Russian President Vladimir Putin used his state of the nation speech on Thursday to threaten further reprisals against Turkey, as the clash continued to escalate between the two countries over the downing a Russian warplane and death of two Russian servicemen last month.
“If someone thinks they can commit a heinous war crime, kill our people and get away with it, suffering nothing but a ban on tomato imports, or a few restrictions in construction or other industries, they’re delusional,” Putin told a Kremlin hall full of top Russian officials in a speech broadcast on national television.
See the photo gallery: Putin Warns Turkey in State of the Nation Address
“Allah only knows, I suppose, why they did it. And probably, Allah has decided to punish the ruling clique in Turkey by taking their mind and reason,” he said, according to a transcript on the Kremlin website.
“We’ll remind them of what they did, more than once. They’ll regret it. We know what to do.”
Russia says the shooting down of its Su-24 bomber on Nov. 24 over the Turkish-Syrian border was illegal and a betrayal. Moscow has imposed a package of economic sanctions on Turkey and accused the country's leaders of collusion with terrorists.
Turkish leaders have dismissed the claims, with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday accusing the Kremlin of using “Soviet-style propaganda” to spin lies, according to the Reuters news agency. Ankara claims the Russian plane, which was on a bombing mission in northern Syria, ignored warnings to leave its airspace.
Neither Putin nor Turkish President Recep Erdogan, both strongman autocratic leaders, have been willing to blink in the confrontation, and Erdogan has refused Putin's demands to apologize.
Immediately after Putin's speech, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said talks on the construction of a multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline to Turkey would be halted, Reuters reported.
Aside from Turkey, Putin also used his speech to propose action against corruption, support industry and improve the business climate. With Russia suffering a deep recession and constricted by Western sanctions over Ukraine, he cast many of his aims in terms of national security, encouraging a balanced budget and self sufficiency in food production.
To this end, he suggested “withdrawing misused agricultural land from questionable owners and selling it at an auction to those who can and want to cultivate the land,” asking for legislation to be changed by next fall.
He also proposed a change to jury service, saying jurors should judge a wider range of cases but their number be cut to between five and seven from the current 12 at each trial.
To finish, Putin quoted an exhortation by 19th century Russian chemist Dmitry Mendeleev: “We will be immediately destroyed if we are divided. Our strength lies in our unity, our warriors, our benign domesticity that multiplies the numbers of our people; our strength lies in the natural growth of our intrinsic wealth and love of peace.”