Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, has said he would be ready to quit office if allegations by his Russian counterpart that Turkey traded oil with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group were proved.
Erdogan’s comments on Monday came after Vladimir Putin accused Turkey of shooting down the Russian Su-24 warplane last week to protect supplies of oil from ISIL to Turkey.
Turkey has already rejected the accusation.
“I will say something very strong here,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency on the sidelines of the UN climate talks near Paris, which Putin is also attending.
“If such a thing is proven, the nobility of our nation would require that I would not stay in office.”
Challenging Putin, who has refused to meet Erdogan after the November 24 incident in Yamadi, in Syria’s Latakia province, Erdogan said: “And I tell Mr Putin: Would you stay in that office? I say this clearly.”
In the interview, Erdogan said: “Let’s remain patient and let’s not act emotionally.”
He maintained that Turkey obtained all its oil and gas imports “through the legal path”.
“We are not dishonest so as to do this kind of exchange with terrorist groups,” he said.
“Everyone needs to know this.”
After the Su-24 was downed by Turkish F-16 fighter jets for alleged violation of Turkish airspace, Putin accused the Turks of being “accomplices of terrorists” and said oil from ISIL territory was being exported through Turkey.