Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, demanded that Turkey acknowledge publicly that there wasn’t any kind of weapons on board the Syrian civilian plane coming from Moscow which the Turkish authorities forced to land in Ankara recently.
He referred to Turkey’s claims that it carried a shipment of weapons and military equipment which were later disproved.
Lavrov said that the Turkish authorities who claimed originally that the plane carried weapons and military later admitted that the plane was actually carrying electronic equipment.
He pointed out again that the plane was carrying electronic equipment for radar station that has double uses and their transportation isn’t subject to international embargos according to international agreements or Security Council resolutions.
He affirmed that the cargo in question is regulation spare parts and that Russia has been providing spare parts for Syrians radar stations for decades.
He added that this shipment was packed and sent to Syria upon the Syrian side’s request and that they constituted no threat to passengers and is non-volatile.
Lavrov noted that the Turkish authorities instructed the Syrian pilot to either land for inspecting the plane’s shipment or turn back, and he chose to land since he knows that the shipment is legal.
He affirmed that Russia will continue to demand that Turkey clarify its position of refusing to allow the Russian Consulate to meet the Russian passengers and uncover who was responsible for preventing its staff from boarding the plane.
Lavrov also refuted the Turkish authorities’ tales and their discrepancies from the Russian passengers’ testimonies about what actually happened during the eight hours when the plane was grounded, adding “it turns out that the situation was completely different from what the Turkish colleagues presented.”
He said that upon learning of the incident, Russian consular staff demanded to meet the Russian passengers after receiving a passengers manifest, yet the Turkish authorities refused to allow them to meet them during the eight hours when the plane was grounded, saying that the plane was about to take off but it wasn’t so.
Lavrov pointed out that the passengers were detained for two hours inside the plane which wasn’t running, meaning that the air conditioning wasn’t working and this had adverse effects on one passenger’s health, then the Turkish authorities opened the plane’s door and said that they were going to transport the passengers to the airport terminal but no-one came to take them anywhere, forcing the passengers to share what little food they had.
He concluded by noting that Russian authorities didn’t become aware of any of this until after the plane landed in Damascus.