Ankara tries to reduce the tension with Moscow

Ankara tries to reduce the tension with Moscow

Ankara, November 26, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Manolis Kostidis

Lavrov spoke of a premeditated provocation

After the shooting down of the russian fighter jet SU-24, Ankara is trying to reduce tension and to restrain the anger of Russia, which speaks of a possible “premeditated provocation”.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that the “Turkish air force did not know that the fighter jet that was shot down belonged to Russia”, in contrast with  Tuesday’s announcement immediately after the interception of the aircraft where the president spoke of a “Russian fighter jet”.

However on Wednesday afternoon a convoy of 20 trucks carrying humanitarian aid to the region was hit in the region Azez of Syria by air strikes. The area is located a few kilometers from the Turkish border. Turkish media is talking about bombing by russian planes.

Ankara speaks of a possible meeting with Lavrov, who denies it

Foreign Minister of Turkey, Mevlut Çavuşoğlu, who was appointed on Tuesday after the announcement of the members of the new government, called the Russian Foreign Minister and expressed his condolences for the incident. According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the two ministers agreed to hold a meeting in the coming days, but the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that no such meeting has been scheduled and that “the Russian minister did not agree on any of the many proposals to meet”. Sergei Lavrov Lavrov argued that perhaps the shooting down of the aircraft was a premeditated provocation by Turkey.

“We have serious doubts that this act was not intentional. It looks very much like a premeditated provocation”, said the head of the russian diplomacy, and stressed that Ankara did not make contact through the appropriate channels with Russia on the events.

Moscow: There was no violation of turkish airspace

Moscow continues to support that there was no violation of the turkish airspace. Even the turkish version of the incident, however, shows that the shooting down of the Russian aircraft was a political decision that had been taken earlier. According to the data provided by Turkey to NATO, two SU-24 approached the Turkish border at a distance of 10 miles, and from that moment began the warnings of militant Turkish aviation. The turkish F-16 shot down a Russian fighter after it had violated the turkish airspace for just 17 seconds, a fact which naturally infuriates the Russians. The second pilot of the russian fighter jet that was shot down by Turkey, who was rescued, said according to Russian media that the aircraft had not received any warnings from Turkish Air Force before downing it.

According to Russian media he claimed that the russian fighter jet did not violate the Turkish airspace. However, the Turkish Air Force has published an audio version in which can be heard the pilots of two F-16 warning the Russian fighter before shooting it down.

“Turkey supports the jihadists”

Moscow’s accusations do not stop just at the level of the downing of the aircraft. The Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev accused Ankara of supporting the Islamic State and claimed that some “Turkish officials have a direct financial interest in the oil trade of ISIS». He went so far as to declare that “the Turkish actions constitute a de facto protection of the Islamic State”.

Palmyra’s looters were arrested in Turkey!

Turkish newspapers reveal that the men of the Turkish gendarmerie have arrested a looters circuit in the city of Elazig in eastern Turkey, which moved ancient statues and vases from the ancient city of Palmyra, which is destroyed this period by the Islamic State!

Turkmen: “Turkey supports us in every way”

However, despite the rising tension, the Russian fighters continue to pound the positions of the Turkmen in Syria and reportedly the bombings are more intense than the previous day. The head of Turkmens in Syria, who lives in Turkey, in the interview with the newspaper Hürriyet confessed that Turkey sends any kind of assistance to the Syrian Turkmen. To the question “have you received trucks with weapons from Turkey”, he replied stressing that “this is an international war crime. I can’t tell you. But I can say that it sends us every kind of assistance”. The Turkmen fight against the forces of Assad.

Concern for the future of economic relations

After the outbreak of the crisis in Ankara there have been concerns as to what will happen in trade relations with Moscow. According to official figures, Turkey buys from Russia 55% of its needs for natural gas and pays about 12 billion US dollars. Everyone agrees that despite the crisis Moscow would not reduce the supply of gas as they will lose significant revenues. Ankara however is already working on market scenarios from other countries such as Iran and Azerbaijan. 48% of electricity in Turkey is produced by natural gas units.

On Tuesday, Erdogan’s son-in-law Verat Albayrak took Turkey’s Energy Ministry in the new Ahmet Davutoglu government.

Fears for tourism

The president of the Association of Hoteliers of Turkey Osman Ayik is concerned about the lack of Russian tourists and stresses that the Russian market is the largest after Germany. “Four million tourists from Russia arrive every year and this is an important market for us”.

One important area that Russia is dependent on Turkey is for fruits and vegetables after the European embargo due to developments in Ukraine, with Moscow currently being supplied by the Turkish companies.

Also significant is the presence of Turkish construction companies, which control 19.4% of the Russian construction market and jut in 2015 they undertook projects worth USD 4 billion. Possible sanctions from Moscow are expected to affect these companies.

Turkish clothing and furniture companies have 700 offices in Russia.

Uncertain remains the future Akkuyu nuclear power plant, which were planned to be completed in 2020 and already the project completion has been postponed for 2022.