GROZNY, December 29. /TASS/. Chechnya head Ramzan Kadyrov has said that Turkey did not have any reasons to down the Russian Su-24 bomber in Syria.
"Turkey did not have any reason to down the jet but had dozens of possibilities not to allow this to happen. As a result, they spoiled their relations with Russia and achieved nothing else," Kadyrov told journalists in Grozny.
"Turkey acted vilely when it downed our jet, and the pilot whom they killed was ours as well. A total of 26 million Muslims live in Russia, and this vile act was committed against us as well," the Chechen leader noted adding that Turkey is a secular state by the Constitution, and there are also many Christians living in the country.
"Much more in Russia is in line with Islamic canons than in Turkey," he stressed. "I will also remind that Chechens are the third-largest nationality in the country. We are part of this country and are interested in the stability and well-being of our Motherland," Kadyrov said.
The relations between Moscow and Ankara deteriorated after the Turkish Air Force’s fighter jet 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."
The crew of the Su-24M bomber managed to eject but one of the pilots, Oleg Peshkov, was killed by gunfire from the ground. The second pilot, Konstantin Murakhtin, was rescued and taken to the Russian air base. During the operation to evacuate Su-24M pilots a Mi-8 helicopter was lost. Marine Alexander Pozynich was killed in the operation.
Putin described the downing of the Russian jet that took part in the anti-terrorist operation in Syria and did not present a threat to Turkey as a "stab in the back." He warned about "serious consequences" for Russian-Turkish bilateral relations.
On November 28 Putin signed a decree that suspends employment of Turkish workers starting from January 1, 2016. Also, Russia suspends the visa-free travel agreement with Turkey, imposes bans or restrictions on imports of certain goods. Besides, travel agencies are advised against selling holiday packages to Turkey. The government is instructed to tighten control over activities of Turkish haulage companies with the goal of ensuring security within Russia.