President Erdoğan eyes meeting with Putin to ease tensions

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 29.11.2015 20:30
Updated 30.11.2015 12:39
President Erdoğan eyes meeting with Putin to ease tensions

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit Paris on Monday to attend the 2015 Climate Change Conference, where 140 other world leaders will gather in hopes of signing a universal agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Turkey is attributing greater importance to the event after the Russian jet that violated Turkish airspace was shot down. President Erdoğan proposed holding a presidential meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris to reduce tensions between the two countries. However, Ankara's proposal was refused by Moscow. Turkey expressed its regret but refused to apologize, contending that the onus of apology falls to Russia since its war plane entered Turkish airspace despite receiving numerous warnings. "We are really saddened by this incident. We did not want such a thing to happen but unfortunately it did. I hope such a thing will not be repeated," Erdoğan said on Saturday in Balıkesir.

"The international climate summit in Paris will provide a chance to repair our relations with Russia. Confrontations will not bring anyone happiness. As important as Russia is for Turkey, Turkey is important for Russia," Erdoğan said. On Nov. 7, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President Erdoğan spoke about the summit and focused on how to achieve a successful outcome. The main aim of the conference is to find a way to reduce the global emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane in order to curb global warming. On Nov. 24, two Turkish F-16 fighter jets on an aerial patrol intercepted a Russian warplane within rules of engagement when it violated Turkish airspace near the Syrian border.

Meanwhile on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Putin does not plan to meet Erdoğan in Paris. Peskov added that Putin will likely talk to U.S. Barack Obama on the sidelines of the summit.

The Russian warplane received 10 warnings about its violation within five minutes before it was shot down. This was not the first time Russian warplanes had violated Turkish airspace. In October, Russian warplanes violated Turkish airspace after which Russian officials had apologized and pledged that such incidents would not reoccur in the future.

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