Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is prepared to step down if accusations by Russia that Ankara has traded oil with the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group are proved right.
The Turkish state-run Anatolia news agency quoted Erdogan as making the remark on the sidelines of a United Nations (UN)’s climate conference in the French capital, Paris, on Monday.
“I will say something very strong here. If such a thing is proven, the nobility of our nation would require that I would not stay in office,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan made the remarks in response to an announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin also made on the sidelines of the UN summit that Moscow had received information confirming Daesh conducted sales of “oil in huge quantities, on an industrial scale,” via Turkey.
Tensions have been on the rise between the two countries since November 24, when Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter jet that Ankara claimed had entered Turkish airspace, an allegation strongly rejected by Moscow. Russia is carrying out airstrikes against terrorist groups in Syria.
One of the two pilots of the Russian aircraft was killed by militants in Syria after parachuting out of the targeted jet.
Turkey has refused to apologize for the incident.
The Russian leader also on Monday accused Turkey of downing the jet in order to protect supplies of oil from Daesh militants to Turkish territories.
On November 28, Moscow signed a decree imposing economic sanctions against Turkey over the “huge mistake” of downing the fighter jet.
Russia launched its airstrike campaign against Daesh terrorists in Syria on September 30, following a formal request from the Syrian government. The decision was immediately criticized by Turkey, which has been known to be a supporter of militants fighting the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad since March 2011.