Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday sought to ease tensions with Moscow over the downing of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border, calling for unity against the Islamic State group.
“While the measures to defend our territory will remain in place, Turkey will work with Russia and our allies to calm tensions,” Davutoglu wrote in Friday’s edition of The Times in London.
“The downing of an unidentified jet in Turkish airspace was not — and is not — an act against a specific country,” he said.
Davutoglu emphasised that the international community should unite against a “common enemy”.
“The international community must not turn on itself. Otherwise the only victors will be Daesh… and the Syrian regime,” he said, using an Arabic term for IS jihadists.
“The focus should be to tackle, head-on, the international threat that Daesh poses, securing the future of Syria and seeking a solution to the current refugee crisis,” he said.
Russia has vowed to carry out broad retaliatory measures against Turkey’s economy to avenge the downing of its warplane by Turkey earlier this week.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday angrily rebuffed the Kremlin’s demands for an apology and said his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, had snubbed a phone call from him after the incident.
The downing of the plane on the Syrian border has raised fears it could fuel a wider geopolitical conflict, and highlighted the difficulty of forging consensus on Syria.