NATO supports Turkey in downed Russian jet incident, Turkish PM says no apology
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (L) held a press conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Nov. 30, 2015. AA PhotoNATO has pledged support to Turkey over the downing of the Russian fighter jet which violated Turkish airspace on Nov. 24, while Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said there will be no apology for the incident.
Speaking before members of the press after a meeting in Brussels on Nov. 30, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the North Atlantic Alliance was pledging support to Turkey in its efforts to defend its borders.
“Turkey has the right to defend itself and [its] airspace,” said Stoltenberg.
Meanwhile, Davutoğlu said Turkey would not offer any apology to Russia as it was a national issue for the country, contrary to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand.
“No country can ask us to apologize [for the incident] because [we were] doing our job,” said Davutoğlu. “Our action was a defensive action.”
“This is more of an issue of dignity for us,” added Davutoğlu.
“Our army did their job in protecting our border,” he said, stressing it was the border between Turkey and Syria.
Davutoğlu said Turkey’s rules of engagement were made clear to Russia three times, in Ankara, Antalya and Moscow, before the downing of the jet.
“It was a defensive action. If there was no violation [of Turkish airspace] there would not be such a crisis,” he said, adding that Turkey had no intention of escalating the tension and was open to talks at every level and sharing information about the incident to make Turkey’s position clear.
Stoltenberg said what was important at the moment was easing relations and that they supported all talks between Turkey and Russia to de-escalate the tensions.
He said the NATO Ministerial Meeting on Dec. 1 would discuss how NATO could produce mechanisms to de-escalate tensions and also avoid a similar incident in the future.
Commenting of the economic sanctions imposed by Russia on Turkey after the downing of the Russian jet, Davutoğlu said it contradicted Russia’s position when the country had sanctions imposed on it after the crisis with Ukraine over Crimea.
Davutoğlu said Russia had reacted to the sanctions in that incident and Turkey had also stood against any sanctions on Russia, but what they were doing currently towards Turkey was contradictory to their previous position.
“We will not escalate tension,” repeated Davutoğlu.
He added Russians were a friendly people to Turkish people and “for many [Russians], Antalya is a second home.”
“We hope Russia will reconsider these measures, which will be against our common interests,” Davutoğlu said.