Turkey calls for open communications with Russia

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ANKARA

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday called on Russia to “open communication channels” to ease relations after a Russian jet was shot down last week.

Speaking at Esenboga International Airport in Ankara before leaving for Northern Cyprus, Davutoglu said: “We call on Russia to open military communications channels”.

He said that diplomatic channels should also be opened to prevent a large-scale crisis.

Regarding a Russian claim that Turkey buys oil from Daesh, the prime minister suggested the allegation was designed to “cover up the violation of Turkish airspace”.

He added: “The Syria crisis is not a Turkish-Russian crisis. It is not even a Russia-NATO crisis. But, unfortunately, due to this continuing attitude, it has turned into a crisis between Turkey and Russia”.

Further defending the Nov. 24 downing of a Russian SU-24 after it violated Turkish airspace, Davutoglu said: “Turkey only defended its airspace”.

The incident, in which one of the pilots was killed, has led to heightened tension between Turkey and Russia, with President Vladimir Putin announcing economic sanctions.

Diyarbakir shootings

About the assassination of Diyarbakir Bar Association President Tahir Elci Saturday that also left two police officers dead, Davutoglu said: “The responsibility [for the incident] lies with the PKK, which viciously attacked the policemen”.

He criticized Peoples’ Democratic Party leader Selahattin Demirtas, who claimed on Monday that a bullet fired by the police, not the assailants took Elci’s life.

“If Demirtas has something to say, he should talk to the traitors, terrorists, who opened fire at the crime scene investigation team and bar representatives,” Dautoglu said, adding that the investigation into the incident was nearly complete.

Elci, 49, was shot dead in Diyarbakir’s Sur district shortly after speaking at a press briefing. A police officer was also killed when gunmen opened fire from a car near the gathering. Another police officer, who was injured in the attack, later succumbed to his injuries and died at a hospital.

Thousands of people gathered for Elci’s funeral on Sunday, who was buried at the Yenikoy Asri Cemetery in Diyarbakir.

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