Turkey denies suspending Syria air strikes after Russia crisis

AFP , Friday 27 Nov 2015

Turkey denied Friday it had suspended air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria after the downing of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border.

Turkish F-16 jets on Tuesday shot down a Russian warplane which Ankara said had breached its air space.

The Hurriyet newspaper said Turkey, a member of a US-led coalition fighting ISIS, had "temporarily" halted air raids against the group in Syria in order to avoid any further crises.

"Both sides agreed to act cautiously until they re-establish dialogue channels to reduce tensions," the paper said, citing security sources.

But a government official denied that strikes had been halted.

"At this time, Turkey remains fully committed to fighting ISIS as part of the international coalition," he told AFP.

"Our policy remains unchanged and the claims, therefore, are inaccurate.

"Turkey's participation in coalition air strikes is determined by ourselves and our allies alone depending on mutual assessments of military developments on the ground and logistical needs."

The downing of the plane sparked a crisis in relations between the two countries, with Russian President Vladimir Putin calling it a "stab in the back" and demanding an apology from the 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.
Erdogan on Friday said he wanted to meet with Putin on the margins of the upcoming climate summit in Paris.

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