Turkey, Politics

MHP leader slams Russia over bombing of Turkish troops

Bahceli says Moscow ignores 'international law' following strike that martyred 3 soldiers in Syria's Al-Bab

12.02.2017
MHP leader slams Russia over bombing of Turkish troops Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party's leader (MHP) Devlet Bahceli ( Erçin Top - Anadolu Agency )

By Emin Avundukluoglu, Hatice Kesgin

KONYA, Turkey

The Turkish opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader said Sunday that Russia ignored the "principles and rules of international law".

In a news conference following his party's board meeting on the upcoming constitutional referendum, Devlet Bahceli criticized Russia for the bombing of Turkish troops in the Daesh-held town of Al-Bab in northern Syria.

Bahceli's remarks came after the bombing Thursday of a building used by Turkish troops by a Russian warplane that martyred three soldiers and left 11 others injured.

"Russia has martyred our soldiers, and then dismissed the incident with a 'Sorry' [and then] they blame Turkish Armed Forces. This is false. It's their shame."

"Russia has been ignoring the principles and rules of international law," stressed Bahceli.

Bahceli said the troops hit by the Russian jets on Thursday had been deployed at the same location for approximately 10 days.

"Turkish Armed Forces have been mutually and regularly sharing plans of action with Russia within the agreement signed between Russia and Turkey on Jan. 12, 2017," he said.

Bahceli said Turkish armed forces had not shared false coordinates as Russia claimed after the bombing.


'Tragic' incident

Turkish armed forces said in statement that the soldiers' coordinates had been shared with the Russian military officials at the Hmeymim air base in Syria, and with the Russian military attache in Ankara, a day before the incident.

Bahceli added the fate of the martyred soldiers could not be covered up by a simple apology

"The perpetrators should be identified and they should be punished," he said.

Following the bombing, Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to offer his condolences over the "tragic" incident.

On Friday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Turkey was investigating the "unfortunate accident".

"According to initial information we received, it is a total accident but how it happened and how the coordination was miscalculated will be clarified. It seems that much closer coordination measures are needed in the fight there," he said. 

Operation Euphrates Shield, which involves Free Syrian Army fighters backed by Turkish forces, was launched last August to secure Turkey’s border with Syria against terrorists and support opposition forces.

Since November, the operation has focused on taking Al-Bab, 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of the Turkish border.

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