Russia to meet with Turkey over downing of fighter jet

Russian foreign minister says Turkey has so far given ‘just some excuses’ for actions

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will meet his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday to discuss the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkish forces.

The meeting will take place on the sidelines of an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe meeting in Belgrade, RIA news agency reported, citing a diplomatic source.

"We will meet with the Turkish minister of foreign affairs, we will hear what he has to say," Mr Lavrov said on Wednesday after talks with his Cypriot counterpart. He said that Turkey had consistently asked to arrange such a meeting.

Mr Lavrov said he spoke to Mr Cavusoglu by telephone the day after the Russian aircraft was shot down, but heard only what Turkey had already stated publicly and “just some excuses”.

The meeting could offer a way to de-escalate a growing crisis between Russia and Turkey.

Turkey insists the Russian plane violated its airspace despite numerous warnings and has said it will not apologise for the incident that killed a Russian pilot and a Russian marine trying to retrieve a second pilot.

Russia has claimed that Turkey shot down its plane to protect what president Vladimir Putin has described as Turkish profiteering from the oil trade with the Islamic State.

Mr Lavrov said his country’s aim is to ensure that it does not allow the “overflow” of terrorist threats in Turkey from making their way into Russia.

Russia has imposed sanctions against Turkish products in retaliation for the downing of its aircraft. Mr Lavrov called the sanctions “adequate,” adding that “most observers” agree.