At a recent NATO conference in Brussels, Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that no world leader was entitled to ask his country to apologize for last week’s incident because the Turks were just doing their job.
Davutoglu added that the downing of the Russian military aircraft at the border with Syria was a ‘defensive action.’ Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary-general, commented and said that the country had the right to defend its airspace.
According to initial official reports, Turkey had to take down the Russian jet after it ignored ten warnings to leave airspace. The pilot was shot down while in mid-air by Syrian rebels, while the co-pilot was taken back to safety by Russian rescue forces on the Syrian territory. The dead pilot’s body was flown to his home country on Monday.
But later reports showed that the Russian jet was in the Turkish airspace for 17 seconds, which would make Turkey’s claims that it issued 10 warnings before the downing highly unlikely to be true. Russia President Vladimir Putin deemed Turkey’s move a “stab in the back” in the fight against international terrorism.
Russia now demands apologies and is set to take action against Turkey, including economic measures. The Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Putin will be both present at the U.N. climate talks slated to start Monday in Paris. President Erdogan was ‘saddened’ by the situation.
Turkey also said that it wasn’t the first time Russia violated its airspace. Yet, the Turkish action may undermine the weak attempts to create an international alliance against the Islamic State and its allies.
Russia is now focused to support Syrian President Bashar Assad in his fight against extremists. Turkey also pledged to fight Islamic State in Syria but it backs anti-Assad groups just like its ally, the U.S. Last week, the Russian jet was targeting one of these groups.
Yet, the Paris attacks in Nov. 13 prompted Europe to take urgent steps toward a coalition against international terrorism. Since then France’s president Francois Hollande had been in talks with various world leaders including Russia’s President, Obama, Turkey’s leaders and many more to find the best solution to the terrorist crisis.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks which resulted in 130 deaths and hundreds of injured people. World leaders failed to build an alliance by now because there are conflicting interests in the issue. And, Turkey’s recent actions may make a coalition against terrorism an even more daunting task.
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