Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu revealed on Wednesday that he personally gave the orders to shoot down the Russian Su-24 jet on Tuesday.
“Despite all the warnings, we had had to destroy the aircraft” Davutoğlu told his AK party. “The Turkish Armed Forces carried out orders given by me personally”.
Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Minister told reporters today that the Russian and Syrian special forces have successfully completed a rescue operation to rescue the navigator who ejected from the Su-24.
“The Captain has been delivered to our base alive and well,” General Sergei Shoigu said. “I would like to thank all of you for working all night at great risk. They completed the job at 03:40 Moscow time.”
Russia has begun deploying S-400 “Triumph” anti-aircraft batteries near the Hmeimim airbase in Syria, the Defence Ministry announced in a release.
Both Davutoğlu and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is the commander in chief of the nation’s armed forces, continued to defend the decision to shoot down the Russian plane saying that his country had the right to defend its national airspace and insisting that the Su-24 had made an incursion into Turkish territory and was downed while still inside Turkey’s airspace.
A letter sent to the UN Security Council by Turkey’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations alleges that the Russian Su-24 spent 17 seconds inside Turkish territory before it was shot down.
NATO announced that the organization agreed with Turkey’s claim and pledged to stand in solidarity with Ankara.
“The Allied assessments we have got from several Allies during the day are consistent with information we have been provided with from Turkey,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporter at press conference. “So the information we have from other Allies is consistent with what we have got from Turkey.”
The United States, however, seems to be privately disagreeing with Ankara’s assessment believing that the Russian jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday was hit inside Syrian airspace after a brief incursion into Turkish airspace, according to top US official who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity.