Everyone now knows Turkey will not hesitate to take necessary steps to ensure its security, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Friday.
“Everyone has seen that Turkey will not hesitate to take necessary steps in case there is a problem related to our security,” Davutoglu told journalists on his way back to Ankara from his Azerbaijan visit.
His remarks came after the downing of a Russian warplane on Nov. 24 that violated Turkey’s airspace despite repeated warnings on the Turkish-Syrian border. Since then, Russia has announced a series of economic sanctions against Turkey.
“I wonder if Russia would have tolerated such [an intrusion by a] jet belonging to Turkey or any NATO member if it had violated the airspace during an operation in eastern Ukraine,” he said, adding that the example he gave was just for the sake of comparison and no such operation was being planned.
Earlier in the day, Davutoglu highlighted the fact that Turkey had done nothing wrong by applying its rules of engagement and exercising its legitimate right to self-defense against an unidentified plane that entered Turkish airspace on Nov. 24.
“Nobody can blame Turkey for this or wait for any apology. We will not apologize for protecting our borders,” he said.
Davutoglu also pointed out that the incident took place on the Turkey-Syria border, not on the border between Turkey and Russia or Syria and Russia.
“The crisis in Syria affects Turkey more than any other countries,” he said adding: “All people in Syria are our brothers, including the Turkmens, the Kurds and the Arabs in Aleppo”.
However, he said that Turkmens in Bayirbucak were especially on Turkey’s agenda since “they are under a big threat now”.
The Syrian region of Bayirbucak close to Yayladagi district of Turkey’s southern Hatay province is home to Syrian Turkmens – a Turkic ethnic group – who have fled their homes following airstrikes from the regime of Bashar al-Assad with Russian support.
Thousands of Turkmens have been displaced by the fighting around Bayirbucak. Around 2,000 people have recently sought shelter in Turkey.
Turkey does not approve cantons in Syria, whether they are Turks, Kurds, or Arabs, Davutoglu said.
“Such ethnic-based cantons would later result in those ethnicities splitting away from each other,” he said. “On the contrary, such ethnic groups should become even closer. Those who want to change the borders in the Middle East support such ideas of cantons,” he added.
He pointed to the need “for a new political understanding which cares for the rights of every people and groups, as well as for the unity and brotherhood of Syria”.
The crisis in Syria is already an international problem, Turkish premier said. “We either will all come together and find a solution, or, we will all have to face the negative results…
“Every type of support from NATO and its member states will prevent the possible provocative actions in the region, in addition to contributing to the stability of Syria,” he added.
Recently, the U.K. decided to send its aircraft to Turkey’s Incirlik Airbase in Adana province while Germany and Denmark also said they will send command ships to NATO forces in the Mediterranean.
Davutoglu added that Germany had also asked to use the Incirlik Airbase in Adana, close to the Syrian border, to join the fight against Daesh.