ANKARA/LONDON: Nato member Turkey has “temporarily” suspended air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria after the downing of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border sparked a major row with Moscow, local media reported on Friday.
Turkish F-16 jets on Tuesday shot down a Russian warplane which Ankara said had breached its air space. Russia on Thursday vowed to carry out broad retaliatory measures against Turkey’s economy.
Turkey, a member of a US-led coalition fighting IS, has halted air raids against the group in Syria in order to avoid any further crises, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.
“Both sides agreed to act cautiously until they re-establish dialogue channels to reduce tensions,” the paper said, citing security sources.
Government officials contacted by media were not immediately available for comment.
The downing of the plane sparked a grave crisis in relations between the two countries, with Russian President Vladimir Putin calling it a “stab in the back” and demanding an apology from Turkish leadership.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has angrily rebuffed the Kremlin’s demand for an apology and said Putin snubbed a phone call from him after the incident.
Kremlin says Turkey’s Erdogan requests meeting with Putin in Paris
The Kremlin said on Friday that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had requested a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Paris on Nov 30.
“A proposal from the Turkish side about a meeting at the level of heads of state has been delivered to the president,” Dmitry Peskov told journalists on a conference call. “That’s all I can say.”
Putin and Erdogan will attend the global climate summit that begins in Paris on November 30.
Turkey wants to ‘calm tensions’ with Russia: PM
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 militant Islamic State (IS) 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 militants.
“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.
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.
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