Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has used a meeting with his Syrian opposite number in Moscow to launch a stinging attack on the Turkish government, which he said had “exceeded acceptable limits” in shooting down a bomber on Tuesday.
“We think it is absolute cynicism if Iraq and Syria’s neighbours declare they support the UN’s decision and say they will take part in an anti-terrorist coalition when in reality they play a double game, and are the terrorists’ secret allies,” he said after his encounter with Walid Muallem.
Muallem said Turkey had territorial ambitions and had been intervening in pursuit of those ambitions.
“We have suffered the last 5 years from Turkish agression in Syria. Erdogan wants to take power in the north of Syria where he continues to support the terrorists of ISIL, al-Nusra et al-Qaeda,” he claimed.
With bilateral relations at a low unseen for decades Turkey’s byzantine wheeling and dealing in the region’s politics has now brought it to face-to-face with an old rival, Russia.
Russian air power is enabling Bashar al-Assad to defy those who want to slice up his country, and Ankara says it has been hitting rebel groups it supports at least as much as it has been hitting ISIL, hardly present in Turkmen north Syria.
Among the new penalties, from January 1 visa requirements will be reintroduced for Turkish nationals living in or visiting Russia.