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Vladimir Putin swears to make Turkey regret plane downing

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday vowed Turkey's leadership would be made to regret the downing of one of Moscow's warplanes.



Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday vowed Turkey's leadership would be made to regret the downing of one of Moscow's warplanes as the top diplomats from both countries held their first high-level meeting since the incident.

Moscow announced a halt to talks on a major gas pipeline with NATO member Ankara as Putin fired another salvo in their war of words, while Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan shot back by claiming he had "proof" Russia was involved in illegal oil trading with the Islamic State group.

Turkey has become Moscow's prime international sparring partner after it shot down a Russian jet on its border with Syria on November 24 -- sparking fury and economic sanctions from the Kremlin.

Erdogan's claims of Russian complicity with IS mirror allegations made by Moscow against Turkey and its leader in recent days.

"We will not forget this complicity with terrorists. We always considered and will always consider treachery to be the ultimate and lowest act. Let those in Turkey who shot our pilots in the back know this," Putin told lawmakers in his annual state of the nation speech, which also focused on Russia's air strikes in Syria.

Russia has accused Erdogan and his family of personally profiting from the oil trade with IS, which controls a large chunk of Syrian territory including many oil fields.

"We know for example who in Turkey fills their pockets and allows terrorists to make money from the stolen oil in Syria," Putin said.

"It is precisely with this money that the bandits recruit mercenaries, buy arms and organise inhuman terrorist acts aimed against our citizens, the citizens of France, Lebanon, Mali and other countries."

The latest furious exchange comes as the two countries' top diplomats met for the first face-to-face meeting between the two sides since the plane incident.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed to talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on the sidelines of a conference in Belgrade after Putin on Monday snubbed Erdogan at the UN climate summit in Paris.

There appears, however, little chance that the two sides will lower the tone as the two strongmen insist the other should apologise over the incident.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday accused Moscow of running a "Soviet propaganda machine".

"There was a Soviet propaganda machine in the Cold War era," Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara.

"They were called Pravda lies," he said, referring to the daily newspaper that was the mouthpiece of the Communist Party. 

From Zee News

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