Turkey 'saddened' about Russian jet's downing, Erdoğan says
ANKARAPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeated his call to Russian President Vladimir Putin for a face-to-face meeting in Paris on the sidelines of the Global Climate Summit to talk and to resolve ongoing bilateral crisis after a Russian warplane was downed by Turkey on Nov 24, saying that Turkey was sorry about the incident.
“We feel really saddened about this incident. We would not like such a thing to happen, we would not want it but unfortunately it did. I wish such a thing will not happen again,” Erdoğan said on Nov. 28 in a statement during his visit to Balıkesir.
“What we tell Russia is ‘Let’s talk about this issue within its boundaries and let’s settle it. Let’s not make others happy by hurting our all relationship. I think the U.N. Global Climate Change Summit to be held in Paris on Monday could be an opportunity to restore our relations,” he said.
The president also said a meeting to be held in Paris would be a good way to talk about the issue and to solve it.
Turkey has already proposed to hold a presidential meeting in Paris but Moscow refused it because Turkey did not accept to apologize for the downing of its jetfighter. Turkey expressed its sorrow but refused to apologize as it was Russia’s duty to do so as it was its warplane that violated the Turkish airspace.
There is not much chance for a meeting in Paris but there is a bigger opportunity to let two foreign ministers to meet in Belgrade on Dec 4 on the sidelines of the OSCE’s ministerial meeting. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will be in Belgrade for the summit along with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Turkey tried to de-escalate tension by softening its language but Russia’s strong accusations against Turkey make the situation more complicated for an immediate reconciliation.
“We particularly want all parties to approach to the matter in a much more positive way,” Erdoğan said, expressing his concerns that further escalation of the tension would cause unwanted consequences in the future.
“Let’s not forget that Turkey is important to Russia as Russia is important to Turkey. Neither countries have the luxury of ignoring the other. We are willing and hopeful for this. I hope to meet with the Russian side in this line very soon,” he said.
Erdoğan accuses foreign aid organizations
In the meantime, Erdoğan who recalled that Turkey will continue to implement its open-door policy for Syrians fleeing violence did accuse international aid organizations that have been operating to extend assistance to Syrian refugees of “having different objectives.”
“There are aid organizations of around 100 countries operating in our territories in regards to deal Syrian migrants. But we know many of them have different objectives. Despite this, we do not take measures against them if our national security is not under threat,” he said.