Thu Dec 14 2017, 3:40:36 +03

Turkey not to apologize, ready to talk to Russia: Davutoglu

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(Brussels- AlummahWorld, Safar 19, 1437, December 1, 2015) Turkey will not apologize for downing an aircraft that violated its airspace, but the country is ready to hold talks with Russia, Turkish premier said Monday.

Addressing a joint press conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu underscored Turkey’s readiness to hold talks with Russia to defuse tensions arising in the aftermath of the downing of a Russian bomber jet on Nov. 24.

Anadolu Agency quoted PM Davutoglu as saying "If Russian side wants talks and prevent any future event like this, we are ready to talk,".

"If they want information, we can give any information regarding this incident; if they want to improve relations, we are ready to talk," he added.
However, concerning Russia’s demand for an apology, Davutoglu said that Turkey could not be asked to apologize for doing its duty to protect its border and airspace.

"The protection of our airspace [and] land border is not only a right, but duty for my government," he said. "No authority will apologize because of doing [its] duty. Protection of Turkish borders is a national duty and our army did their job to protect its airspace."

In response to the incident, Russia introduced a host of measures against Turkey, including imposing economic sanctions, announcing an end to the visa-free regime and calling on Russian tourists to not visit the country on security grounds. It placed a ban on some Turkish goods and forbid extensions of labor contracts for Turkish citizens working in Russia as of Jan 1.

Davutoglu criticized the decision to impose economic sanctions on Turkey, recalling that when Western powers sanctioned Russia over the Ukraine crisis, the Kremlin had strongly criticized the move.

"Russia was against economic sanctions themselves, it is contradictory to use the same measure, which was criticized by them when other countries did so in Ukraine," Davutoglu said.
He also called on Russian citizens to continue visiting Turkey, which is a major tourist attraction for them.

While the NATO chief backed Turkey's right to protect border and airspace, he also said that the alliance would support efforts to defuse tensions. "We support Turkey's efforts to make contact with Russia," Stoltenberg said.

"All allies fully support Turkey’s right to defend its territorial integrity and its airspace," Stoltenberg said. "I welcome Turkey’s efforts to establish contact with Moscow to de-escalate the situation."

"It is important to stay calm and to calm tensions; I urge Russia to play a constructive role in Syria by targeting ISIL -our common enemy," he added, referring to the terrorist Daesh group by an alternative acronym.