Turkey will not respond to Putin’s ‘insulting’ remarks

Prime minister backs out of latest round in war of words which saw Putin resort to jibes about the US and Islam.

Putin has warned of a "creeping Islamisation of Turkey that would have Ataturk rolling in his grave" [EPA]
Putin has warned of a "creeping Islamisation of Turkey that would have Ataturk rolling in his grave" [EPA]

Turkey will not officially respond to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest remarks on Ankara’s downing of a Russian jet in which he called the act “hostile”, according to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Local media reported the Turkish official as saying he does not take Putin’s latest statements seriously as he labelled them as “undiplomatic and insulting”.

READ MORE: Turkish-Russian economic ties down but not out

The Turkish rebuttal came as Davutoglu returned from a meeting in Brussels with eight EU leaders where the refugee crisis, counterterrorism and the war in Syria were discussed.

On Thursday, Putin escalated the rhetoric by saying that Turks had decided to “lick the Americans in a certain place” as he accused of a “creeping Islamisation of Turkey that would have Ataturk rolling in his grave”.

Davutoglu said: “Perhaps he’s reminiscing about his old KGB days. But the KGB is long gone. The era of Soviet-style propaganda is history. With every statement he makes, the world mocks it sarcastically. We cannot take it seriously.”

War of words

Tensions between the countries soared on November 24, when Turkey – which receives a significant portion of its energy from Russia – shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border for violating Turkish airspace, a charge Moscow denies.

Since then, the two nations have been locked in a war of words.

Putin holds annual press conference

“I don’t think this war of words will go on for very long,” Matthew Bryza, a non-executive board member at Turcas Petrol AS, a Turkish company, and the ex-ambassador to Azerbaijan, told Al Jazeera on Saturday.

“I think the Turkish government understands that Putin realises he is wrong,” he said, adding that while the Russian leader has called the November 24 event “hostile”, he has stopped short of terming it an act of war.

“[Putin] was humiliated in the shootdown but he has to look strong at home… He has been shown that if you poke Turkey and NATO in the eye, bad things happen,” said Bryza, who is also former deputy assistant of the US secretary of state for the South Caucasus.

“I think this [combative rhetoric] is going to fade away. It already has on the Turkish side, they have been more restrained.”

He added that it was likely that the Syrian conflict and Turkey’s ties with Israel will take centre stage in the weeks ahead.

Israel and Turkey reached a preliminary agreement to normalise relations, including the return of one another’s ambassadors to both countries, an Israeli official said on Thursday.

The deal came five years after relations reached a low point for the two countries over a deadly Israeli raid on a ship carrying Turkish activists attempting to break Israel’s blockade on Gaza.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday that negotiations with Israel are “ongoing at the expert level”, while in New York attending international and UN talks on Syria.

Follow Anealla Safdar on Twitter: @anealla

Source: Al Jazeera


More from News
Most Read