21-11-2018 10:45 PM Jerusalem Timing

Lavrov Rules out War Action on Turkey, Says Downing Su24 pre-Planned Provocation

Lavrov Rules out War Action on Turkey, Says Downing Su24 pre-Planned Provocation

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed on Wednesday that the attack on Russia’s Su-24 warplane looks like a pre-planned provocation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey LavrovRussian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed on Wednesday that the attack on Russia’s Su-24 warplane looks like a pre-planned provocation.

"We have serious doubts that this act was unintentional. It looks very much like a preplanned provocation," Lavrov said, citing Turkey’s failure to maintain proper communication with Russia through the abundance of footage of the incident and other evidences.

Earlier in the day, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu slammed Russia for what he called "attacks on Turkmen" in Syria, which according to Ankara preceded the incident with the downed Su-24.

The Russian FM responded to Davutoglu stating that the region where the incident happened is not just home to Turkmen people. There are also hundreds of foreign fighters affiliated with known terrorist groups and elements of their infrastructure such as weapons depots and command points there, he said.

He noted the downing of the Russian warplane occurred shortly after a series of airstrikes on terrorist oil convoys and facilities by the Russian Air Force. The incident "sheds new light" on the issue, according to the Russian foreign minister.

Lavrov revealed that his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu called him to offer condolences with regard to the plane’s crash and to claim that Ankara didn’t know it was downing a Russian plane.

The Russian diplomat, moreover, criticized NATO for failing to express condolences to Russia over the loss of its troops lives.

"Very strange statements were voiced after a NATO meeting called by the Turks, which didn’t express any regret or condolences and in effect were aimed at covering up what the Turkish Air Force did yesterday," Lavrov said. "A similar reaction came from the European Union."

Lavrov reiterated the statements of the Russian Defense Ministry, which denied Ankara’s allegations that the Russian warplane had violated Turkish airspace.

He added that even if Turkey’s words were taken on face value, its actions contradict its own position expressed in 2012, after Syria took down a Turkish military plane. At the time, then-Prime Minister Erdogan told the Turkish parliament that a short incursion into another nation’s airspace cannot justify an attack on it.

Russia’s relations with Syria will change after the attack on the Russian plane, Lavrov said, adding that Turkey, which is now calling for dialogue, should have done more to communicate with Russia prior to and right after the incident.

Moscow will measure its response to limit the harm done to Turkish and Russian businessmen, who had nothing to do with the incident, and would decide on a proper action, Lavrov said.

"We cannot fail to react to what happened. Not because we must retaliate. It’s just that there are too many issues in Turkey that pose a direct terrorist threat to our citizens. And not only ours," he said.

After canceling his planned visit to Istanbul, Lavrov said that Moscow doesn’t intend to send any senior officials to Turkey or receive any senior Turkish officials. At the same time, phone channels remain open, as evidenced by the call with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

The Russian minister said there was a question of American involvement in the downing of the Russian plane. According to his sources, Washington demands all members of the UL-led anti-ISIL coalition, who use US-made military aircraft, to coordinate all deployments with the US military.

"I wonder if this demand of the Americans covers… Turkey. If it does, I wonder whether Turkey asked permission from the US to fly its US-made planes and take down – let’s say 'an unidentified' – plane over Syrian territory," Lavrov said.

Furthermore, Lavrov said that Moscow was not planning on going to war against Turkey after Ankara's attack.

"We do not plan to go to war with Turkey, our attitude toward the Turkish people has not changed," Lavrov told reporters, but warned that Moscow would "seriously reevaluate" its ties with Ankara.

A Su-24 Russian warplane was downed by the Turkish air force on the Syrian side of Syria-Turkey border on Tuesday.