Turkey fury over Russian brandishing weapon on warship

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Dec 6 blasted as a "provocation" images of a Russian serviceman brandishing a rocket launcher as his warship passed through Turkish waters.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Dec 6 blasted as a "provocation" images of a Russian serviceman brandishing a rocket launcher as his warship passed through Turkish waters.PHOTO: EPA

ANKARA (AFP) - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Sunday (Dec 6) blasted as a "provocation" images of a Russian serviceman brandishing a rocket launcher as his warship passed through Turkish waters.

The alleged incident came with Ankara and Moscow at loggerheads after Turkey downed a Russian jet on its border with Syria last month, sparking fury and economic sanctions from the Kremlin.

Turkey's private NTV channel broadcast pictures of what it said was a Russian serviceman aboard the "Caesar Kunikov" with a type of rocket or missile launcher on his shoulder in the firing position.

"The soldier aboard the Russian warship showing things like a missile... is only a provocation," Cavusoglu said.

NTV reported that the vessel from the Russian navy's Black Sea fleet passed through the Bosphorus on Sunday morning, however other media said the incident occurred on Friday.

Turkish media also reported that Ankara had blocked a Russian ship at its Black Sea port of Samsun at the weekend due to "lack of required documents" while three others were allowed to leave.

There was no immediate comment from Russian authorities about the various reports.

But Cavusoglu said Turkey had no intention of blocking the passage of Russian ships that were moving through its waters in compliance with international law.

Russia and Turkey are locked in their worst crisis since the Cold War over the Nov 24 jet downing, and their leaders have since been engaged in an almost daily war of words.