Putin's adviser: Downing Russian fighter jet work of Gülenists
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULJul 21, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Jul 21, 2016 12:00 am
Russian President Vladimir Putin's foreign policy consultant Alexander Dugin claimed that the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ) created a crisis between Turkey and Russia by downing a Russian fighter jet in late November last year.
"The downing of the jet and killing of the pilot were tools of a geopolitical plot," Dugin said, claiming that the failed coup attempt on July 15 was the joint work of FETÖ and the U.S. "The U.S.'s aim is to sour relations between Moscow and Ankara, who have been bettering relations," he added.
Attending a meeting in Ankara a day before the coup attempt, Dugin had said that a new era is about to dawn in relations between Russia and Turkey that might even surpass previously strained ties between the countries. At the meeting, which former Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputies and ministers attended, Dugin said he expected fundamental changes for the better.
Touching on Turkey's downing of a Russian jet in 2015, the incident that caused relations to deteriorate over the course of several months, Dugin alleged that the killing was exacted by forces trying to have a negative impact on relations between the two countries. He also said that the timing of the recent attack at Istanbul's Atatürk International Airport was significant, as it happened right after Turkey and Russia began the normalization process.
Relations between the two countries hit a low on November last year after Turkish jets downed a Sui Su-24 bomber over the Syrian border for violating Turkish airspace. Ankara provided radar data showing that Russian planes had breached the border while Moscow insists that the Su-24 had not violated Turkish airspace.
Ankara has made several attempts to resolve the crisis with Russia; albeit not warmly received by the Kremlin. In April, then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu offered a face-to-face meeting with Russian leaders to settle the diplomatic row. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Ankara expects a "recovery" in the strained relationship with Russia but warned that the process requires patience as they want an end to "baseless accusations."
After the incident, Moscow announced sweeping sanctions on Turkey that went into effect in January, including bringing an end to visa-free travel and a ban on Turkish food products. Russia also called for its nationals to boycott Turkey as a tourist destination.
Turkey and Russia have differed for years on policy regarding Syria and Ukraine. Turkey has not recognized the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian autonomous Republic of Crimea since 2014 and has repeatedly accused Moscow of supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In late June, Erdoğan had a telephone conversation with Putin, emphasizing the importance of normalizing relations, more than seven months after the jet crisis.Following amicable meetings between Erdoğan and Putin, Turkey and Russia have recently normalized relations to a great extent.
Putin also ordered the lifting of restrictions that banned all Russian citizens from going to Turkey for vacation.