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02/12/2016

Putin and Erdogan in war of words at Paris conference

Global Europe

Putin and Erdogan in war of words at Paris conference

Vladimir Putin at COP21 [The Kremlin]

Turkish President President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said on Monday (30 November) that his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, should resign if he is unable to prove accusations that Islamic State sells oil to Turkey.

Speaking in Paris during the first day of the UN Climate Change Conference, with 140 world leaders, Putin said the reason Turkey downed a Russian warplane last week was that it wanted to protect supplies of oil from Islamic State.

Putin added that the decision to shoot down the plane was a “huge mistake” and that he had not met Erdo?an on Monday, despite them both being in Paris.

“We have received additional data which confirm that Islamic State oil … enters the territory of Turkey,” Putin said. “The decision to shoot down the plane was dictated specifically by a desire to defend supplies.”

Erdo?an also took the floor at COP21, and responded, saying that Putin’s accusations amounted to “slander”. He underlined Turkey’s commitment to fight Islamic State terror in every possible way, saying that he will resign from his post if any oil purchase from Islamic State is proven.

Erdo?an said: “As soon as such a claim is proved, the nobility of our nation requires [me] to do this. […] I will not remain in this post. But I am asking Mr. Putin, would you remain?”

The Turkish President also called on his Russian counterpart to explain Russian purchases of Islamic State oil.

He stated that a Russian-Syrian citizen has been buying oil from Islamic State and then selling it to Assad regime, which he said was also confirmed by US sources. “First they [Russia] should give an account of this,” he added.

Erdo?an also said that Russia’s claim that Turkey bought oil from Daesh terrorist organization is not ‘moral’, adding “such claims have to be proved.”

Further emphasizing that the countries Turkey buys oil from is ‘known’ sources, he said: “We buy from Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Qatar and Nigeria. We won’t accept any other slanders.”

Relations between Russia and Turkey have nosedived since Turkey shot down the Russian bomber near the Syrian-Turkish border on 24 November.

>> Read: Putin calls Turkey ‘accomplices of terrorists’ after Russian jet downing

Turkish officials have said the plane violated Turkish airspace and had been warned repeatedly. Moscow says the aircraft was over Syria, where Russia is carrying out an air campaign to support the forces of President Bashar al-Assad in a four-year-old civil war.

Following the downing of the Russian bomber, jets believed to be Russian also hit a depot for trucks waiting to go through a major rebel-controlled border crossing with Turkey, Bab al-Salam, the head of the crossing said [see photo gallery].

>> Read: Russia and Turkey refuse to back down in row over jet downing

Putin on Saturday signed a decree imposing economic sanctions on Turkey, while Erdo?an has said Turkey will not apologize over the incident.

On Monday Russia said the ban would be mainly of agricultural products and it might expand the sanctions if needed.

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