At NATO, Turkey Remains Defiant Over Russian jet
Turkey’s prime minister dismissed on Monday any suggestion Ankara should apologize for downing a Russian warplane in its airspace last week, after winning strong NATO support for the right to defend itself.
Six days after NATO member Turkey shot down the Russian fighter jet in the first known incident of its kind since the Cold War, calls for calm have gone largely unheeded as Ankara refuses to back down and Russia responds with sanctions.
“No country should ask us to apologize,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters following a meeting with NATO’s secretary general at the alliance headquarters in Brussels.
“The protection of our land borders, our airspace, is not only a right, it is a duty,” he said. “We apologize for committing mistakes, not for doing our duty.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Nov. 26 he is waiting for an apology after Turkey’s air force shot down the Su-24 fighter jet along the Turkey-Syria border.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu takes part in a news conference following a EU-Turkey summit …
Following the meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in which he won the alliance’s firm support for the right to self-defense, Davutoglu also warned that such incidents continued to be a risk as long as Russia and the U.S-led coalition bombing Islamic State in Syria worked separately.
“If there are two coalitions functioning in the same airspace against ISIL, these types of incidents will be difficult to prevent,” Davutoglu said, referring to Islamic State militants.
NATO’s Stoltenberg echoed Western calls for calm, while Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon on Sunday underscored the coordination with Russia that allowed Israel to avoid flare-ups after a Russian warplane operating in Syria strayed into Israeli-controlled airspace. It turned back after the two countries conferred.