‘Are you kidding us?’: Moscow reacts to Ankara's allegations that sided Russia with ISIS
"Mr. Davutoglu [Turkish Prime Minister], are you serious or is it just the way you joke? If it's a joke, then I think at a moment like this everyone, and especially Turkey, should be busy not with irony or sarcasm, but rather with concrete actions to stand against terrorism. I think that's what Turkish people are expecting from you," Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at a Moscow briefing on Thursday.
"Statements by Turkish officials alleging that Russia secretly supports IS are absolutely unacceptable," she added.
Earlier this week, Turkey's PM Ahmet Davutoglu accused Moscow of "behaving like a terrorist organization" and put its anti-terror actions in Syria in one line with IS offensive in the region.
"Russia and other terrorist organizations - first and foremost, the Islamic State in Syria - are responsible for numerous crimes against humanity," Davutoglu said during his brief visit to Ukraine, adding that "if Russia continues behaving like a terrorist organization and forcing civilians to flee, we will deliver an extremely decisive response."
Having called such allegations from Ankara "yet another stovepiping and lies," Moscow said it regrets that instead of uniting efforts in the fight against jihadi militants, Turkey is trying to undermine Russia's anti-terror operation.
"In the wake of the rising terror in the region, when we should really be closing ranks to fight this evil, we witness strange and even inappropriate statements from Turkey's leadership, who unfortunately increase such rhetoric," Zakharova said.
Following the UN-reported destruction of medical facilities and schools in Syria by unidentified missiles on Monday, Ankara hurried to proclaim the "barbaric attacks on civilians" as "being waged by both Russia and terrorist groups." Russian Defense Ministry denied the proofless accusations, saying that Ankara has launched an "aggressive information campaign" against Russia to prevent losing control in northern and northwestern Syria, where the Turkish authorities have been "absolute rulers" in the past years.
Wednesday's deadly attack in Ankara has been added to the blame game against Moscow, with Turkey not only blaming Kurdish militia for the attack, but "warning" Russia not to support the Kurds, who have been successfully fighting IS in Syria.
"I'd like to warn Russia, which is giving air support to the YPG [Syrian Kurdish militia]... not to use this terrorist group against the innocent people of Syria and Turkey," Davutoglu said on Thursday, as quoted by Reuters. "Russia condemned yesterday's attack, but it is not enough. All those who intend to use terrorist organizations as proxies should know that this game of terror will turn around like a boomerang and hit them first," he added.
There are numerous unfounded claims coming from the mainstream media and politicians about the Russian and Syrian anti-terror campaign, political adviser to the president of Syria, Bouthaina Shaaban, told RT.
“What the Syrian army in cooperation with Russian aircraft are doing is fighting terrorism in Syria,” she said. “And what we are hopeful for is that other countries [will] join, because this terrorism is a threat to the entire[ty of] humanity.”
While the Kurdish groups, supported by the United States in the fight against IS in northern Syria, are considered one of the most effective ground forces in fighting jihadists in the area, Ankara regards them as terrorists.
Vowing retaliation in both Syria and Iraq for the Ankara bombing, Davutoglu said Turkey would continue to bomb Kurds, including Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq and YPG positions in northern Syria, and expects cooperation from its NATO allies to assist Ankara in this fight.
Turkey has also been loudly calling on its Western partners to establish a no-fly zone along the Turkish-Syrian border, which is primarily inhabited by Kurds, claiming it would help end the Syrian conflict and prevent deepening of the migrant crisis in Europe.
The Russian Foreign Ministry's Zakharova warned that a no-fly zone could lead to a "Libya scenario" in Syria.
"International community has already tried out such a concept. The result can now be clearly seen far away from Libya - in Europe, and will soon be seen outside of Europe," the spokeswoman said.
The concept of placing blame on Russia is a "good business" strategy, Zakharova added, saying that talking about Moscow as an aggressor allows other states to extract money from their budgets to fight the proclaimed threat.
"According to data for 2017, the US State Department's budget includes about $1 billion to counteract [alleged] Russia's aggression. Ukraine might have been excited with that, expecting more possible financial inflows. But only $42 million are allocated from this sum to Kiev's military needs," Zakharova said.