Tag Archives: Angela Merkel

Erdogan ‘Trying to Outdo Ataturk’: Germany’s Genocide Vote Sends Shockwaves

Germany’s Bundestag passed a resolution to recognize the Armenian Genocide of 1915, at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. In response, Ankara recalled its German ambassador and Turkish President Erdogan threatened to retaliate.

Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear spoke with journalist William Whiteman about Berlin’s motivation for the vote and its potential to derail the refugee deal between Turkey and the European Union.

“You have to take into consideration the weight of the Holocaust on the German psyche,” Whiteman said. “Any kind of genocide or injustice, generally they will have a huge amount of sympathy towards it.” He suggested that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stepped lightly so as to not upset a recently brokered EU-Turkey migrant exchange deal.

“Merkel seems to have been doing some logistical maneuvering to try and avoid the vote happening, because this an incredibly sensitive issue for Turkey, they have always acted incredibly violently, in terms of their rhetoric, to anyone who moves to recognize the Armenian genocide. So, it has been a huge problem for the Merkel Administration.”Host Brian Becker commented that “the Merkel Administration positioned itself in the beginning as being welcoming and sympathetic, but since then there’s been a right-wing opposition against the influx of refugees into Germany,” and asked Whiteman about the terms of Turkey’s migrant deal with the EU.

“Human Rights Organizations have been outraged by it,” Whiteman said, adding, “The whole principle behind it is that Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees, people who are fleeing conflicts, who have managed to reach Turkey, are now being traded with people who are fleeing North Africa and the Middle East from countries where there aren’t conflicts raging. There’s been a report saying that very few refugees have actually changed hands. Essentially, this is just [an obstacle to] the flow of refugees and migrants who are attempting to cross into Europe.”

Whiteman suggested that the initial positive response in Germany to refugees has been countered by right-wing media stoking racism by painting the influx as part of an “Islamization”of Europe. Adding to this pressure, the Balkan states have closed their borders to refugees.

Becker remarked that Turkey’s Erdogan is facing political isolation after stripping parliament members of immunity, forcing out former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and suppressing journalists and anyone else who opposes him. He asked Whiteman whether Erdogan’s action will create anti-German sentiments in Turkey.

Nationalism in Turkey goes beyond Erdogan, and even the 1915 Genocide, Whiteman responded. “It goes right back to the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire,” he said.

“Even though Kemal Ataturk, the person who set up the modern Turkish Republic, was very much opposed to the Ottomans, he detested them, he had this slogan of ‘one nation, one people’ and this lead to the oppression of Kurds and others within Turkey. Languages were suppressed, everyone was supposed to speak Turkish. So the formation of the modern Turkish state is a nationalist creation essentially. So this has everything to do with nationalism and nationalist pride. Erdogan is trying to outdo Ataturk.”

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‘Super Sunday’ Regional Elections in Germany to Test Merkel’s Coalition

Three German regions will vote on Sunday in parliamentary elections that are widely seen as a test for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her ruling coalition ahead of the next year’s general election.

A total of 13 million voters will cast their ballots in the western states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate, as well as in Saxony-Anhalt in the east. The “Super Sunday” will take place in an atmosphere of concern over Merkel’s open-arms policy on refugees.

The arrival of over a million of migrants at the German border last year looks likely to make it a single-issue election and cost the Conservatives and their coalition partners in the Social Democratic camp votes, the recent opinion polls have shown.

The upcoming vote will be the first opportunity for Germans to deliver their verdict on how the government has been handling the migrant crisis since the chancellor threw the doors open to war refugees coming to Europe from Syria last summer.

The fiercely anti-EU, anti-migrant Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) party has meanwhile been making gains all across the country. The populist party has seats in five of the 16 regional legislatures and looks set to grab more in the three regions, where it can win between 10-18 percent of votes.

‘Dirty Bargain’: Turkey, EU Forge Deal With Syrian Blood on Their Hands

As the Turkish government continues its crackdown on the free press, columnist Kemal Okuyan speaks to Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear to expose how this relates to Ankara’s deal with the European Union to stem the flow of refugees.

“I have to say that this is a real dirty bargain,” Okuyan, a leading columnist with Turkish newspaper SoL, tells Loud & Clear host Brian Becker. “The refugee crisis, I think, is an outcome of the terrorist acts of NATO, Turkey, and other reactionary forces in the region.”

 https://www.spreaker.com/embed/player/standard?episode_id=7958257

According to Okuyan, Ankara is manipulating the crisis in order to achieve its own ends with the European Union.”This was on purpose, by the Turkish government,” he says. “And we know that Turkey encouraged people to go by boat through the sea to the Greek islands.

“Now they are using this to blackmail the European Union.”

As part of negotiations with the EU, Ankara wants over 3 billion euros, visa exceptions, Western ground forces in Syria, as well as the enforcement of a terrorist-free zone in neighboring Syria.

While Turkey may be taking advantage of a humanitarian crisis for its own gains, the European Union isn’t entirely innocent, either.

“The European Union is also one of the actors in the Syrian [conflict],” Okuyan says. “Especially Germany, France, Britain. They have their hands in Syria, so they are also responsible for this big human tragedy.”

While the Erdogan government may have sights on joining the EU, it could face problems due to its harsh press laws.

“Nearly three-fourths of the daily newspapers printed in Turkey are in the hands of Erdogan,” Okuyan says.

“There are a lot of journalists in prison in Turkey,” he adds. “There is also blackmailing, [where] you are not arrested, directly, but they say if you have another problem, then you will be put into prison.”

Still, as all sides use the refugee crisis for their own political gain, millions of people are suffering.

“In Turkey, the refugees are in terrible conditions,” Okuyan says. “When you see photos of people [who have] died when crossing to the Greek islands, these are not only accidents, they are killed on purpose for their money.

“They sabotage the boats.”

‘Not consistent with intl law’: UN lambasts EU-Turkey ‘quick fix’ deal on refugee returns

The UN refugee agency has criticized the deal struck between the EU and Ankara which seeks to send refugees back to Turkey. The UNHCR says the agreement will expose migrants to huge risks, as well as break EU and international laws on the right to protection.

Ankara offered to take back all those who cross through its borders into the EU, while resettling the same number of Syrian refugees in the EU. In return in asked for billions more in cash, as well as expedited talks on EU membership and a rapid implementation of visa-free travel. The 28 EU members agreed and the decision is set to be completed by March 17-18, pending more work by officials.

But according to the UNHCR, the decision is a “quick fix” that will create a fragmented flow of refugees all trying to find ways back into the EU.

Speaking at a UN briefing on Tuesday, Vincent Cochetel, the UNHCR Europe Bureau Director, stressed that “collective expulsion of foreigners is prohibited under the European Convention on Human Rights. An agreement that would be tantamount to a blanket return of any foreigners to a third country is not consistent with European law, is not consistent with international law.”

Another key problem associated with the decision, according to the UNHCR, is that the refugee flow would be fragmented, resulting in disparate groups that are all trying to return to the EU. “As long as the conflict is not solved, it’s a myth to believe that the people will not try to leave. It may dissuade some people from leaving through that route, but it won’t dissuade everybody.”

On Europe’s commitment and its implementation so far, Cochetel believes the objective of resettling 20,000 refugees in the space of two years on a voluntary basis is still “very low,” not to mention Europe’s failure last September to relocate some 66,000 refugees from Greece. In fact, it failed on an epic scale, managing to relocate only 600, according to Cochetel’s previous statements.

While Turkey currently hosts three million Syrian refugees – the largest number worldwide – its current acceptance rates for those from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan are also “very low,” the UNHCR director told Swiss radio RTS, as cited by Reuters.

“Sending back people who would not have access to protection in Turkey poses a certain number of problems in terms of international law and European law,” he said. “I hope that in the next 10 days a certain number of supplementary guarantees will be put in place so that people sent back to Turkey will have access to an examination of their request [for asylum],” he added.

Similar concerns were voiced by the UN Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), which stressed that “too many details still remain unclear.”

UNICEF spokeswoman Sarah Crowe underlined that “the fundamental principle of ‘do no harm’ must apply every step of way.” For the particular agency, this applies first to the rights of children. They are open to all sorts of dangers, including trafficking, forced labor and other forms of exploitation.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International blasted Ankara’s enduring record of leaving refugees to cope alone. It called the EU decision “alarmingly short-sighted and inhumane,” noting in a Tuesday statement how Turkey has “forcibly returned refugees to Syria and [how] many refugees in the country live in desperate conditions without adequate housing.”

Amnesty’s European head, Iverna McGowan, believes that “by no stretch of imagination can Turkey be considered a ‘safe third country’ that the EU can cozily outsource its obligations to.”

‘Inhumane’: Europe Yanks Welcome Mat Out From Under Its War Refugees

On Thursday, European Council President Donald Tusk, dismissing refugees fleeing war-torn Syria as “economic migrants,” stated, “Do not come to Europe.” Middle East analyst Hafsa Kara-Mustapha sat down with Sputnik’s Brian Becker to discuss the dire status of Middle Eastern refugees in Europe.

What will be the impact of European Council President Tusk’s Statements?

“First of all, I have to talk about the wording he used,” Kara-Mustapha told Loud & Clear. “He insisted on using the word migrant and specifically using the phrase ‘economic migrant’ when all the people presently coming into Europe are actually war refugees fleeing conflict.”

Kara-Mustapha expressed concern that by rebranding the refugees as economic migrants, the EU aims to alter the requirements of member states to provide asylum.

“In effect, when he says that Europe should stop welcoming economic migrants he is actually changing the whole subject and making the issue about economy and migration when simply it is about refugees,” she noted, adding that, “if you insist that these people are refugees then you have a duty to welcome them under all EU constitutions.”

By contrast, “if you refer to them as migrants then you have no duty towards them because these people are just coming for financial gain and nobody owes them anything,” observed Kara-Mustapha. In reality, however, “these people are coming to Europe for safety and to avoid the horrors of war.”

She also noted that the current aim of European leadership appears to be to fundamentally change public opinion toward refugees by referring to them as “migrants.” The wording, she said, “makes the topic less acceptable to ensure people turn against these refugees… the underlying meaning is that they are coming here for the benefits, to raid the welfare system, and to make money.”

The burden placed on cash-strapped Greece is worse than others — why is that?

“Greece is geographically very close to the warzone, it is close to Syria, and close to Turkey, where most of the refugees are coming from, so it is geographically bearing the brunt as the natural gateway to Europe,” explained Kara-Mustapha. “The moment they set foot in Greece they can actually claim asylum legally, but Greece is also geographically close so it is the first port of call for most refugees.”

The Greek social infrastructure, however, is ill-equipped to take on the pressures of the burgeoning refugee influx in light of austerity measures and a crippled economy. “The problem, of course, is that Greece is already a struggling country facing a difficult financial situation, it faces a lot of problems irrespective of the refugee crisis, and the fact that they have to cater for, at minimum, 2,000 people coming through its border means an extra burden on Greece’s finances.”

Despite Greece facing acute financial difficulties, largely as a condition of maintaining EU membership and managing an onerous debt, their European colleagues have largely turned their backs on the Athens government. Kara-Mustapha noted that, “sadly, Greece has to face up to the refugee crisis almost on its own because, despite repeated requests that other EU nations accept strict quotas to help Greece cope with the situation, the other EU nations continue to pass the buck and refuse to take responsibility.”

What will happen with the 10,000 refugees stuck at the Greek-Macedonian border?

“The situation is dire and the refuges don’t know what will happen next,” said Kara-Mustapha. “The countries where they are stranded cannot afford to keep them so it is a very difficult and inhumane situation.” She believes that the refugees have been stranded on purpose as a means to slant public opinion. “Europe is leaving a humanitarian crisis on the Greek-Macedonian border to fester because the more it festers the more local populations will turn against these refugees, the more it will impact local governments, and the more borders will close.”

“I believe there is a concerted effort to allow the situation on the Greek-Macedonian border to fester in order to poison the refugee crisis further to make it far more difficult for public opinion to accept the idea of welcoming more refugees,” she stated.

Will the situation trigger the collapse of the European Union?

“Yes,” Kara-Mustapha noted, suggesting that, “all it would take is for one country to close its borders and say that they do not sign up to the Schengen Agreement anymore for all of the others to say ‘well, why should I respect the deal?’”

This existential threat to European unity, however, did not begin with the Syrian crisis. “This is something that has been happening for a while with the scourge of Islamophobic sentiments brewing throughout Europe since the 9/11 attacks in the United States.”

Kara-Mustapha believes the situation in Europe has only become more untenable since the Paris attacks only months ago. “You have some European countries now saying that specifically they do not want Muslim refugees, that they’ll accept Syrian Christians but that they do not want any part of Muslim refugees.”

What has the impact of the refugee influx been on domestic politics in Germany?

“About a year ago, Angela Merkel, had an approval rating of 75%, today it is down to 47%, so the current public opinion polls show that the German people have turned against her due to her decision to welcome refugees.”

Specifically, while other European countries remained reticent about accepting refugees, Merkel’s administration committed the German people to taking in over 1 million asylum-seekers.

“Perhaps the decision came from a genuinely good place, she saw the humanitarian crisis and felt her country could lend a helping hand,” commented Kara-Mustapha. She added that, “there is also the stain of Nazi Germany and this was also an opportunity for Germany to correct a previous wrong.”

Nonetheless, despite “Nazi Germany’s impacts on the national psyche of the German people,” Kara-Mustapha sees the decision by Merkel as one that has been increasingly unpopular with the German people. The analyst cites the growing influence of many German neo-fascist groups, as well as those throughout Europe, as an increasingly vocal influence attempting to steer public opinion against pro-refugee policies.

How did the situation devolve to the worst humanitarian crisis in 70 years, and how do we fix it?

Kara-Mustapha sees the Syrian refugee crisis, as well as preceding refugee crises related to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a consequence of Western neoconservative policy. The key, in her opinion, is to create stability in the region by defeating Daesh and ending the fascination with deposing Middle East leaders who are not friendly to multinational petroleum corporations. She suggests that this will stop the flow of Syrian refugees and allow people to return to their countries.

Kara-Mustapha calls on the West to accept that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is the legitimate leader of the Syrian people and to help his government in the fight against Daesh, rather than continue the increasingly futile attempts to depose the Syrian President by funding anti-government extremist militias.

 

Daesh Leader’s Mobile Phone Holds Proof of Turkey’s Support

An Iraqi volunteer force commander said a mobile phone found on the person of a deceased Daesh militant proves that Turkey’s intelligence agency is providing support for the group.

“The mobile phone was found with one of the killed ISIL leaders in the Northern parts of Salahuddin province two days ago,” Jabbar al-Ma’mouri told Soumeriya news on Monday.

He said the phone contains messages from Turkish intelligence proving that Ankara supports Daesh, also known as ISIL/Islamic State, by providing security at the points used by militants traveling from Turkey to Iraq.

“The mobile phone also contains other important information which cannot be disclosed now, and it has been delivered to the specialized security groups for further scrutiny,” Ma’mouri said.

Russian Ambassador to France Alexander Orlov in November revealed that Turkey has played an “ambiguous” role in the campaign against Daesh while acting as an accomplice to the terrorist group’s activities.

Last month, former US State Department senior advisor David Phillips said Turkey provided material support to Daesh because Ankara shares an ideological connection with the group, along with a mutual enemy in Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“Turkey’s role has not been ambiguous – it has overtly supported the ISIL,” said Phillips, who currently serves as director of Columbia University’s Peace-building and Rights Program. “It has provided logistical support, money, weapons, transport and healthcare to wounded warriors.”

Phillips said Turkey has been supporting Daesh to remove Assad from power and because of a “spiritual bond” that exists between Turkey’s governing party and the jihadists.

Beijing rebukes Washington after B-52 bomber strays over artificial island in South China Sea

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Beijing has described as a “provocation” the flight of a US nuclear-capable B-52 bomber over a man-made island in the South China Sea that China claims sovereignty over. The warplane reportedly did so by mistake rather than to challenge China, as was the case with other missions.

China filed a complaint with the Pentagon over the incident, the US DoD reported Friday, adding that the flight was not part of the so-called Freedom of Navigation effort to undermine China’s territorial claims in the sea.

“The Chinese have raised concerns with us about the flight path of a recent training mission,” Navy Commander Bill Urban said. “We are looking into the matter.”

Beijing called the flight “a provocation” in a statement released by the Defense Ministry on Saturday. It urged the United States “to immediately adopt measures to put an end to such kind of dangerous actions, in order not to impact the two countries’ military relations.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the incident happened last week near the Cuarteron Reef in the Spratly Islands, an archipelago contested by China and several other regional nations. The newspaper cited a US military official as saying that the bomber had mistakenly come within a 12 nautical mile zone of the island – as close as 2 miles, according to the Chinese complaint.

Over the past years China has reclaimed several islands in the area and built infrastructure on them capable of supporting combat missions of the Chinese Air Force. Beijing insists that the effort is primarily civilian and is meant to make South China Sea, the region with one of the heaviest maritime traffic in the world, most of it China-bound, a safer place.

The US rejects Beijing’s claim and occasionally sends its warplanes and warships through the 12 nautical mile area around the artificial islands, which China sees as its exclusive zone. In late October the US guided missile destroyer USS Lassen sailed close to Subi Reef with one such mission, provoking an angry rebuke from China.

Washington insists that the missions are fully legitimate as they pass through international space, but Beijing warned that the standoff may lead to a minor incident escalating into a major confrontation.

 

Don’t Bomb Syria! Thousands protest against proposed UK military action

Demonstrators listen to speakers at a rally against taking military action against Islamic State in Syria, held outside Downing Street in London, November 28, 2015.

Demonstrators listen to speakers at a rally against taking military action against Islamic State in Syria, held outside Downing Street in London, November 28, 2015.

Mass protests have taken place in London and many other cities across the country urging the government not to conduct airstrikes in Syria.

‘Don’t Bomb Syria’ signs were plentiful, as thousands of protesters took to the streets of the British capital to make their voices heard, in a rally organized by the Stop the War coalition.

The demonstration in London started outside Prime Minister David Cameron’s residence at 10 Downing Street. The rally was against a planned vote in Parliament about whether to support a motion for the UK to starting bombing Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants in Syria.

“We are very much opposed to David Cameron’s plans to have a vote in Parliament to bomb Syria. The bombing has already been going on for more than a year by other forces. ISIS is as strong as it was before the bombing started and also we have the record of 14 years of bombing, and every single country we have bombed, the wars are still going on there,” said Lindsey German, of Stop the War, during the demonstration.

Labour MP Diane Abbott spoke to the crowd saying Prime Minister Cameron was too busy trying to phone Labour MPs to get them to vote in favor of bombing Syria, than to make a concrete case for undertaking military action in the Middle Eastern country.

A list of UK musicians, politicians, academics and artists, including Brian Eno and Frankie Boyle wrote a letter to David Cameron urging him not to bomb Syria, saying a bombing campaign would not help in the fight against terrorism, but would rather aggravate the situation.

“Rather than ignoring this recent history by joining the long list of countries that have bombed Syria in the last year, we urge the government to stop arming reactionary and aggressive regimes like Saudi Arabia and Qatar that sponsor terrorist groups and look for political solutions as the only viable way to end the conflict,” the letter read, which was delivered 10 Downing Street.

Speaking in front of demonstrators in London, Eno said, “We’ve created a system which gives the biggest rewards to the greediest & worst to the most generous,” while he also condemned the likes of Saudi Arabia and Turkey for helping to fund Islamic State.

Demonstrations have also taken place in Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Oxford, Bristol and other cities around the country.

French President Francois Hollande has urged the British to join the French in carrying out airstrikes against IS in Syria. He made the appeal two weeks after the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, which killed 130 people in the French capital.

“On November 13, a day we will never forget, France was hit at its very heart,” Hollande told a somber commemoration in the Invalides, the 17th century complex housing Napoleon’s tomb on Friday, as cited by AFP.

“To all of you, I solemnly promise that France will do everything to destroy the army of fanatics that committed these crimes,” he said.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was instrumental in sending UK troops to fight in the US-led Iraq invasion in 2003, also supported British intervention in bombing Syria.

However, it would seem the majority of people in the UK are not in favor. An opinion poll suggested that 48 percent of Britons would support military strikes against IS, while 30 percent are opposed. The survey was carried out by the Daily Mirror newspaper.

 

Russia to deploy S-400 defense missile system to Khmeimim airbase in Syria – defense minister

An S-400 “Triumf” antiaircraft missile system.

The Russian Air Force base in Latakia will be reinforced with S-400 SAM system, which will soon be deployed there, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday.

S-400 will be deployed on Khmeimim airbase in Syria,” Shoigu said at a Defense Ministry meeting.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian Su-24 was shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet near the Turkish-Syrian border. One pilot died in the incident. The second one was rescued and brought to the Russian airbase in Latakia.

Moscow maintains the jet did not violate Turkey’s airspace. It ditched on Syria’s territory four kilometers from the border.

Shortly afterwards, the MoD announced three steps to be taken following the attack on the Russian Su-24 bomber, including providing aerial cover by fighter jets for every airstrike, boosting air defense by deploying guided missile cruisers off the Latakia coast, and suspending all military-to-military contacts with Turkey.

 

Russia deploys missile cruiser off Syria coast, ordered to destroy any target posing danger

A missile cruiser "Moscow"

A missile cruiser “Moscow”

Moscow plans to suspend military cooperation with Ankara after the downing of a Russian bomber by Turkish air forces, Russian General Staff representatives said on Tuesday. Further measures to beef up Russian air base security in Syria will also be taken.

Three steps as announced by top brass:

  1. Each and every strike groups’ operation is to be carried out under the guise of fighter jets
  2. Air defense to be boosted with the deployment of Moskva guided missile cruiser off Latakia coast with an aim to destroy any target that may pose danger
  3. Military contacts with Turkey to be suspended

Sergey Rudskoy, a top official with the Russian General Staff, condemned the attack on the Russian bomber in Syrian airspace by a Turkish fighter jet as “a severe violation of international law”. He stressed that the Su-24 was downed over the Syrian territory. The crash site was four kilometers away from the Turkish border, he said.

Rudskoy said the Russian warplane did not violate Turkish airspace. Additionally, according to the Hmeymim airfield radar, it was the Turkish fighter jet that actually entered Syrian airspace as it attacked the Russian bomber.T

he Turkish fighter jet made no attempts to contact Russian pilots before attacking the bomber, Rudskoy added.

We assume the strike was carried out with a close range missile with an infra-red seeker,” Rudskoy said. “The Turkish jet made no attempts to communicate or establish visual contact with our crew that our equipment would have registered. The Su-24 was hit by a missile over Syria’s territory.”

Russia now plans to implement new measures aimed at strengthening the security of the country’s air base in Syria and in particular to bolster air defense.

Russian guided missile cruiser Moskva, equipped with the ‘Fort’ air defense system, similar to the S-300, will be deployed off Latakia province’s coast.

missile cruiser

We warn that every target posing a potential threat will be destroyed,” lieutenant general Sergey Rudskoy said during the briefing.

The Moskva (‘Moscow’) missile cruise is a flagship vessel of the Russian Black Sea fleet and is one of the fleet’s two biggest ships. The cruiser was stationed in Sevastopol but left in summer 2015 after being deployed to the Mediterranean Sea where it joined Russia’s standing naval force in the Mediterranean.

Since September 30, the Moskva cruiser acts as a covering force for the Russian air forces in Syria while deployed in the eastern Mediterranean.

All military contacts with Turkey will be suspended,” Rudskoy added.

Turkey claims that it downed the Russian bomber in Turkish airspace after the plane was given 10 warnings in the space of five minutes as it approached the country’s territory.

“Nobody should doubt that we made our best efforts to avoid this latest incident. But everyone should respect the right of Turkey to defend its borders,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.

“The data we have is very clear. There were two planes approaching our border, we warned them as they were getting too close,” another senior Turkish official told Reuters.

“Our findings show clearly that Turkish air space was violated multiple times. And they violated it knowingly.”

US President Barack Obama and his French counterpart Francois Hollande urged Russia and Turkey away from further escalation during a meeting in Washington, while NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg voiced the alliance’s support for Turkey.

A US military spokesman also said that the incident involves only Turkey and Russia and does not affect the US-led campaign in Syria, which will continue “as planned”.