By Reuters and VICE News
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a State of the Nation address that Turkey would regret “more than once” shooting down a Russian bomber jet near the Syrian-Turkish border last week, and declared retaliatory sanctions would get much stricter.
His angry warnings came shortly after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey was doing everything it could to control its border with Syria, including setting up “physical barriers” along the 61 mile stretch of land adjoining Islamic State (IS)-held territory.Speaking at a news conference before leaving for an official visit to Azerbaijan, Davutoglu said Turkey was working with partners from the US-led anti-IS coalition to remove the jihadists from the Syrian side of the border. President Barack Obama and other senior US officials have voiced frustration in recent days at lingering gaps in security on Turkey’s border.
Russia’s rhetoric only deepened with Putin’s annual state of the nation address shortly afterwards. “If anyone thinks that having committed this awful war crime, the murder of our people, that they are going to get away with some measures concerning their tomatoes or some limits on construction and other sectors, they are sorely mistaken,” the Russian leader told the Federal Assembly at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow. “We will remind them what they did more than once. And they will regret what they did more than once.”
Related: Why The Hell Did Turkey Shoot Down a Russian Fighter Jet?
Minutes after Putin had finished speaking, his energy minister, Alexander Novak, said Russia was halting talks with Ankara on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, a symbolic move designed to emphasise the strength of Kremlin anger.
It was also reported by RIA news agency that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would meet his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday on the sidelines of an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe meeting in Belgrade.
On Wednesday, Russia’s defense ministry said it had proof that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his family were benefiting from the illegal smuggling of oil from IS-held territory, showing press satellite images at a Moscow briefing. The images purportedly showed columns of tanker trucks loading with oil at installations controlled by IS in Syria and Iraq, and then crossing the border into neighbouring Turkey.
Moscow and Ankara have been locked in a war of words since the Turkish air force jet shot down the Russian warplane last week, in what was the most serious incident between Russia and a NATO state in half a century.
Davutoglu dismissed the oil allegations as “Soviet-style propaganda” on Thursday. “In the Cold War period there was a Soviet propaganda machine. Every day it created different lies,” he told a news conference before leaving on an official visit to Azerbaijan. “Firstly they would believe them and then expect the world to believe them. These were remembered as Pravda lies and nonsense. This was an old tradition but it has suddenly reared its head again. Nobody attaches any value to the lies of this Soviet-style propaganda machine.”
Related: ‘Right Now They’re Measuring Dicks, and That’s Very Dangerous': The Putin vs. Erdogan Strongman Contest
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By Reuters and VICE News