Fri, October 12, 2012
World > Middle East

Putin to visit Turkey on the heels of plane interception

2012-10-12 01:44:23 GMT2012-10-12 09:44:23(Beijing Time)  SINA English

Russian President Vladimir Putin(L) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan(R)

Putin to visit Turkey December 3: Erdogan

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit Turkey December 3, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday.

He said Putin and he had reached an agreement on the visit in the course of a telephone conversation some four days ago and the two countries’ diplomatic services had named December 3 as a possible date.

He said this was not linked in any way to the incident around the Syrian Airlines jet, which the Turkish Air Force compelled to land in Ankara when it was performing a flight from Moscow to Damascus. The Turks confiscated some pieces of cargo from the jet claiming it could be used for military purposes.

Earlier in the day, Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said Putin’s visit to Turkey might take place December 3.

“The final date will be coordinated by diplomatic channels,” Peskov said.

Syria refutes Turkey’s statements that Syria-bound plane carried munitions

Syrian authorities have accused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of falsehood, as they vehemently refute his statement that the Syrian-bound plane from Russia was carrying a cargo of munitions.

"These accusations are false and groundless," says the Syrian Foreign Ministry statement.

Earlier, the Turkish authorities indicated that the "Syrian Airlines” passenger plane en route from Moscow to Damascus was carrying a cargo of military hardware. The plane was forced to land at the airport in Ankara on Wednesday night. The cargo was confiscated, after which the aircraft was allowed to resume its flight.

On board were 35 passengers, including 17 Russians. Moscow has expressed its concerns over endangering the lives of Russians, and demanded an explanation from the Turkish side in connection with the incident.

Syria plane was carrying Russian-made munitions - Turkish PM

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday a Syrian passenger plane forced to land in Ankara was carrying Russian-made munitions destined for Syria's defence ministry.

Turkish authorities ordered the Syrian Air passenger plane, which was travelling from Moscow to Damascus, to land late on Wednesday after receiving an intelligence tip-off and seized some of its cargo.

The munitions allegedly found in the intercepted plane’s cargo were manufactured in Russia, Erdogan said while speaking at a press conference with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

A Syria Air passenger jet was intercepted in the Turkish airspace and diverted to the international airport in Ankara for inspection. Turkish officials claimed the plane was carrying “non-civilian” cargo.

Russia’s Ambassador in Turkey’s FM over plane interception

Russia’s Ambassador to Ankara visited Turkey’s Foreign Ministry Thursday over the plane interception incident.

On Wednesday, Turkey arrested a Syria-bound passenger plane from Moscow saying it was carrying illegal cargo.

The plane had 17 Russians on board and Moscow expressed its concerns over endangering passengers and sought explanation over the incident.

Turkey hasn’t informed Russian diplomats that there were Russians among the passengers. Istanbul also claims that its police confiscated military equipment cargo from the plane.

Officials in Russia and Syria strongly denied the allegations.


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