President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Russia of “slander” over Moscow’s allegations Turkey had bought oil from Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria. “No one has a right to engage in slander against Turkey by saying that Turkey is buying oil from Daesh (IS),” Erdogan said in comments broadcast by Turkish television on a visit to Qatar. He was speaking after the Russian defence ministry claimed Erdogan and his family were involved in the illegal oil trade with IS, raising the stakes in a week-long standoff after Turkey shot down a Russian war plane on the Syrian border.
Erdogan reaffirmed that he would resign if the allegations were proven to be true and appeared to suggest that Russian President Vladimir Putin should also consider his position. “I won’t stay in the seat of president for even one minute if Russia proved its claims. But those who spread this slander shouldn’t retain their seats either.””Turkey has not lost its moral values so as to buy oil from a terrorist organisation,” he added.
Erdogan added that Turkey had no intention of escalating the crisis and said the two countries still have potential for cooperation. “We will use whatever diplomatic language international diplomacy requires. We don’t want this problem to hurt our current relations or potential any further.”