Putin-Erdogan Meeting Cancelled as Ties Continue to Deteriorate

Turkey's patience with Russia limited, says foreign minister as second naval incident in as many days ratchets up tensions.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, December 3, 2012.
AP

Turkish-Russian relations continued on a downward spiral Monday as Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Pesko said a bilateral summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan planned for December 15 in St. Petersburg would not happen.

The summit was agreed upon during a meeting between the two men in Turkey on the sidelines of a G-20 summit last month which predated Ankara's shooting down of a Russian military jet near the Syrian-Turkish border.

"It won't happen, it's not planned," Peskov said of the summit when asked about it by reporters on Monday.

Turkey's foreign minister also had some harsh words for Russia, stating that Ankara's patience with Russia "has a limit" after Moscow's "exaggerated reaction to a weekend naval incident between the two countries, an Italian newspaper reported.

A Russian destroyer fired warning shots at a Turkish vessel in the Aegean on Sunday to avoid a collision and summoned the Turkish military attaché over the incident.

"Ours was only a fishing boat, it seems to me that the reaction of the Russian naval ship was exaggerated," Mevlut Cavusoglu told Italian daily Corriere della Sera in an interview.

"Russia and Turkey certainly have to re-establish the relations of trust that we have always had, but our patience has a limit," Cavusoglu said.

An additional naval incident on Monday saw two Russia vessels forcing a Turkish commercial ship to change course after it got in the way of a Crimean energy firm's boats towing oil rigs.

Ties between Moscow and Ankara have sharply deteriorated since the downing of the Russian jet on November 24, a move described by Putin as "a dastardly stab in the back."

Moscow has imposed economic sanctions on Turkey, and Putin, clearly referring to Turkish forces, ordered his own armed forces last Friday to "shoot down immediately any target" which threatens Russian troops or infrastructure in Syria