Following the Turkish downing of a Russian jet on 24 November 2015 relations between Moscow and Ankara have been tense, on the verge of escalating beyond control. Turkey’s wily PM Ahmed Davutoğlu even set the ball really rolling when he spoke about “Russian imperialist goals” late last year, actually declaring that the “Syrian lands are not, and will not be, a part of Russia’s imperialist goals”.  Even before Davutoğlu joined the war of words, Presidents Putin and Tayyip Erdoğan had already exchanged choice words that pitted the Russian bear in direct opposition to the Turkish crescent. At the end of the first week of the new year, coincidentally coinciding with the Orthodox celebration of Christmas (or the birth of Jesus Christ), Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reacted to Turkey even going as far as claiming Russian responsibility for the deaths of Syrian refugees off the Turkish coast, saying curtly that “[s]uch absurd accusations are nothing but an attempt by Ankara to avoid responsibility for the deaths of these and many other Syrians”. Another tit-for-tat, it seems . . .
The Russians have been asserting that Turkey is more than just Syria’s northern neightbour. In December 2015, for instance, ‘the Russian Defense Ministry provided satellite images showing Daesh [aka ISIS or the IS], outlawed in Russia, transporting up to 200,000 barrels of oil in at least 1,722 trucks to third-party countries, most notably Turkey on the northern border’, as reported by Sputnik, an international multimedia news service operated by the Kremlin. The Beirut-based academic and journalist Lorenzo Trombetta matter-of-factly explains that “[e]verybody on the ground is profiting from this business, beyond the real interests of great powers and diplomacy . . . All the authorities: Syrian, Kurdish [and] Turkish, are closing more than one eye in front of this [trade]”. Going down to the nitty-gritty, the vice president of research at the right-wing Foundation for Defense of Democracies Jonathan Schanzer then declares that “[w]hen oil is being bought on the Turkish border it’s highly unlikely that it will be sold anywhere else but Turkey. There are indications that oil is smuggled in movable containers and sold to state interests”. Though these claims and expositions remain nothing but conjecture in the absence of hard evidence linking Ankara and Raqqa. In the face of these allegations linking caliphal oil to presidential trucks, Recep Tayyip Erdogan simply blurted out these words: “Shame on you. Those who claim we buy oil from Daesh [aka IS or ISIS] are obliged to prove it. If not, you are a slanderer”.
 C. Erimtan, “Escalating the New Cold War: Turkey downs a Russian Jet” /. NEO (26 November 2015).
 “Turkey’s Davutoglu condemns Russia for strikes on Syria’s Idlib” Reuters (22 Dec 2015). http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-russia-turkey-syria-idUSKBN0U515X20151222.
 C. Erimtan, “Putin, Tayyip Erdogan and the Issue of Sunnification: A Duel of Words” NEO (02 Dec 2015). http://journal-neo.org/2015/12/02/putin-tayyip-erdogan-and-the-issue-of-sunnification-a-duel-of-words/.
 “Moscow Slams Turkey Over Shifting Blame for Refugees’ Deaths” Sputnik (08 Jan 2016). http://sputniknews.com/world/20160108/1032844534/turkey-accusations-deaths-comment.html#ixzz3wk7eD9SO.
 “Moscow Slams Turkey Over Shifting Blame for Refugees’ Deaths”.
 Alessandria Masi , “Turkey, Russia, Iraq And Syria: The Black Market Oil Trade That’s Fueling ISIS And Dividing The Terrorist Group’s Opponents” IBT (09 Dec 2015). http://www.ibtimes.com/turkey-russia-iraq-syria-black-market-oil-trade-thats-fueling-isis-dividing-terrorist-2217476.
 Alessandria Masi , “Turkey, Russia, Iraq And Syria: The Black Market Oil Trade That’s Fueling ISIS And Dividing The Terrorist Group’s Opponents”.
 Jennifer Newton and Will Stewart, “Turkey accuses Russia of SLANDER for saying they buy oil from ISIS and Erdogan refuses to apologise for downing jet as Moscow deports 39 Turkish businessmen in escalating row” Daily Mail (26 Nov 2015). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3334650/Russia-enters-diplomatic-food-fight-Turkey-Putin-tells-shoppers-stop-buying-Turkish-tomatoes-funding-missile-shoot-boys.html#ixzz3wkEliRjo.