Turkey, Russia won't sacrifice relations over jet downing: Deputy PM

Published 28.11.2015 00:45
Updated 28.11.2015 00:56
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Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said Turkey and Russia will not sacrifice their bilateral relations because of the recent downing of a Russian aircraft which violated Turkish airspace.

"I would like to mention sincerely that neither Turkey nor the Russian Federation are going to remove or sacrifice their relationship because of this situation," Kurtulmuş told the media after a Cabinet meeting in Ankara.

"We wish this crisis to not grow bigger, not to go further, [and hope it will] be dealt with through mutual negotiations within a short time," he said.
Kurtulmuş said that Turkey had shown utmost care to not get involved in another crisis since the country was already located in a region, which had been turned into a "ring of fire".

But, at the same time, he said that everyone should know that Turkey would take "all measures to protect its sovereignty" and would remain vigilant.

"Turkey and Russia as two friendly allies and even strategic partner states will take steps to eliminate the consequences of this crisis," he said.
He said that in order "to achieve that, we hope that they [Russia] will keep open the diplomatic and military channels".

Kurtulmuş' comments come as tensions between Russia and Turkey, a NATO member country, increased this week after Turkey downed a Russian aircraft for violating its airspace.

On Tuesday, two Turkish F-16 fighter jets on an aerial patrol intercepted an unidentified warplane within rules of engagement when it intruded into Turkish airspace on the Turkey-Syria border.

The intruding aircraft was warned about the violation 10 times within five minutes before it was shot down.

The Russian Defense Ministry later announced that its Russian SU-24 bomber jet had been shot down. It crashed in the Syrian region of Bayirbucak close to Yayladagi district of Turkey's southern Hatay province.

NATO confirmed the accuracy of information shared by Turkey about the violation.

It was not the first time Russian fighter jets had violated Turkish airspace. In early October, Russian warplanes breached Turkish airspace. Russian officials apologized and pledged that no such incident would be repeated. Turkey had also renewed its warning on engagement rules, including a military response against violations of Turkish airspace.

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