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No war with Turkey over downed warplane, says Russia

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

RUSSIA’S Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, has described the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey as a “planned provocation” but said the two countries would not go to war over the incident.

“We have serious doubts about this being an unpremeditated act, it really looks like a planned provocation,” Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow yesterday. 

Lavrov, who cancelled a trip to Istanbul scheduled for yesterday, said Moscow would seriously reconsider its relations with Ankara over the downed plane.

“Our attitude to the Turkish people has not changed. We have questions over the action of Turkey’s current leadership,” he said.

The Russian Sukhoi Su-24 warplane was shot down on Tuesday for allegedly violating Turkish airspace, angering Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who compared the incident to being “stabbed in the back”.

One of its two pilots was shot and killed after parachuting from the burning plane, while his crewmate was rescued by Syrian forces and delivered in good condition at a Russian airbase in Latakia province.

Turkey has defended itself, saying the jet had crossed into its airspace from Syria.

Speaking at an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation economy meeting in Istanbul yesterday, Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said shooting down the plane was necessary for security, but added that his country did not want an escalation of the situation.

“Turkey is never on the side of tension or hostility. We’re always for peace and diplomacy. And we will maintain that attitude. We will not tolerate our borders being violated. And no one should expect us to. We do not have any intension to escalate any situation, we are only defending our security,” Erdogan said.

Turkey, Russia and their respective allies have entered a war of words after the incident, raising tensions in a region struggling to cope with the ongoing Syrian conflict.

Russia’s defence ministry has announced suspension of military cooperation with Turkey, and Moscow is deploying its state-of-the-art air defence missile at the Hemeimeem airbase in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia.

Both Putin and Lavrov have warned Russian citizens against travelling to Turkey in the aftermath of the incident.



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