We will not apologize for doing our duty, Turkish PM says after NATO meeting

Turkey’s Prime Minister remained adamant on Monday that Ankara will not apologize for downing a Russian warplane over his country’s border with Syria last week, after securing strong support from NATO to for his military’s actions.

“No Prime Minister, no President, no Turkish authority will apologize for doing our duty,” Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg six days after the incident. “Protection of Turkish airspace, Turkish borders is a national duty and our army did they job to protect our airspace.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear that there will be no dialog with Turkey until Ankara issues an apology for shooting down the Su-24M tactical bomber close to the Turkey-Syria border.

Exactly where the strike took place remains a matter of dispute, with Turkey insisting that the Russian warplane made an incursion into Turkish airspace, and Russia countering that it was the Turkish fighter that illegally crossed into Syrian airspace to shoot down the Russian bomber.

“All Allies fully support Turkey’s right to defend its territorial integrity and its airspace” the NATO Secretary General said at the press conference.

Stoltenberg also highlighted the need to avoid similar situations in the future.

“Last week’s incident shows how important it is to strengthen international mechanisms to build stability, transparency and predictability in our relationship with Russia,” Stoltenberg said “This is key to reducing the risks of incidents and accidents.”

Risk reduction and transparency on military activities will be discussed at the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers on 1 and 2 December, Stoltenberg announced.

Meanwhile, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin called the downing of the warplane a “backstab” from a country that he considered a friend, and yesterday signed a decree imposing economic sanctions against Turkey.

The decree includes the prohibition or restriction of the activities of Turkish organizations in Russia, the ban on the import of Turkish goods, a ban on the employment of workers from Turkey, a partial suspension of the visa-free regime and a ban on charter flights between Russia and Turkey.

Davutoğlu called Russian government hypocritical for imposing sanctions against Turkey while railing at other nations for imposing sanctions against Moscow over Russia’s annexation of Crimea.