Amid complicated security and economic situation and mass purges of “disloyal” officials in Turkey, Ankara is seeking to avoid responsibility of the downning Russian warplane in Syria last year.
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek told journalists on July 25 that the decision to shot down the Russian warplane conducting an anti-terrorist operation in Syria in November 2015 was a personal decision of the Turkish pilot.
“The decision was taken personally by the pilot,” he said, adding that “Turkey has no hostile feelings to Russia, and will never have.”
This is very interesting attitude, especially amid the previous statements of the Turkish leadership.
For example, on Novermber 27, 2015 in an exclusive CNN intervew Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey will not apologize for downing a Russian warplane near the Turkish border.
“I think if there is a party that needs to apologize, it is not us,” Erdogan said. “Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize. Our pilots and our armed forces, they simply fulfilled their duties, which consisted of responding to … violations of the rules of engagement. I think this is the essence.”
Separately, in a meeting with community leaders in the Turkish capital, the Turkish president said,
“If the same violation occurs today, Turkey has to react the same way.”
On November 24, a Russian Su-24 frontline bomber was shot down near the Turkish border in Syria by two intercepting Turkish F-16s. SU-24 was attacked insidiously and unexpectedly. The Turkish officials were not able to prove with facts that the downed warplane was warned. The two pilots ejected: 1-st pilot was killed in a savage way on the ground by Turkish-backed jihadists in the area. 2-nd pilot was managed to esape and was picked up by the Syrian Army.