December 2015 – BAGHDAD, Iraq – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has spoken by phone with his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari to discuss the “unlawful incursion” of Turkish troops in northern Iraq, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday. “The Russian side expressed its firm position in support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq,” the ministry said in a statement.
Iraq appealed to the United Nations Security Council on Friday to demand an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Turkish troops from the north of the country. Baghdad said their presence was a “flagrant violation” of international law. –Yahoo News
Russian warship fires warning shot at Turkish vessel: A Russian warship fired a warning shot to prevent a collision with a Turkish fishing vessel in the Aegean Sea, further straining ties between the two nations after last month’s downing of a Russian bomber near the Syrian border. Russia’s Smetlivy destroyer, which was anchored, issued visual warnings and tried without success to reach the Turkish ship by radio when it came within 1,000 meters, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said Sunday in a statement. When the vessel didn’t respond and closed to within 600 meters, the Russian warship fired, prompting the Turkish boat to change course, the ministry said.
Ahmet Hakam Gunes, Turkey’s defense attache at the embassy in Moscow, was “urgently” summoned to meet Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov. Russia said it’s “deeply concerned” over the incident and informed the attache of possible “harmful consequences over reckless actions” by Turkey regarding Russia’s military forces, the Defense Ministry said. Turkey shot down the Russian warplane during a Syrian bombing raid on Nov. 24, poisoning bilateral relations and triggering retaliation from President Vladimir Putin that includes bans on some Turkish food products and restrictions on flights. Putin called the incident a “stab in the back,” while Turkey said it was defending its territory after previous border violations. Russia began air strikes in Syria in September in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s army in his fight against political opponents. –Bloomberg
Turkey bans army personnel from visiting Russia: The Turkish army has banned Sunday personnel from taking holidays in Russia, with which Ankara is embroiled in a bitter dispute over the shooting down of a Russian warplane. The prohibition, which applies to both personnel and military academy students, was described as a “precautionary measure after the Russian warplane, which violated (Turkey’s) borders, was downed in accordance with the rules of engagement.” Army personnel are expected to behave in a way that is “worthy” of the Turkish military while on vacation. Russia and Turkey have been plunged in their worst crisis since the Cold War over Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane on the border with Syria on November 24.
Moscow has since then unleashed a raft of sanctions against Ankara, including banning imports of some Turkish foods, stopping the sale of package holidays to the country and reintroducing visas for Turkish visitors. The Turkish foreign ministry in November warned its citizens against non-urgent travel to Russia, but Ankara has so far has not hit back with sanctions measures of its own. Turkey says the Su-24 plane repeatedly violated its airspace but Moscow insists it never strayed from Syria. –World Bulletin