Putin started his speech by referring to events that happened a long time ago. That might have struck one as bizarre because he did not make any such claims at the G20 summit in Turkey a month ago. However, the recent downing of a Russian fighter jet by the Turkish Air Force must have made him air the old grievances.
“We remember that it was Turkey that provided safe havens and funding to the militants operating in the northern Caucuses in the late 90s and early 2000s. They are still being spotted there every now and then, by the way. That said, I still regard the Turkish people as kind-hearted, hard-working and talented. And that is why I want them to know that we do not equate them with certain individuals in the Turkish government who are directly responsible for the deaths of our servicemen in Syria. We will never forget their abetting terrorists,” said Putin.
The Russian President then moved on to the incident involving the downing of a Russian fighter jet.
“I do not understand why they did that (shot down the plane - QHA). Any issues or problems they had could have been resolved in an absolutely different way. We were even prepared to discuss issues that were very sensitive to them, including doing things their allies were not willing to do. Only Allah knows why they did that,” said Putin.
The statement was met with a round of applause. Emboldened by the audience’s unanimous support, Putin added:
“Allah must have decided to punish Turkey’s ruling elite by depriving them of rational thinking. However, they are not going to see us get nervous or hysterical and respond in way that is dangerous to the entire world. They must be expecting us to make a great show of our response but that will never happen. We will be acting responsibly before our country and our people”.
Concluding the subject of Russian-Turkish relations, Putin said he was going to avenge the downing of the plane, ruling out the possibility of military confrontation, though.
“We are not going to go brandishing weapons. But if those who committed this base military crime – I mean, killed our people - think they will get away with it by having their tomato-growing, construction or any other industry sanctioned, they are very wrong! We will remind them time and again of what they did. And they will be sorry time and again for what they did. We know what needs to be done,” Putin concluded.