Turkey seeks face-to-face Russia talks

PM Ahmet Davutoglu says solution to dispute with Moscow is not to raise accusations but to hold direct meetings

Turkey seeks face-to-face Russia talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has offered a face-to-face meeting to Russian leaders to settle the diplomatic row over the Russian warplane recently downed by Turkish jets after it violated Turkey's airspace.

"I call upon Mr. [Vladimir] Putin and all the Russian leadership to handle our issue as we sit face-to-face and talk it over," Davutoglu said.

He was speaking Friday during a visit to the Azerbaijan Diplomacy Academy in the country’s capital, Baku.

Moscow has announced a series of economic sanctions on trade with Turkey and President Putin has accused Turkey of involvement in oil deals with ISIL.

The fallout comes after an intruding Russian SU-24 was shot down on Nov. 24 by Turkish F-16s near the Syrian border after it ignored a total of ten warnings in five minutes.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has challenged Putin and said he will step down if Russian claims that Turkey buys oil from ISIL are proven. He called on Putin to resign if they are not.

Davutoglu expressed his disfavor at the claims by Moscow, saying they will not help find a solution to the dispute.

"Let's not use campaigns against each other that resemble the Cold War era, with claims like 'Turkey supports ISIL', which you did not even mention a fortnight ago," the Turkish prime minister said.

During a press conference Thursday before his plane departed for Azerbaijan, the Turkish premier described the ISIL oil trade claims as lies from a "Soviet propaganda machine".

He reiterated that the crisis posed no problem between Turkish and Russian individuals.

"I am addressing Moscow and all Russian people from here: We do not bear the merest uncertainty, concern or negative feeling towards Russian people. Turks and Russians are two great peoples that shaped the history of Europe and Asia together," he said.

Davutoglu maintained that "honorable people of Turkey" expect respect from "honorable people of Russia".

The premier stressed that Turkey did nothing but applied the rules of engagement by exercising its legitimate right to self-defense against an unidentified plane that entered the Turkish airspace.

"Nobody can blame Turkey for this or wait any apology. We will not apologize for protecting our borders," he added.

Thursday saw the first high-level contact between Ankara and Moscow during a private meeting of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the OSCE summit in the Serbian capital, Belgrade.

Following the meeting, Cavusoglu said Ankara expects a "recovery" in its strained relationship with Russia but warned that the process would require patience as they want an end to "groundless accusations".

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Aralık 2015, 12:47