Turkey, Russia hold first high-level talks since plane downing

A Turkish official says the foreign ministers of Turkey and Russia met Thursday on the sidelines of a Europe security meeting, their first high-level bilateral talks since Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet late last month.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in the Serbian capital of Belgrade with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, at a ministerial session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Russian-Turkish relations became strained after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near Turkey’s border with Syria on November 24.

Turkey insists the jet violated Turkish airspace and has refused to apologize for the the incident. Russia, which is carrying out a military campaign in Syria in support of its longtime ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has responded with sanctions against Turkey.

Fighting extremism  

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin used his annual state of the nation address Thursday to call for greater coordination in the fight against extremism in Syria.

Speaking before the Russian Federal Counsel in Moscow, Putin also once again accused Turkey of buying oil from the Islamic State extremist group, a charge rejected by Turkey and the U.S.

“One country can not beat terrorism, especially when the world’s borders are in fact open and the world is facing the relocation of peoples. When terrorists have constant financial support, the threat of terrorism is growing,” he said.

On the downing of the Russian jet, Putin called for a minute of silence for the Russian servicemen who died when the plane went down. He called Turkey’s downing of the jet a “treacherous war crime.”

Source: VOANews.com