Turkey’s actions following its downing of a Russian Su-24 frontline bomber by Turkey over Syria have been humiliating, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview published on Tuesday.
Relations between Moscow and Ankara deteriorated after a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down a Russian aircraft over Syria on November 24. Ankara claimed that it downed the jet because it had violated Turkish airspace. Both the Russian General Staff and the Syrian Air Defense Command have confirmed that the Russian jet never crossed into Turkish airspace.
“Instead of trying to provide us with an explanation for the war crime they committed, that is, for downing our fighter jet that was targeting terrorists, the Turkish government rushed to NATO headquarters seeking protection, which looks quite odd and, in my view, humiliating for Turkey,” Putin told Germany’s Bild newspaper.
The Russian leader added that this issue had nothing to do with Ankara’s NATO membership as nobody had attacked Turkey.
In response to Ankara’s “stab in the back,” as the incident has been described by Putin, Moscow imposed a number of economic measures on Turkey.
“I hope such incidents won’t lead to any large-scale confrontations,” Putin told the newspaper, answering a question on whether there could be a confrontation following Turkey’s downing of a Russian Su-24 and other recent incidents.
“Of course, we all understand that Russia will defend its security interests by all available means in case of threats,” he added.