Erdogan: We wish jet downing hadn’t happened

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Turkey’s president on Saturday said that he was saddened by the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkish forces. Ankara has advised its nationals to postpone all non-urgent travel to Russia.

Addressing supporters on Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again defended Turkey’s action and criticized Russia for its action in Syria before expressing his regrets.

Erdogna said: “We wish it hadn’t happened, but it happened. I hope something like this doesn’t happen again.”

He says both sides should approach the issue in a more positive way. He says a meeting in Paris would be an opportunity to overcome tensions.

Earlier, Turkey advised its nationals on Saturday to postpone all non-urgent travel to Russia, the latest move in an escalating row between Moscow and Ankara over a Russian jet downed by Turkey on Tuesday.

NATO member Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement that following difficulties faced by Turkish visitors and residents in Russia, it advised Turks to postpone all non-urgent travel.

The ministry said it issued the warning because Turkish travelers were facing “problems” in Russia.

It said Turks should delay travel plans until “the situation becomes clear.”

Turkey’s downing of the Russian military jet Tuesday, the first time in half a century that a NATO member shot down a Russian plane, has drawn a harsh response from Moscow.

Russia has since restricted tourist travel, left Turkish trucks stranded at the border, confiscated large quantities of Turkish food imports and started preparing a raft of broader economic sanctions.

Erdogan warned Russia on Friday not to “play with fire”, citing reports Turkish businessmen had been detained in Russia, while Moscow said it would suspend visa-free travel with Turkey.

Agencies

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