Turkey Warns Russia: ‘Our Patience Has A Limit’

REUTERS/Murad Sezer

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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Turkey is running out of patience after a Russian destroyer fired warning shots against Turkish fishing boats to avoid a collision Sunday.

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says the Russian reaction is exaggerated and Turkey “has a limit” for how much provocations it will take. Russia has been making its presence known around Turkey, and has been building up its military presence in neighboring countries in reaction to the Nov. 24 downing of a Russian aircraft.

“Ours was only a fishing boat. It seems to me that the reaction of the Russian naval ship was exaggerated,” Cavusoglu tells Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera Monday. “Russia and Turkey certainly have to reestablish the relations of trust that we have always had, but our patience has a limit.”

The Russian naval ship claims the Turkish boats created an emergency situation which forced them to fire shots in accordance with international norms. The two boats blocked a convoy transporting two drill platforms to a new location in Russia’s territorial waters, according to Russian state company Chernomorneftegaz.

“Acting in violation of international norms preventing a collision of ships at sea and commonly accepted norms of navigation, a Turkish vessel did not give way to the convoy,” the Crimea-based company says in a statement Monday.

The warning shots follow repeated passive-aggressive behavior from Russia in recent weeks. Turkey warned of counter measures after a soldier had a rocket launcher on his shoulder as a Russian vessel cruised through Istanbul last week. (RELATED: Turkey Is Literally Pulling Russian Naval Ships Over To Give Them Tickets)

Cavusoglu further questions Russia’s real motives in the fight against Islamic State, claiming just 8 percent of the Russian airstrikes have targeted ISIS, while 92 percent have been against other groups hostile to Assad.

“Unfortunately, Russia is not in Syria to fight against terrorists,” he says.

The Kremlin called off a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a bilateral summit in Saint Petersburg Tuesday.

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