said.
“The moment our pilot was in safety, the area was heavily bombed by the Russian Air Force and shelled by Syrian government forces artillery,” he said.
The Turkish General Staff denied Russia access to materials related to the downing of the jet adding that they did not release any recording of the radio communications between the pilots.
“In this case, this is just more proof that the audio recording of communication between the Turkish pilots and our crew published by several media outlets is a regular fake.”
Turkey will not apologize: Erdogan
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Ankara will not apologise to Russia for shooting down a Su-24 bomber jet.
“I think if there is a party that needs to apologize, it is not us,” Erdogan told CNN in an interview.
“Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize. Our pilots and our armed forces, they simply fulfilled their duties, which consisted of responding to … violations of the rules of engagement. I think this is the essence.”
If another violation of our aerial border happens, we can respond in the same way,” he said.
The Turkish president said that Ankara acted in line with its sovereign right to respond to threats, claiming that the Russian jet had violated the Turkish airspace.
He responded to Russian accusations that Turkey has been buying oil and gas from Islamic State in Syria 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.
Ankara ‘fails to get its story straight’
Ankara’s version of what transpired when a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down a Russian Su-24 aircraft over Syrian territory is full of major inconsistencies, said Petar Vojinovic, the editor-in-chief of Serbia’s Tango Six website.
Turkey claims that it issued ten warnings in the 17 seconds the Russian plane allegedly spent in Turkish airspace. These facts, as presented by Ankara, do not add up, the expert maintains.
“Instantly attacking a plane that just entered foreign airspace is strange. Furthermore, Russia refuted accusations that” the violation occurred in the first place, Vojinovic told Sputnik Radio.
Moscow said that the Su-24 was flying an anti-IS mission over Syrian territory.
In addition, the rescued navigator of the downed Su-24, Konstantin Murahtin, said the plane did not cross into Turkey and the crew received no audio or visual warnings from Ankara.
“There was no contact. This is why we were keeping our combat course as usual. … If they wanted to warn us, they could have sat on our wing,” he noted.
Vojinovic said:”Even if we imagine that the Russian plane did violate Turkish airspace, as Ankara suggests, it would have been strange to do anything about it.
“Turkey claims that it warned Russian plane ten times. Issuing so many warnings would have taken five minutes. Here lies an inconsistency – they say the violation lasted 17 seconds but they would have spent five minutes issuing warnings,” the expert pointed out.
The expert also stated that there are no universal rules on how to act in case of airspace violations, which happen daily.
‘Turkey ambushed jet to protect terrorists’
The shooting down of the Russian Su-24 bomber was a planned attack and a trap set by the Turkish Air Force, Dr. Mark Galeotti, the Professor of Global Affairs at the New York University, told Radio Sputnik.
By downing the Russian plane, Turkey had two things in mind. First of all, Ankara wanted to assert itself as a powerful regional actor, especially considering Russia’s active participation in Syria.
Second, the Turkish government wanted to protect its allies, whom Russia is currently bombing in Syria, Galeotti said.
S-400 missile defense system deployed
A RIA Novosti correspondent said a Russian S-400 missile defense system has been deployed in Syria Thursday.
The S-400 Triumf next generation surface-to-air missile systems has been deployed to the Hmeymim airbase in Syria where the Russian Aerospace Forces group is stationed.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced the deployment of the S-400 systems on Wednesday, a day after Turkish fighter jets had shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber over Syria.
Russian journalists were targeted
Russian journalists who came under terrorist fire in Syria have said on their return to Russia that the gunmen shelled them intentionally. ITAR-TASS reports.
A group of journalists, including TASS correspondent Alexander Yelistratov and RT reporters Sargon Hadaya and Roman Kosarev, came under fire in Syria on Monday while on the way to the village of al-Dagmashliya, some 20 kilometers from the Turkish border.
During the ascent to Zuaek hill their vehicle was struck by TOW anti-tank missiles, one of them exploded near the car. Kosarev sustained a concussion, and Hadaya and Yelistratov — shrapnel wounds.
“We were fully equipped in accordance with the Geneva Convention with blue bulletproof vests and blue helmets (emblazoned with the word Press — TASS). It was obvious where we are and whom we represent, but we were shelled,” said RT correspondent Roman Kosarev.
According to him, the Syrian military asked the Russian journalists to take off their helmets, because it is precisely they that are the targets. “Militants deliberately fire on journalists,” he noted.
The vehicles that came under fire were carrying a total of 17 journalists, the media representatives said. In addition to the journalists who returned to Moscow, RT cameraman Alexander Zhukov sustained light wounds. Several pieces of shrapnel were removed from his back. “He remained in Syria,” Sagon Hadaya said.
TASS correspondent Alexander Yelistratov noted that the journalists were accompanied by representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry. They were in the first two vehicles. “There were no representatives of the Defense Ministry in the car, under which the missile exploded,” he said.