Turkey summons Russian ambassador over missile launcher

Russia's Caesar Kunikov landing ship, Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Caesar Kunikov landing ship, seen near Istanbul, where the Russian was seen holding a missile

Turkey has summoned the Russian ambassador after a serviceman on a Russian naval ship allegedly brandished a missile launcher while the vessel passed through Istanbul at the weekend.

Images published in Turkish media appeared to show the Russian on deck, resting the launcher on his shoulder.

Relations between the two countries have deteriorated sharply since Turkey last month shot down a Russian fighter jet, which it said was in its airspace.

The Russian jet pilot was killed.

Turkey has expressed outrage over the images of the alleged missile launcher. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu 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.

For Russia it is the only passage its Black Sea fleet can use to access the Mediterranean and the rest of the world's oceans.

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Media captionRussians in Turkey reflect on sanctions

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