Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Sunday that the Russian sailors donning shoulder-fired surface-air-missiles during Russia's warship transits on Dec. 4 was provocation and that he wished such an incident did not occur again.
On Dec.4, media outlets took photos of a Russian warship called Caesar Kuniko through its transit by Istanbul via the Bosporus strait -- an internationally significant waterway connecting the Black Sea with the Mediterranean Sea. The cameras captured a Russian soldier on it, holding a missile in the firing position through the ship's passing.
Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu Sunday defined this action as "provocative" and "harassing." He told the reporters that there are certain rules of a ship's passing through Turkish straits and every ship -- whether it is of Russian or any other nationality -- had to abide by them.
"If Turkey perceived any ship's transit as a threat, it will give the necessary reaction. A Russian soldier's showing missile or such a munition system while passing [the Bosporus strait] on a Russian warship is a provocation. We hope this incident is a one-time event, because it is not the right approach."
The Bosporus offers the only passage to the world's oceans for the Russian Black Sea fleet. A World War One-era treaty obliges Turkey to allow all ships to pass during peacetime.
The Turkish Air Force shot down the Russian aircraft that violated Turkish airspace on Nov. 24 after giving 10 warnings. The Turkish military later released a statement, saying that the nationality of the downed warplane was unknown during the warnings. But, since then ties between the two countries have been strained.