The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, says his country will not apologise to Russia for downing one of its warplanes over the Syrian border.
Speaking in an interview with CNN, Mr Erdoğan said Turkish F16 fighter jets were “simply fulfilling their duties” when they shot down an Su-24 bomber which, Turkey claims, entered its airspace for 17 seconds.
Two Russian servicemen were killed in the incident – one pilot who was shot by members of the rebel Turkmen Brigade as he parachuted down in hostile Syrian territory, and a Russian marine sent as part of a search team to recover the lost pilots.
Vladimir Putin has described the incident as a “stab in the back” from Turkey, and Russia’s foreign ministry repeated on Thursday that the country was “clearly an accomplice of terrorists”.
But Mr Erdoğan told CNN: “Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologise.
“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.”