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Interception of Syrian plane shadows Russia-Turkey ties

By Han Liang, Igor Serebryne (Xinhua)

07:58, October 17, 2012

MOSCOW, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin postponed his visit to Turkey originally scheduled this week following the Turkish authorities' interception of a Syria-bounded passenger plane flying from Moscow.

Though Moscow has denied connection between the delayed visit and the plane interception, local experts said the incident would pile up more clouds into the foggy Russia-Turkey ties.

"AIR PIRACY"

Putin's Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said Last Thursday the president's visit to Turkey, scheduled for Oct. 15, might take place on December 3.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the information later, saying Putin and him had set the date during a telephone conversation a few days ago.

The postponement "has nothing to do" with the plane incident, during which the Syrian plane, carrying a total of 35 passengers including 17 Russians, was grounded by Turkey over alleged "non-civilian cargo" on board, said Erdogan.

Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of Russia's National Defense magazine, described the actions of the Turkish authorities as "air piracy". Since Syria was under no sanctions from the United Nations Security Council, it was "purely bilateral business between Russia and Syria, what to ship from one country to another," he said.

Moscow re-affirmed everything it had done in that situation was absolutely legal.


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