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Turkey’s patience with Russia ‘not unlimited’: FM

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu today said Ankara’s patience with Moscow after the downing of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border was “not unlimited”, asking Moscow to react calmly.

“We are calling on Russia, our major trade partner, for calm. But we also say that our patience is not unlimited,” Cavusoglu told the private NTV television in an interview.

“If we are not retaliating to what you (Russia) have so far done, it is not because we are scared or have any feeling of guilt,” he added.

Moscow has imposed a series of economic sanctions on Ankara after Turkish fighter jets shot down a Su-24 bomber on the Syrian border on November 24, sparking the biggest crisis between the two countries since the Cold War.

Ankara says the Su-24 plane repeatedly violated Turkish airspace but Moscow insists it never strayed from Syria.

But Turkey so far has not hit back with sanctions measures of its own.

Russian ships, including naval warships, are still travelling through the Bosphorus Straits. While Moscow from 2016 will re-impose visas for Turks in a retaliatory move, Russians can still travel to Turkey without visas.

“We are acting with patience in order to return our relations to old days,” Cavusoglu said.

But he criticised Moscow for using every platform to target Turkey after the plane crisis, including its bringing a controversial Turkish troop deployment in Iraq to the agenda of the UN Security Council.

Russia Tuesday called the informal talks, but the United Nations Security Council did not take a stand on the dispute.

Cavusoglu said the fact that the Security Council refused to issue a statement urging Turkey to respect Iraq’s sovereignty meant Russia had been “disgraced”.