Russia 'plans sanctions' against Turkey over jet downing

November 26, 2015, 2:41pm

Article and Map: BBC News

Russia is preparing wide-ranging economic sanctions against Turkey over the downing of one of its jets on the Turkey-Syria border.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the measures could include halting joint investment projects. He said he hoped to get the sanctions drafted within the next two days.

Turkey has released what it says are recordings of warnings to the Russian SU-24 aircraft against violating its airspace. Moscow says the plane was brought down without warning while conducting a bombing raid over Syria on Tuesday.

Speaking at a televised cabinet meeting in Moscow, Mr Medvedev said: "The government has been ordered to work out a system of response measures to this act of aggression in the economic and humanitarian spheres."

He said the focus would be on "introducing limits or bans" on Turkish economic interests in Russia and a "limitation of the supply" of products, including food.

He said tourism, transport, trade, labour and customs as well as "humanitarian contacts" could all be affected.

"The same rules may apply to a whole range of investment projects," he said. "Co-operation on them with Turkey was determined by a high level of trust with that country."

The plane crashed into a mountainside on Syrian soil after being hit by a missile from a Turkish F-16 fighter jet.

Both pilots ejected from the aircraft. One of them was shot dead by Syrian rebels as he parachuted to the ground. The other pilot was rescued during a mission in which another Russian soldier was killed.

Tensions between Turkey and Russia, which back opposing sides in the Syrian civil war, have risen sharply over the incident. The US, the EU and the UN have appealed for calm.

Earlier, President Vladimir Putin said Russia had not received "a clear apology" from Turkish leaders, nor any offer of compensation or promise to "punish the criminals" over the downing of the jet. "One gets the impression that the Turkish leadership is deliberately driving Russian-Turkish relations into a dead-end," he said.

Meanwhile, the Turkish military has released a recording to support its claim that it gave 10 warnings to the Russian plane before shooting at it in Turkish airspace.

"Change your heading south immediately," a recorded voice is heard saying in English. Turkey also said it had tried to rescue the SU-24 bomber's two pilots, and did not know the jet was Russian until it was shot down.

The surviving Russian pilot said on Wednesday no warning had been given by Turkey. Capt Konstantin Murakhtin also stressed that he knew the region "very well" and there was "no way" the jet had been in Turkish airspace "even for a second".

Russia said the pilot was rescued from rebel-held territory in north-eastern Syria in a 12-hour operation involving Russian and Syrian special forces. A Russian marine was killed and a helicopter destroyed by rebels during the operation.

'Diplomacy and de-escalation'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended the action by the country's military, saying "everyone must respect the right of Turkey to protect its borders". He said he did not want to escalate tensions further.

Turkey is a member of Nato. The alliance has backed Turkey's version of events, although it, too, is calling for "diplomacy and de-escalation" to resolve the situation.

Russia has been supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's conflict, while Turkey is a staunch critic.

Russia has been carrying out air strikes against opponents of President Assad since late September. Turkey is part of the US-led coalition against the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.