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Wednesday, November 25

Turkey's PM trips himself with his tongue: I gave order to shoot down Russia's jet

Turkish Prime Minister: I Gave Order to Shoot Down Russia's Plane Myself
22:12 - 25.11.2015 (updated 23:38)

As details continue to emerge about the downing of a Russian bomber along the Turkey-Syria border on Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has admitted to personally giving the order to fire on the aircraft, Canadian news outlet ThinkPol reported.

Hours after the incident which destroyed a Russian Su-24 bomber and left one pilot dead, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went on the defensive, blaming an alleged incursion of Turkish airspace.

"We did not want this situation to happen, but everybody has to respect Turkey’s right to defend its borders," he told reporters, adding that the military’s actions were "fully in line with Turkey’s rules of engagement."

Many of the Turkish claims have already been called into question, raising doubts that the incident was a mere in-the-moment misunderstanding. Adding to that doubt are comments made by Davutoglu on Wednesday, in which he took direct responsibility for the crash.

"Despite all the warnings, we had to destroy the aircraft," he said during a meeting with his party, according to Canadian news site ThinkPol. "The Turkish Armed Forces carried out orders given by me personally."  

[Pundita note: The surviving Russian navigator asserts that the Turks gave no warning whatsover.]

Given the speed with which the incident occurred, it’s hard to know what to make of Davutoglu’s claim. According to the Turkish government’s own letter of explanation written to the United Nations Security Council, the military gave the Russian jet a series of warnings during a five-minute stretch, warning the pilots to move away from the border.

While the Russian Ministry of Defense has provided video evidence proving that the bomber never entered Turkish airspace, Ankara’s claim alleges that the incursion occurred for only 17 seconds.

It’s hard to imagine military personnel getting through to such a high-ranking government official, explaining the situation, and still having time to fire in a 17-second time frame.

Davutoglu’s statements seem to back up comments made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier on Wednesday, suggesting that the incident had been premeditated.

"We have serious doubts that it was unintentional, it looks like a planned provocation," he said. "We are not planning to wage a war against Turkey, our attitude towards the Turkish people has not changed. We have questions only to the Turkish leadership."

In response, Turkey’s Western allies in NATO have urged for calm.



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