‘Turkey’s right to protect borders should be respected’

Ankara, Nov 25 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said everyone must respect Turkey’s right to protect its borders.

“Turkey holds no grudges toward its neighbouring countries. Undoubtedly, we did our best to prevent the recent incident,” Xinhua quoted Erdogan as saying on Tuesday in Ankara.

He explained that Turkish F-16 jets “intercepted an unidentified warplane according to globally acknowledged rules of engagement.”

Despite 10 warnings, the aircraft “continued to violate” Turkish airspace, forcing the jets to down one of the two warplanes, stated Erdogan, without identifying the aircraft as Russian.

The president did not directly address the ongoing Russian airstrikes against Syria, targeting Turkmen groups located there, yet he said that Moscow was attacking groups of “Bayirbucak Turkmen”.

“We condemn the attacks on our brethren Bayirbuck Turkmen,” he said.

The Turkish government previously warned Russia to halt its regional operations, as, according to Ankara, the airstrikes targeted the Turkmen.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned the Russian envoy in Ankara, displeased by the airstrikes against Turkmen villages in northern Syria.

On the other hand, Russia’s Defence Ministry, in its latest released statement, said that the Russian Su-24 plane was shot down by a Turkish F-16 jet on its way back to Syria’s Hmeimim airbase, the location of a Russian anti-terrorism-strikes air force group.

However, insisting that readout data-analysis clearly revealed no violation of Turkish airspace, the ministry summoned Turkey’s military envoy in Russia.

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