President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday that Turkey did not want any escalation after it shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border, saying it had simply acted to defend its own security and the "rights of our brothers" in Syria, as Turkey's foreign minister phoned his Russian counterpart to discuss the incident.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu expressed sorrow over the Nov. 24 downing of the plane, private broadcaster CNN Türk reported.
Speaking at a business event in İstanbul, Erdoğan said the jet had been fired at while in Turkish air space but had crashed inside Syria, although some parts of the plane landed in Turkey and injured two Turkish citizens.
"We have no intention of escalating this incident. We are only defending our own security and the rights of our brothers," Erdoğan said, adding Turkey's policy in Syria would not change.
"We will continue our humanitarian efforts on both sides of the (Syrian) border. We are determined to take all necessary measures to prevent a new wave of immigration."
The shooting down of the Russian warplane near the Syrian border on Tuesday was one of the most serious publicly acknowledged clashes between a NATO member country and Russia for half a century.
But while neither side has shown any interest in a military escalation, Russia has made clear it will exact economic revenge through trade and tourism.
Speaking later in the day, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also appeared to seek to reduce tension with Moscow, saying thatRussia is Turkey's "friend and neighbor" and insisting relations cannot be "sacrificed to accidents of communication."
Russia is an "important partner and tops the list of countries with which we have shown great sensitivity in building ties," he told a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
He, however, warned Russia over its operations in Syria, saying attacks on Turkmens could not be carried out under the pretext of fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and defended Turkey's shooting down of the plane, saying Russia was warned on several occasions that Turkey would take action in case its border is violated in line with its military rules of engagement.
Davutoğlu also said that Turkey didn't know the nationality of the plane that was brought down on Tuesday until Moscow announced it was Russian.