Vladimir Putin has warned Turkey there will be ‘serious consequences’, after the Turkish airforce downed a Russian jet this morning.
According to The Independent the Russian President repeated his military’s claim the Su-24 plane was operating inside Syrian airspace, although the Turkish armed forces claim it had crossed into Turkey.
Mr Putin told a press conference:
Today’s loss is a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists. Our pilots and our plane never threatened Turkey in any way – this was an obvious fact. They were conducting an operation to fight Isis.
Today’s tragic event will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations. We have always treated Turkey not only as a close neighbour but as a friendly state.
I don’t know in whose interests today’s incident is but it’s not in our interest.
Mr Putin also implied that Turkey were supporting ISIS, by giving militants indirect protection.
Francois Hollande is due to meet Barack Obama today to discuss the possibly of a wider coalition of nations fighting against Islamic State. President Hollande was going to urge the U.S to include Russia in the alliance, but that looks increasingly unlikely now.
And the ‘serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations’ seems to be under way already. Reports say the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has just now cancelled a visit to Turkey tomorrow, and advised Russians not to visit the country because of ‘terror threats’.
On top of that, one of the largest travel agencies in Russia has announced it will be stopping package tours to Turkey from tomorrow – according to The Independent, around 4.5 million Russians visited Turkey in the last year. That’s 12 per cent of all tourists who came to the country, a figure second only to Germany.