At NATO, Turkey remains defiant over Russian jet

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Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu dismisses any suggestion that Ankara should apologize for shooting down a Russian warplane in its airspace last week. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

At NATO, Turkey remains defiant over Russian jet


Turkey’s prime minister dismissed on Monday any suggestion Ankara should apologise 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 bomber 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 apologise,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters following a meeting with NATO’s secretary general at 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 was waiting for an apology after Turkey’s air force shot down the Su-24 fighter jet close to the Turkey-Syria border. Russian officials have said the plane was at no time over Turkey.

Putin has also said Russia told the United States of the Russian jet’s flight plan, something the U.S. envoy to NATO denied on Monday, saying U.S.-Russia cooperation in Syria was limited to broader rules on safety measures.

“The U.S. data that I have seen corroborates Turkey’s version of events. The airplane was in Turkey, it was engaged in Turkey, it had been warned repeatedly,” Ambassador Douglas Lute told reporters.

“There was no flight plan issued for a violation of NATO airspace.”

Following the meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, in which Turkey won the alliance’s firm support for the right to self-defence, 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.

Seeking to calm the situation, Stoltenberg called for new emergency procedures to be agreed with Moscow to avoid triggering conflict by accident, whether that was during bombing raids in Syria or war games conducted by Russia and NATO.

Tags : russian, over, Defiant, Remains, turkey, nato

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