Istanbul, Nov 26 () - Allies of Turkey urged for calm between Ankara and Moscow, after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border on Nov. 24, citing airspace violations despite repeated warnings from the Turkish side.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stated that Turkish information over the downed Russian jet’s air space violation was correct, contrary to the Russian claims.
“The allied assessments that we have are consistent with the information we have from Turkey,” the NATO chief said after an emergency meeting in Brussels on Nov. 24.
“We stand in solidarity with Turkey, support its territorial integrity,” Stoltenberg added.
European Union president Donald Tusk called for calm on Nov. 24 after Turkey, a candidate for membership of the bloc, shot down a Russian war plane.
“In this dangerous moment after the downing of the Russian jet, all should remain cool headed and calm,” tweeted Tusk, the former Polish prime minister.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, meanwhile, said she had spoken to Stoltenberg about the incident. “Need to avoid escalation #Turkey #Russia,” the former Italian foreign minister also tweeted.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation EU, said it was “following developments closely” and “trying to find out exactly what happened.”
The Turkish and U.S. presidents, Tayyip Erdoğan and Barack Obama, discussed the issue during a phone conversation late Nov. 24 and agreed on the need to de-escalate tension between Ankara and Moscow.
At the meeting, Obama expressed “U.S. and NATO support for Turkey’s right to defend its sovereignty,” the White House and the Turkish Presidency said in separate statements. “The leaders agreed on the importance of de-escalating the situation and pursuing arrangements to ensure that such incidents do not happen again,” read the statements.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also called for a de-escalation in tensions.
“Of course, every country has the right to protect its territory,” Merkel said on Nov. 25 during a speech at the preliminary session of the German parliament, the Bundestag, in Berlin.
“But we also know what kind of a tense situation we have in Syria and in the surrounding region. I talked with the Turkish prime minister yesterday and urged him to do everything to de-escalate the situation,” she said.
Merkel said the downing of the Russian aircraft further complicated the situation in Syria, but underlined that only a political solution could end the civil war in Syria.
“It is important that all the actors which are indispensable for a solution to the Syria conflict sit at the same table, Russia, the U.S., the Europeans, the Arabian states, Iran and Turkey,” she added.
Merkel also expressed hope that the Vienna talks, which enabled global and regional actors to sit around the same table for a solution to the Syria conflict, would not be hampered by the downing of the Russian warplane.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Nov. 24 also called for urgent measures to de-escalate tensions. Ban said a “credible and thorough review” of the incident would help clarify what happened and prevent a repeat.
“The secretary-general urges all relevant parties to take urgent measures with a view to de-escalate the tensions,” said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.