Kılıçdaroğlu says Russia should do more than extend condolences

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CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu reacted on Thursday to a statement by Russia over the killing of three Turkish soldiers by Russian jets in northern Syria, saying the issue cannot be glossed over with the expressing of condolences.

“The issue is so important that it cannot be dodged with a condolence message,” said Kılıçdaroğlu in a post on Twitter over the developments in Syria.

According to a statement released by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on Thursday, a Russian warplane accidentally hit a building occupied by Turkish soldiers in northern Syria, killing three soldiers and wounding 11 others.

After the incident, which took place at 8:40 a.m. Turkish time, Russian President Vladimir Putin called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to express his condolences, the same statement said.

“We have been a country stuck in the quagmire of the Middle East due to wrong policies and are saddened every day by news about a new martyr,” added Kılıçdaroğlu in criticism of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) foreign policy.

The Russian warplane hit the soldiers as part of an operation against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets in the al-Bab region, where Turkey is also pursuing an operation against the same terrorist organization.

The TSK also stated that both sides were investigating the incident.

On Nov. 24, 3 Turkish soldiers were killed in another airstrike in northern Syria.

On Dec. 1, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had said that Russia had nothing to do with an air attack on Turkish soldiers in Syria on Nov. 24.

“We, as Russia, had nothing to do with it. The airstrike on Nov. 24 in which Turkish soldiers were killed was carried out by neither Russia nor Syria,” said Lavrov during a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

The Turkish military stated on Nov. 24 that the airstrike was carried out by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

The airstrike that killed four Turkish soldiers near the Syrian city of al-Bab took place on the first anniversary of an incident in which Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian jet for violating Turkish airspace near the Syrian border, on Nov. 24, 2015.

The downing of the Russian jet led to a crisis in bilateral relations until Erdoğan apologized to Putin.

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