Vladimir Putin met with several world leaders at the Climate Change summit held in Paris this week, but he adamantly refused to meet with Turkish President Recep Erdogan. Putin claims yet more intelligence data confirms Turkey’s primary reason for shooting down a Russian fighter jet last week was to protect delivery of significant sums of ISIS-controlled oil being shipped to market through Turkey.
President Erdogan, among Barack Obama’s most enthusiastic international supporters, denounced the accusation, claiming he would resign as his nation’s president if the charges were proven true.
Interestingly, U.S. intelligence sources speaking on condition of anonymity, have already sided with Russia’s claim its fighter jet was shot down inside of Syrian airspace, directly contradicting both Turkey’s claim the jet had flown into its airspace, and Barack Obama’s quick support of what he called Turkey’s right to defend its borders.
President Erdogan had no comment regarding recent Iraqi government indications that Mr. Putin’s claims of Turkey acting on behalf of ISIS interests are valid:
“…there is “no shadow of a doubt” that the Turkish government knows about the oil smuggling operations.“The merchants, the businessmen [are buying oil] in the black market in Turkey under the noses – under the auspices if you like – of the Turkish intelligence agency and the Turkish security apparatus,” – Iraqi MP
The area with the three dollar-sign bags also happens to be where the Russian jet fighter was shot down.
The simmering Putin vs Erdogan conflict was enough to have several world leaders try and smooth over the situation between the two leaders, including both Barack Obama and John Kerry, among others. Mr. Putin is said to have remained polite, though notably quiet during the exchanges, while Erdogan was increasingly defensive of his government’s claimed innocence.
Putin has already imposed economic sanctions and travel bans against Turkey, with promises of more to come.
He has also continued bombing ISIS oil facilities and transport routes, including those along the Syrian/Turkish border.