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Turkey Summons Russian Ambassador Over Missile Launcher

Turkey summons Russian ambassador over missile launcher

Turkey summoned the Russian ambassador following a claim that a Russian navy ship's serviceman had a missile launcher and was passing through Istanbul at weekend.

Turkish media published images that showed the Russian on deck, with the launcher resting on his shoulder.
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Relations between the two countries are at a crossroads since Turkey downed a Russian fighter aircraft last month. Turkey claimed that it was in its airspace.

The pilot of the Russian aircraft was killed.

Turkey has voiced outrage at the images from the alleged missile launcher. Mevlut Cavrusoglu, foreign minister, called the incident a "provocation".

The pictures showed the Russian serviceman on board the Caesar Kunikov as it passed through the Bosphorus strait.

"The showing off of a missile by a soldier on a Russian warship, or other things such as anti-aircraft weapons, is pure provocation," said Mr Cavusoglu on Sunday, according to Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News.

Turkey is obliged to allow all merchant ships through the strait, which runs through Istanbul, during peacetime. Military vessels belonging to Black Sea countries also enjoy unhindered access.