Turkey’s authorities have given interviews with western TV channels in an attempt to justify the destruction of the Russian warplane in the Syrian airspace earlier this week.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu expressed regrets about the incident with downing the Russian Su-24 jet but their statements also contained threats.
In an interview with France 24 TV channel on Thursday, Erdogan said Turkey "does not want tensions with Russia." "Had we known it was a Russian plane we may have acted differently," he said.
The Turkish president said he did not consider the incident as the source of tension and called for continuing cooperation with Russia.
In an interview with CNN, Erdogan warned Moscow that Turkey would take steps if its warplane was downed by the Russian S-400 missile system in case of violation of the Syrian airspace.
On Tuesday, a Turkish F-16 fighter jet brought down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber, which, Ankara alleges, violated the country’s airspace near the Syrian border. The Russian Defense Ministry said the warplane was flying over Syrian territory and had never violated Turkey’s airspace.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the attack on the Russian bomber would have "serious consequences" for Russian-Turkish relations. Action by the Turkish air force against the military jet, taking part in anti-terrorist operations in Syria and posing no threat to Turkey, was "a stab in Russia’s back", Putin said.
First published by TASS.
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