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Erdogan: Turkey had the right to down Russian plane

December 24, 2015 at 11:08 am

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stressed his position that Turkey had the right to down the Russian fighter jet that violated its airspace towards the end of November, saying that he has compelling evidence to prove so.

Erdogan’s remarks, which were made yesterday in a speech given at the presidential compound in the Turkish capital Ankara, came in response to Moscow’s announcement that it is unable to read information from the damaged black box of the downed aircraft.

The Turkish president stressed Turkey’s confidence in its own intelligence regarding the downing of the Russian plane.

Read: The Turkey-Russia row and a changing balance of power

Erdogan said that “the whole world” knows that Turkey had the right to down the Russian plane, adding that Russian propaganda makes him less hopeful about the outcome of any information retrieved from the plane’s black box.

Erdogan criticised some of the Turkish opposition forces that have supported the Russian position.

“We previously thought that some opposition factions in Turkey stand on the Russians’ side because of ideological harmony [between them]. But the incident of the downing of the Russian plane showed that the support offered by some liberals, nationalists and leftists for the Russians does not stem from ideological harmony but from their animosity to the Turkish nation and state,” he said.

Erdogan specifically criticised the positions of those whom he described as “mouthpieces for the terrorist organisations that threaten Turkey’s security and safety”, referencing the Republican People’s Party (CHP) whose leader is currently on a visit to Moscow.

“We must stop those politicians who speak for the terrorist organisations that spread destruction in various areas in our country,” the Turkish premier added.

Erdogan also addressed the issue of changing the country’s political system from parliamentary to presidential, noting that the majority of developed countries are ruled by presidential elections, and expressed doubt regarding the motives of Turkish opposition parties that reject Turkey’s transition to a presidential system.

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