Turkey-Russia tensions escalate after sailor brandishes weapon on Bosphorus

Turkey-Russia tensions escalate after sailor brandishes weapon on Bosphorus
Turkey summoned the Russian ambassador on Monday after Turkish press captured images of a Russian soldier pointing a missile launcher towards Turkish territories as his vessel crossed the Bosphorus.
2 min read
08 December, 2015
Russian warships regularly pass through the Bosphorus Strait [AFP]

Turkey summoned the Russian ambassador in Ankara on Monday to voice Ankara's unease after reporters captured images of a crew member brandishing a missile launcher as his vessel crossed the Bosphorus towards the Mediterranean.

The incident comes amid rising tensions between Turkey and Russia following the downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey near its border with Syria last month.

The Turkish foreign ministry announced on Monday that it had summoned Moscow's ambassador after photos of a crew member onboard the Russian landing ship, the Caesar Kunikov, pointing a missile launcher at Turkish shores, emerged on Sunday.

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Turkish deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus called the incident a "childish show".

"Unfortunately, we interpreted that image as a show," Kurtulmus told a news conference in Ankara. "There was no need for that."

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Sunday called the missile launcher display the type of provocative act that "has to end". Cavusoglu added: "We are asking Russia to act as a more mature state."

Russian authorities have yet to comment on the incident.

Russian ships are allowed passage from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits under the 1936 Montreux Convention.

However, the downing of a Russian jet has significantly strained relations between the two countries.

Russia has also introduced a number of economic sanctions against Turkish imports and accused Turkey of shooting down their jet to protect the Islamic State group's oil smuggling routes, which is categorically denied by Turkey.