Moscow: Alexei Yerkhov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, made a sensational claim of a threat issued by Turkey. The warning stated that ‘Russia will have to pay for every drop of blood it sheds of Turkish and Turkish-backed forces in Idlib. We will build towers with the heads of Russian soldiers.’ Yerkhov said that the threat to Russia was taken very seriously. Andrei Karlov, the former Russian Ambassador to Turkey, was assassinated in Ankara in 2015. Yerkov mentioned that the incident had sparked significant tensions between the two countries five years ago.
In an interview with the Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti, Ambassador Yerkhov compared the situation from five years ago with the present day. ‘Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet in November 2015, and after that, the then Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was assassinated in the Turkish capital of Ankara.’ Yerkhov stated that Korlov’s assassin was chanting the slogan, ‘We will soon take over Aleppo’ underscoring that the situation today if compared, was not very different.
Yerkhov told the state-run news agency RIA Novosti that ‘I am receiving death threats. The employees in the Russian embassy, along with me, are receiving threatening phone calls and messages. A few of them have threatened to build towers with the heads of Russian soldiers in Syria. Whereas, some of them have even threatened to burn me alive. These are not threats issued as individuals but to Russia. Therefore, it cannot be tolerated.’ At the same time, Yerkhov highlighted that the threats exposed the anti-Russia sentiment in Turkey.
Pointing to Karlov’s assassination, Yerkhov stated that ‘These threats instigate the public opinion against Russia to generate antipathy, anger and hate. Five years ago, people’s opinion was flared up against Russia in a similar manner. Everyone is aware of how it ended.’ The Russian Ambassador said that Turkey had shown complete professionalism in providing him security. Nevertheless, the Erdogan government needed to make more efforts to reduce the tensions between the two countries, the Russian Ambassador said.
Meanwhile, the conflict in Idlib and Aleppo have triggered Russia-Turkey tensions. Even so, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu declared that tensions did not exist between the two countries. Within the next few hours, however, the Turkish President slammed Russia asking it to stop supporting the violence Syria was perpetrating.