PM Davutoğlu urges Russia to reconsider sanctions, says Turkey will not apologize

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 30.11.2015 13:15
Updated 25.02.2016 03:24
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the NATO headquarters on November 30, 2015 in Brussels (AFP Photo)
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the NATO headquarters on November 30, 2015 in Brussels (AFP Photo)

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Monday urged Russia to reconsider imposing sanctions against Turkey, to the benefit of both countries, following the shooting of a Russian warplane which violated Turkish airspace on November 24, while reiterating that Turkey will not apologize to Russia over the incident.

Speaking at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Davutoğlu said that Turkey does not intend to escalate the situation regarding the downing of the Russian warplane, while he underscored once again that Turkey would not apologize to Russia over the incident.

"The protection of borders, airspace is a national duty, and Turkey will not apologize to Russia over downed jet for carrying out this duty" Davutoğlu said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the sanctions on Saturday amid deteriorating relations between Ankara and Moscow since Tuesday's downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber over the Turkish-Syrian border.

The package of sanctions included bans on some Turkish exports, a prohibition on the hiring of Turkish nationals from next year and a suspension of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens.

Davutoğlu noted however that Ankara is "ready to talk" with Moscow to prevent similar incidents in the future, while he urged Russian citizens to continue visiting Turkey, a country referred to as a 'second home' by some Russian tourists.

"We will not escalate the tension, we will never do anything which will be seen negatively by Russian people" he added.

Russia on Sept. 30 began airstrikes in Syria that it says are focused on Daesh terrorists, but some observers say they target other rebel groups, including the Turkmens and are aimed at bolstering the forces of Bashar Assad.

Davutoğlu insisted a violation occurred, and said Turkey had repeatedly warned Russia about incursions into its airspace.

"We also made very clear that the Turkish-Syria border is a national security issue for Turkey. So it was a defensive action," Davutoglu said. He repeated Turkish assertions that there were no IS fighters in the area.

"We have been telling our Russian friends that their bombardments against civilians on our border is creating new waves of refugees which do not go to Russia or to any other country but coming to Turkey," he said.

"And Turkey, after every bombardment, (is) receiving more and more tens of thousands of refugees from Syria," Davutoğlu added. "Turkey is a country paying the price of this crisis."

Stoltenberg also supported Davutoğlu's statements and said that NATO allies fully support Turkey's right to protect its airspace and borders.

"All allies fully support Turkey's right to defend its airspace" Stoltenberg said.

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