Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday vowed never to forget Turkey’s downing of one of Moscow’s warplanes, as he lashed out once again at the leadership in Ankara over the incident. “We will not forget this complicity with terrorists. We always considered and will always consider treachery to be the ultimate and lowest act. Let those in Turkey who shot our pilots in the back know this,” Putin told lawmakers in his annual state of the nation address.
Moscow and Ankara have been locked in a furious war of words over Turkey’s downing of a Russian plane along its border with Syria on November 24, with Moscow accusing leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan of profiting from the oil trade with Islamic State jihadists. “We know for example who in Turkey fills their pockets and allows terrorists to make money from the stolen oil in Syria,” Putin said.
“It is precisely with this money that the bandits recruit mercenaries, buy arms and organise inhuman terrorist acts aimed against our citizens, the citizens of France, Lebanon, Mali and other countries.” Russia has announced sanctions against Ankara banning the import of some Turkish food and reintroducing visas for visitors from the country, and Putin insisted Turkey would be made to regret its actions.
“We will not rattle our sabres. But if someone thinks that after committing heinous war crimes, the murder of our people, it will end with tomatoes and limitations in construction and other fields, then they are deeply mistaken,” Putin said. “We will not stop reminding them of what they did and they will not stop regretting their actions.”
Putin said that given a push to improve relations with Ankara in recent years, Moscow did not understand why its rival in the Syria war had downed its jet. “Only Allah, most likely, knows why they did this. And evidently Allah decided to punish the ruling clique in Turkey by depriving them of their intelligence and reason.”