(From ITAR-TASS and RT)
Accusations of purchasing oil from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist grouping made against Turkey are immoral, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Ankara.
Turkey is not so dishonest that it could buy oil from terrorists, Erdogan said, adding that if testimonies to such purchases are found, he will quit the presidential office.
“If evidence of this kind is found, let those who find it present it,” Erdogan said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier noted that Russia has grounds to suspect that the Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces was downed to secure illegal oil deliveries from Syria to Turkey.
Answering a question on whether Moscow wants to form a broad anti-terrorist coalition, Putin said: “We always supported this.” “However, this cannot be done while someone continues to use several terrorist organizations to reach their immediate goals,” he added.
The Russian president stressed that financial support to terrorists in Syria continues. “We have recently received additional reports that confirm that that oil from IS-controlled territories is delivered to the territory of Turkey on an industrial scale,” Putin noted.
“We have all grounds to suspect that the decision to down our plane was motivated by the intention to secure these routes of delivering oil to ports where it is loaded on tankers,” he said.
“Defending Turkmen is just a pretext,” Putin noted.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem last week suggested that US Secretary of State John Kerry should check out reports on the involvement of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son in illegal oil trade with the Islamic State.
“I’d like to mention rumors that Erdogan’s son could be involved in illegal oil trade with the IS, although there are no proofs. If I was in Kerry’s place, I’d make an attempt to shed light on these reports,” Muallem said commenting on Kerry’s statements that Damascus was buying oil from terrorists.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also touched upon the topic.
According to the Russian minister, the United States could not have been unaware of the scale of the Islamic States’ oil industry but preferred to spare it.
“Everything is a matter of practice. Let us operate with facts. There have been many reports that god knows who is living off the oil wells illegally seized by the Islamic State,” Lavrov said.
Remains of pilot arrive
The plane bearing the remains of pilot Oleg Peshkov, which flew in from Ankara, landed at the Chkalovsky military airfield outside Moscow on Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
It was greeted by Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu and Head of Russian Aerospace Forces Victor Bondarev. The brother of Peshkov was also present, RT correspondent Ilya Petrenko reported from the scene.
“During the flight over Russian airspace, the plane was accompanied by an escort of fighters,” the ministry said in a statement.
“We will always follow his example of fulfilling his duty. And those who plotted and committed this betrayal will suffer the retribution they deserve,” Victor Bondarev said, as cited by RIA Novosti.
The repatriation of the body was arranged after a military funeral service attended by the Russian ambassador and other military officials, Reuters reports.
Oleg Peshkov had a wife and two children. He will be buried in his home town of Lipetsk in the west of Russia.