Daily Management Review

Turkey Refuses to Budge at NATO Over Downing of Russian Fighter Jet


11/30/2015




Turkey Refuses to Budge at NATO Over Downing of Russian Fighter Jet
After winning strong NATO support for the right to defend itself, Turkey's prime minister dismissed on Monday any suggestion Ankara should apologize for downing a Russian warplane in its airspace last week.
 
Calls for calm have gone largely unheeded as Ankara refuses to back down and Russia responds with sanctions even after six days after NATO member Turkey shot down the Russian fighter jet in the first known incident of its kind since the Cold War.
 
"No country should ask us to apologize," Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters following a meeting with NATO's secretary general at the alliance headquarters in Brussels.
 
"The protection of our land borders, our airspace, is not only a right, it is a duty. We apologize for committing mistakes, not for doing our duty," he said.
 
Russia is waiting for an apology after Turkey's air force shot down the Su-24 fighter jet along the Turkey-Syria border, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on November 26.
 
Davutoglu 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. He said this after a meeting with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in which he won the alliance's firm support for the right to self-defense.
 
"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.
 
Stoltenberg called for new emergency procedures to be agreed with Moscow to avoid triggering conflict by accident with the aim to calm the situation. He included every aspect - whether that was during bombing raids in Syria or war games conducted by Russia and NATO.
 
As Russia's military activities from the Baltics to the Middle East come right up to - and sometimes stray over - NATO borders, the organization’s foreign ministers are expected to discuss such procedures at a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.
 
The rules for large-scale exercises and other military activity, as well as telephone hotlines and other military communication channels that were documented in the Cold War-era treaty known as the Vienna document should be revamped, suggested Stoltenberg.
 
"It has to be modernized because there are several loopholes," Stoltenberg said.
 
Russia and Israel avoided flare-ups after a Russian warplane operating in Syria strayed into Israeli-controlled airspace and the Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon on Sunday underscored the coordination with Russia that allowed the avoidance of the situation. The Russian fighter jet turned back after the two countries conferred.
 
Turkey was put at odds directly against Russia after the latter suddenly intervened in the four-year-old Syrian civil war in September and wrong-footed the West. Both Turkey and the West are against Assad’s regime while Russia is seen as a support of the Syrian President. On the other hand Turkey shares a long border with Syria and has been troubled by Assad’s regime.
 
The French-led diplomatic effort to bring Moscow closer into the fold of nations seeking to destroy Islamic State through military action in Syria as well as the Turkish-Russian relations have been wrecked by the downing of the Russian warplane.
 
(Surce:www.reuters.com) 






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