Moscow expects Ankara to ensure the safety of all Russians who work in Turkey, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, as the countries are odds over the situation in Syria’s Idlib.
Peskov’s remarks follow comments of the spokesperson for the Russian diplomatic mission in Turkey, who said that the ambassador is receiving messages warning him against going out on the streets of Ankara.
“As for the situation surrounding our diplomatic mission to Turkey and our ambassador, we have no doubt that the Turkish authorities will take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of the Russian envoy and all embassy staff members, as well as the personnel of Russian companies and overseas agencies whose offices Turkey hosts in accordance with the Vienna Convention and the spirit of our bilateral relations,” TASS reported Peskov as saying on Feb. 14.
Turkish officials have increased security at the Russian Embassy in Ankara in the wake of threats addressed to Ambassador Alexey Yerkhov due to an escalation of tensions in Syria’s Idlib, spokesperson for the Russian diplomatic mission in Turkey Irina Kasimova told TASS on Feb. 14.
“Yes, it is true, tensions have escalated lately. Due to this, we asked the Turkish officials to apply additional security measures,” she said.
According to Kasimova, the Russian ambassador is receiving messages warning him against going out on the streets of Ankara.
“We understand that the people who write this are unlikely to go out and kill, this is a way of expressing their anger. However, we need to take this into account,” she noted.
Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted a rise in tensions in the Idlib de-escalation zone in the past few weeks.
Five Turkish soldiers were killed in a Syrian army attack on Feb. 10, prompting the Turkish military to hit over 120 targets of the Syrian army and deploy additional troops to the area.
The Turkish army has 12 observation outposts in the province.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Munich on Feb. 16 on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, the Interfax news agency reported on Feb. 14.
On Feb. 13, Russia’s Foreign Ministry criticized statements from Ankara about Syria’s Idlib, after Turkey said it would use force against rebel groups violating a ceasefire in the region.
On Feb. 14, Russian Defense Ministry criticized Turkey for making “irresponsible statements,” after the Turkish military announced that it had “neutralized” 63 more Syrian troops in Idlib province.
The Russian military has refuted the Turkish military’s claims about the deaths of dozens of Syrian troops in Idlib, saying that Turkey’s “irresponsible statements” can only lead to an escalation of the situation and to hastily-made decisions.
“The [Russian] Center for the Reconciliation of the warring parties draws attention to the responsibility of officials from the Turkish ministry of defense for providing false information to the country’s leadership in the Idlib de-escalation zone,” Sputnik cited the ministry affiliated center as saying.
“Such irresponsible statements only contribute to the escalation of the situation and to the taking of hasty decisions which do not meet the mutual interests of Russia and Turkey,” it added.
“Such statements about the ‘shelling’ of Syrian government forces by units of the Turkish Armed Forces, and moreover, about the deaths of Syrian troops as a result, are untrue,” it also said.