Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoganReuters

In the wake of a high-crisis between Turkey and Russia following the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey last Tuesday near the Syrian border, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin “not to play with fire.”

President Erdoğan went on to scold the Russian President by his stating that “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin says ‘those who have double standards on terrorism are playing with fire.’ I totally agree with him." 

"Indeed," he went on, "supporting the [Bashar] al-Assad regime in Syria, which has killed 380,000 people, is playing with fire. Striking opposition groups that have international legitimacy with the excuse of fighting against Daesh [the Arabic acronym for Islamic State or ISIS, ed.] is playing with fire."

"Using an incident in which Turkey’s righteousness is accepted by the whole world as an excuse to torment our citizens who were in Russia to attend a fair is playing with fire. Irresponsibly hitting trucks in the region that are there for trade or humanitarian reasons is playing with fire."

"We sincerely advise Russia not to play with fire,” he added.

Erdoğan requested a meeting with Putin during the upcoming climate change summit in Paris in order to find common ground and avoid a further escalation of tension. 

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused any contact with Erdoğan before he apologizes for the downing of the Russian warplane, Yuri Ushakov, Putin's aide, said Friday. When asked why, Ushakov said: "We see Turkey's unwillingness to simply apologize for the incident with the plane."

Putin to meet Netanyahu

In Paris, Putin will meet Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to discuss the continuing Syrian crisis and state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ushakov added that Putin will also meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks about Syria and Ukraine, said.

Despite some fiery talk, President Erdoğan sounded a note of reconciliation when he continued that “we [Turkey] are uncomfortable with efforts to take the dispute over the downed jet into other areas of relations."

"Let’s not allow that to happen,” he said, underlining that maintaining good relations was beneficial for both countries. 

Claiming that Turkey’s shooting down of the Russian plane was not “intentional” but simply a result of an automatic enforcement of rules of engagement, Erdoğan nevertheless argued that Turkey was right to do so. 

“Turkey has proved its honesty” by releasing audio recordings of the warnings issued to the Russian pilots, he added. 

Erdoğan also called Putin’s comments at the recent joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande as “unacceptable.”

Denying allegations that Turkey has been purchasing oil from ISIS, Erdoğan echoed reporting by the Wall Street Journal earlier in the week that the Obama Administration had exposed the oil trade between ISIS, Russia and the Syrian regime, and had sanctioned several Syrian and Russian businessmen involved in the trade.