PARIS (AVRUPA TIMES) Turkey’s president on Tuesday called for a diplomatic solution to the row between Turkey and Russia over the shooting down of a military jet last week.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said tension between the countries would “harm both sides”. Following the downing of a Russian warplane for violating Turkey’s airspace near the Syrian border on Nov. 24., Russia announced sanctions against Turkey and President Vladimir Putin has alleged Turkish involvement in buying oil from Daesh.
“What we aim for here is not to end up a loser but to contribute to regional peace by turning it [this situation] into peace,” Erdogan said after a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Paris.
He added: “Our cause here is how we can settle this issue under diplomatic chapters and discourse.”
Russia has announced a ban on Turkish food imports as well as calling for Russian tourists to boycott Turkey. Putin has insisted that Ankara apologize for the incident, in which one pilot was killed, but Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has refused to apologize for defending Turkey’s border.
Addressing a news conference at the U.S. embassy in Paris with Erdogan, Obama reiterated U.S. support for Turkey.
“I want to be very clear,” he said. “Turkey is a NATO ally. Along with our allies, the United States supports Turkey’s right to defend itself and its airspace and its territory. And we’re very much committed to Turkey’s security and its sovereignty.”
Obama said they two leaders had discussed “how Turkey and Russia can work together to de-escalate tensions and find a diplomatic path to resolve this issue.”
The pair also focused on the fight against Daesh and finding a political solution in Syria.
“We all have a common enemy and that is ISIL,” Obama said, using another acronym for Daesh. “I want to make sure that we focus on that threat and I want to make sure that we remain focused on the need to bring about some sort of political resolution in Syria.”
He also thanked Turkey for its generosity towards refugees fleeing the Syrian war.
Erdogan brought up the offensive launched by the Syrian regime, backed by Russian airstrikes, against Turkmen areas in northwestern Syria and refuted claims that Daesh was operating in the area.
“It is a really grievous development for world peace that this place has come under continuous shelling and over 500 people, including civilians, have been killed over the last three months,” he said.
Thousands of Turkmen, a Turkic ethnic group, have been displaced by fighting around Bayirbucak. Around 2,000 have recently sought shelter in Turkey.
Following the meeting, Erdogan left Paris, where he had been attending a UN climate change summit, to head for Qatari capital Doha on his private plane.