Turkish army: We didn’t know the downed plane was Russian
Turkey’s army said on Wednesday night it did not know the warplane it downed on the Syrian border was Russian, adding it was ready for “all kinds of cooperation” with the Russian military authorities following the incident, according to AFP.
In a statement, the Turkish armed forces also said they had made significant efforts to find and rescue the pilots after the jet was shot down.
“The nationality of the plane was not known… and the rules of engagement were automatically used,” the Turkish military was quoted byAFP as having said.
It added that had invited Russian defense and military attaches to its Ankara headquarters to explain the incident.
It also informed Moscow’s military authorities of its readiness for “all kinds of cooperation,” the statement added.
Earlier, the Turkish army released a series of audio recordings of apparent warnings issued to the Russian jet before it was downed near the Syrian border – even as a rescued Russian pilot from the jet claimed Turkey shot with no warning.
“This is Turkish Air Force speaking on guard. You are approaching Turkish airspace. Change your heading south immediately,” a voice in one of the recordings can be heard saying in English, repeating the message several times.
The surviving pilot of the Su-24 bomber shot down on Tuesday said earlier that no warning had been given and the aircraft did not violate the Turkish air space.
“There was no warning, not by radio exchange nor visually. There was no contact at all,” said navigator Konstantin Murakhtin, who promised to return to duty, adding: “I have to pay back the debt for my commander.”
Turkey insists that it gave 10 warnings to the Russian plane in five minutes, in claims the U.S. military has backed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday branded the incident a “stab in the back committed by accomplices of terrorists”.
And, on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the downing of the fighter jet by Turkey appeared to be a “planned provocation”, though he stressed the countries would not go to war over the incident.
“We have serious doubts about this being an unpremeditated act, it really looks like a planned provocation,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow after speaking with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“We do not plan to go to war with Turkey, our attitude toward the Turkish people has not changed,” Lavrov added, stressing that Moscow would however “seriously reevaluate” its ties with Ankara.
“Such attacks are absolutely unacceptable,” he said.