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Moscow does not plan to interfere in fate of Erdogan - Putin

November 27, 2015, 3:22 UTC+3
He said he regrets the Turkish authorities "thoughtlessly and stupidly" destroyed an unprecedented level of cooperation with Russia reached for the past 10 years
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© EPA/ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/POOL

MOSCOW, November 27. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday Moscow does not plan to interfere in the fate of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"It’s absolutely none of our business, it’s the concern of the Turkish people," Putin said at a news conference after talks with his French counterpart Francois Hollande when asked if the Turkish president should step down.

He said he regrets the Turkish authorities "thoughtlessly and stupidly" destroyed an unprecedented level of cooperation with Russia reached for the past 10 years.

In an interview with French TV channel France 24, Erdogan said his country "never had such trade [in oil] with terrorist organizations." "If the Russian side proves that, Tayyip Erdogan will resign, it’s a matter of honor," he said.

"We have never interfered in that and are not going to do that," the Russian leader said.

"It’s a great pity that the unprecedented level of our interstate relations that has been reached with Turkey over the past 10 years… we considered Turkey not only a neighbor but a friendly state, nearly an ally.. is so thoughtlessly and stupidly being destroyed," Putin said.

The Turkish Air Force’s F-16 fighter on Tuesday shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber that Ankara claims violated the country’s airspace on the border with Syria. The Su-24M crew ejected but one of the two pilots was killed by fire from the ground. The second pilot was rescued as a result of a 12-hour operation. During evacuation of the Su-24M crew, a Mi-8 helicopter was lost and a contract marine was killed.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said the Su-24M was above Syrian territory and "there was no violation of Turkey’s airspace." It said the Turkish Air Force fighter violated Syria’s airspace.

To protect Russian aircraft in Syria, state-of-the-art S-400 air defense systems, whose killing range reaches 400 kilometers, were redeployed to the Khmeimim airbase. Besides, the Russian missile cruiser Moskva equipped with the Fort air defense system (sea version of S-300) approached the Syrian coast.

Russia’s Defense Ministry warned that Russian strike aircraft will be escorted by fighters during sorties, while all potentially dangerous targets will be destroyed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that Turkey’s attack will have "serious consequences" for Russian-Turkish relations.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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