Russian Sanctions Will Not Bring Turkey to Its Knees - Turkish Ambassador to Bulgaria
According to Turkish ambassador to Bulgaria His Excellency Suleyman Gokce, the sanctions imposed by Moscow in response to the downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber by two Turkish F-16 fighter jets on the Turkish-Syrian border on November 24, will not bring Ankara to its knees.
Gokce noted that Turkey is a great country, being the sixteenth largest economy in the world and part of G-20 and having ties with each part of the globe.
His Excellency expressed regret that the situation unfolded in this way, but this had not been initiated by Turkey.
In an interview for private bTV station on Saturday, the diplomat pointed that Russian measures are unilateral and seek to have short-term effect.
He foresees that in the medium term, the situation will settle and the measures will start working against the Russian interest.
In his words, Russia and Turkey have always maintained friendly relations and if this has not been the case then Ankara would have participated in the sanctions imposed by the west against Moscow over its involvement in Ukraine.
Gokce explained that following the start of Russian airstrikes in Syria on September 30, the first violation of Turkish airspace occurred on October 3, with the second following suit on October 4.
The first contacts between the two sides were established on October 5 and throughout October there were four or five different incidents of violations and dangerous escalation.
He explained that the incidents had been discussed between the two sides, with the Russian military authorities committing themselves to avoid repetition of such incidents.
Moreover, clear rules for entering combat had been established, which were shared with everyone, including with Russia. Despite these measures, incidents continued to occur.
On the day of the downing , ten warnings were issued in the space of five minutes on the special radio channel developed for avoiding such incidents.
However there was no reaction from the Russian aircraft, which maintained silence and remained unidentified.
Gokce was firm that Turkey has no intention to express apology to anyone and this had already been clearly stated at the political level.
In his words, it was more important that this incident could have been avoided through establishing good communication and showing good intentions.
According to him, Turkey acted with goodwill and consciousness, exercising its sovereign right to defend its airspace.
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