Erdogan: 'Pilot's mistake' mustn't hurt Russia-Turkey ties

13:18, 14 December 2015
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Relations between Ankara and Moscow must not be affected by a "mistake of a pilot," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, in another bid to smooth tensions following the November 24 downing of a Russian warplane by Turkish jets, according to Hurriyet Daily News.


"We wouldn't have wanted to come across such a [situation], but looking from another perspective a mistake has been made in our sovereign area. Who made this mistake? Not the manager, of course. It is the pilots who were negligent and did not hear the warnings," Erdogan told reporters aboard the presidential plane returning to Turkey from the Turkmenistan capital Ashgabat, the report says.

He was referring to the two pilots inside a Russian Su-24 warplane that was shot down by Turkish F-16 fighter jets after violating Turkish airspace along the border with Syria.

"We are not in favor of tension. We want to continue our strategic partnership and relations with Russia in the same way as we have up to now. We have worked together successfully for the past 10 to 11 years. We want to continue this," he said.

Erdogan said he held talks with the heads of states of countries that are neighbors to or have close ties with Russia in the region, stating that those states were also trying to help find a solution to the crisis.

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