Ris­ing ten­sions

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY SUZAN FRASER AND VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV

Tur­key, Rus­sia spat over downed jet deep­ens.

A tug-of-war over a Rus­sian war­plane shot down by a Turk­ish fighter jet at the border with Syria es­ca­lated Thurs­day, with Moscow draft­ing a slew of eco­nomic sanc­tions against Tur­key and the Turk­ish pres­i­dent say­ing on a de­fi­ant note that his mil­i­tary is ready to do the same if an­other air in­tru­sion hap­pens.

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin says Rus­sia is ready to co­op­er­ate with the U.S.-led coali­tion fight­ing the Is­lamic State group.

Putin said af­ter talks with French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande that Rus­sia is open to closer co-op­er­a­tion with both France and the U.S.-led coali­tion on se­lect­ing IS tar­gets.

At the same time, he lashed out at the U.S. over the down­ing of a Rus­sian war­plane by Tur­key, say­ing the U.S. should have pre­vented its coali­tion ally Tur­key from making such a move.

The spat with Tur­key re­flected a clash of am­bi­tions of two strong­man lead­ers, nei­ther of whom ap­peared will­ing to back down and search for a com­pro­mise.

Tur­key shot down the Rus­sian Su-24 mil­i­tary jet on Tues­day, in­sist­ing it had vi­o­lated its airspace de­spite re­peated warn­ings. The in­ci­dent marked the first time in half a cen­tury when a NATO mem­ber shot down a Rus­sian plane, rais­ing the threat of a mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion be­tween the al­liance and Moscow.

Putin de­nounced the Turk­ish ac­tion as a “treach­er­ous stab in the back,” and in­sisted that the plane was downed over the Syr­ian ter­ri­tory in vi­o­la­tion of the in­ter­na­tional law.

“Un­til that mo­ment, we haven’t heard a clear apol­ogy from Tur­key’s top po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship, or an of­fer to com­pen­sate for the dam­age or a prom­ise to pun­ish the crim­i­nals who com­mit­ted that crime,” he said in the Krem­lin while re­ceiv­ing cre­den­tials from sev­eral am­bas­sadors. “It gives an im­pres­sion that the Turk­ish lead­er­ship is de­lib­er­ately driv­ing the Rus­sianTurk­ish re­la­tions into a dead­lock, and we re­gret that.”

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan was in no mood to apol­o­gize, and warned that Ankara would act in the same way in case of an­other in­tru­sion.

“Faced with the same vi­o­la­tion to­day, Tur­key would give the same re­sponse,” Er­do­gan said. “It’s the coun­try that car­ried out the vi­o­la­tion which should ques­tion it­self and take mea­sures to pre­vent it from hap­pen­ing again, not the coun­try that was sub­jected to a vi­o­la­tion.”

AP PHOTO

A man puts flow­ers aside pho­tos of Lt. Col. Oleg Peshkov and sailor Alexan­der Pozyn­ich at a mon­u­ment out­side Rus­sian Army Gen­eral Staff head­quar­ters in Moscow, Rus­sia, Thurs­day. Peshkov was a pi­lot of Rus­sian Su-24, which was shot down by Turk­ish air...

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