I ordered military to down any jet coming from Syria: Former PM Davutoğlu
AA photoFormer Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has stressed that it was he who gave the order for the shooting of a Russian plane in November last year, adding that the order was not for a specific plane but a general instruction for the defense of Turkish skies.
“Within our state’s customs, the prime minister gives the rules of engagement in a written directive to the General Staff. I gave the order on Oct. 10,” Davutoğlu said during an interview with private broadcaster NTV on July 15.
“These rules of engagement will be implemented on not only Syrian planes but all that breaches the Turkish air space,” the Oct. 10 instruction read, Davutoğlu said, adding that such a change came after repeated violations by the Russian jets during their operations in Syria.
Turkish jets downed the Russian plane on Nov. 24, leading to a bilateral diplomatic crisis that only recently eased after President Recep Tayyip Erodğan sent a letter late in July to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, expressing his sorrow over the situation.
Recent reports have claimed that the downing of the Russian jet was the work of soldiers loyal to U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who the Turkish government says was behind the July 15 failed coup attempt.
A previous instruction, saying “all Syrian planes coming toward Turkey from Syria should be named as a threat and should be shut down,” was given to the military in 2012 after the downing of a Turkish F-4 Phantom reconnaissance jet, an incident that cost lives of two pilots.
There was no problem with the implementation of the rules of engagement because the issue was about defending Turkish air space, Davutoğlu said.
“It is not right to raise questions eight months after the incident … I would undertake the same political responsibility even it happened today,” he added.