Tensions about a looming World War 3 shot up as a Russian soldier aboard a warship held a missile on his shoulder and aimed it at Turkey as they passed through the Bosphoru border to the Mediterranean. Photos taken by witnesses showed the soldier in a shooting position, seemingly ready to attack Turkey.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was furious about the incident. He called it a provocation and harassment, adding that a show off of a missile by a soldier aboard a Russian warship is unacceptable.
“The Russian warplane’s violation of our airspace and the passing of the Russian warships through the Bosphorus are two very different things. The passages should be made in accordance with the international agreements, whether it is a Russian ship or of another nationality, the rules have long been determined,” the foreign minister said as quoted by Hurriyet Daily.
Russia and Turkey have been in heated exchange of allegations following the downing of a Russian bomber over Syrian airspace. Since the incident on Nov. 24, the two nations traded barbs against each other – the most controversial of all is the accusation that Turkey had been buying oil from the ISIS. On the other hand, Turkey accused Russia of killing civilians in its airstrikes in Syria that resulted to the influx of refugees to Istanbul.
Since the downing of the Russian bomber, rumors of an impending World War 3 shrouded the global community because Russia vowed retaliation. Turkey then sought NATO’s protection being one of its 28 allies, which include the U.S. Meanwhile, Turkey is in Syria for its participation in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the ISIS.
In his speech last week, President Vladimir Putin attacked Turkey with one provocative statement after another. “We have always deemed betrayal the worst and most shameful thing to do, and that will never change. I would like them to remember this- those in Turkey who shot our pilots in the back, those hypocrites who tried to justify their actions and cover up for terrorists,” Mr. Putin said as quoted by Morning News USA. “We’ll remind them of what they did, more than once. They’ll regret it. We know what to do.”
The U.S. was dragged into the row as Russia’s defense ministry on Saturday accused U.S. of a cover up to the illegal oil trade between Turkey and ISIS. The ministry said Pentagon had seen videos taken by its own drones showing Turkey’s activities above the oil zones. “When US officials say they don’t see how the terrorists’ oil is smuggled to Turkey, it smells badly of a desire to cover up these acts,” the ministry was quoted as saying by the AFP.