Russia Dismisses Turkey’s Audio Recording of Warnings as Fake
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova derided the audio recording in which Turkish ground control purportedly warns Russia's plane that it will cross the border as a fake.
"The internet is full of recordings, some very interesting, others very funny... How long did it take to edit together this masterpiece? Several days? Well, its value is clear now," Zakharova said during a press briefing in Moscow on Thursday, RT reported.
Turkey had released audio recordings of what it said are the Turkish military's repeated warnings to the pilot of the Russian plane before it was shot down at the border with Syria.
The recordings, made available to the Associated Press on Thursday, indicate the plane was warned several times Tuesday that it was approaching Turkey's airspace and asked to change course, but there is no indication of a Russian reply.
Turkey shot down the Russian Su-24 bomber on Tuesday, insisting it had violated its airspace despite repeated warnings. It was the first time in half a century that a NATO member had shot down a Russian plane.
A surviving Russian pilot has denied that his jet veered into Turkey's airspace and rejected Turkey's claim that it had issued repeated warnings to the Russian crew.
The downing prompted dueling comments Thursday from the two countries' leaders. While Russian President Vladimir Putin complained that Turkey still hadn't apologized for downing the plane or given assurances that "the culprits of this crime" will be punished, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in no mood to apologize.
Erdogan instead lashed out at Russia, accusing it of using its fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Syria as a pretext to target opposition groups including the Turkmen, in a bid to strengthen Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Erdogan said Turkey had not specifically targeted Russia when it shot down the plane, saying it was "an automatic response" in line with its rules of engagement.
Meanwhile, Russia's defense ministry has posted a video of its sophisticated missile defense system S-400 SAM going on patrol at its airbase, near Latakia. With a 250 km range, it will cover the flight paths of most Russian planes operating in Syria.
Putin said Russia would have deployed its S-400 anti-aircraft defense systems "a long time ago" if it realized its planes were under threat.
"It didn't enter our heads that we could be attacked by a country we considered our ally," the Russian president said after talks with his French counterpart Francois Hollande in Moscow, the AP reported.
The Russian Defense Ministry has said that all channels of military cooperation with Turkey were suspended on Thursday, including a hotline set up to share information about Russian air strikes in Syria. Moscow has also recalled its military representative from Turkey.
“Today, in accordance with the decision taken earlier, all channels of cooperation between the Russian Defense Ministry and the armed forces of Turkey were suspended,” said ministry spokesman General-Major Igor Konashenkov.