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Kremlin comments on Erdogan's challenge to reveal evidence of Turkey's purchases of IS oil

December 01, 2015, 13:10 UTC+3
According to presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the information on oil purchases from the Islamic State is necessary to fight the terrorist group, not to find fault with Ergodan
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Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov

Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov

© Ilya Pitalev/TASS

MOSCOW, December 1. /TASS/. Information about Ankara’s oil purchases from the terrorist organization calling itself Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) is crucial to fighting against terrorism, and not finding faults with the Turkish leadership, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, when asked if Moscow would make public evidence at its disposal Ankara had been purchasing crude oil from the Islamic State.

Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that should any such evidence come to the surface, he would be prepared to resign.

"This is not a new statement. In this case it is most important to have information at one’s disposal and to use it in efforts focused mostly not on proving something but on the struggle with terrorism. And this information is being used precisely for the struggle with terrorism," Peskov said without elaborating.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday noted that Russia has grounds to suspect that the Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces was downed to secure illegal oil deliveries from Syria to Turkey.

The Russian president stressed that financial support to terrorists in Syria continues. "We have recently received additional reports that confirm that that oil from ISIL-controlled territories is delivered to the territory of Turkey on an industrial scale," Putin noted.

"We have all grounds to suspect that the decision to down our plane was motivated by the intention to secure these routes of delivering oil to ports where it is loaded on tankers," he said.

"Defending Turkmen is just a pretext," Putin noted.

On the incident with the Russian Su-24 bomber downed in Syria

Turkey used no existing military channels with Russia to prevent the incident with the Russian Su-24 bomber downed in Syria, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The presidential spokesman commented on a proposal by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to open military communication channels with Moscow.

"Military channels between the two countries existed and they were intended to prevent such a tragedy that took place [with the Russian Su-24 bomber]," Peskov said.

"These channels failed to work and not through the fault of the Russian side," the Kremlin spokesman added.

This happened "intentionally or unintentionally," Peskov said.

"As we see, the circumstances of the incident show that most likely no one was going to use the channels that existed at that time," Peskov said.

The Russian military have now suspended their contacts with Turkey, the Kremlin spokesman said.

"I’m unprepared to talk on this issue so far," Peskov said in reply to a question about the possibility of resuming military contacts with Turkey.

An F-16 fighter jet from the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian Su-24M bomber on November 24. Ankara claims the Su-24M bomber violated the Turkish air space in the area of the border with Syria.

However, Russia’s Defense Ministry has said the Su-24M plane stayed exclusively over the Syrian territory and "there was no violation of the Turkish air space."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the attack on the bomber will have "serious consequences" for the Russian-Turkish relations. According to Putin, the Turkish Air Force’s attack on the Russian combat plane that took part in the operation against terrorists in Syria and posed no threat to Turkey is a "stab in Russia’s back."

The crew of the Su-24M bomber managed to eject but one of the pilots was killed by gunfire from the ground. The second pilot was rescued and taken to the Russian air base. The rescue operation involved two Mi-8 helicopters. One of the helicopters came under fire and made a crash landing and a contract soldier was killed. The helicopter’s other personnel were evacuated to a safe place. The Mi-8 helicopter damaged by gunfire was subsequently destroyed by mortar fire from the territory controlled by militants.

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