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Getting Emotional: NATO Vows to Protect Turkey From Russia

Press Secretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Tanju Bilgic spoke to Sputnik Turkey in an exclusive interview about the recent air incidents in violation of Turkish airspace, Russian-Turkish relations and Turkey's support of NATO.

NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that NATO is ready to send troops to Turkey to defend against threats on its southern flank. The announcement came following the incident in which the Russian jets conducting airstrikes in Syria accidentally violated Turkish airspace for a few seconds.

Paratroopers of 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade depart Lielvarde Airbase (NATO), Latvia. File photo - Sputnik International
Turkey May Request NATO’s Help to Counter Threats From Syria, ISIL
Commenting on this statement of Jens Stoltenberg, Tanju Bilgic said, “By his statement about the possibility of sending troops to Turkey, Mr. Stoltenberg demonstrated NATO's desire to cooperate with Turkey at a high level. In order to do so the relevant resolution of the NATO Council is required.”

He further added, “I want to emphasize that at present Ankara has not sent NATO a request about sending its troops to Turkey. NATO — the most important organization, is the guarantor of collective security, and we thank the alliance for the support of Turkey and the willingness to help it.”

Regarding the visit of representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry to Ankara, Bilgic noted that Ankara has sent an invitation to Moscow for talks with a delegation of military experts regarding the airspace incident, but has not yet received a response.

“We have sent an invitation to the Russian military delegation to visit Ankara. So far we have not received any response from the Russian side,” Bilgic said.

The spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said, “First and foremost, we want to get an explanation from the Russian side on this issue. Earlier, Russian officials informed us that the first incident of violation of airspace was due to navigation errors caused by bad weather conditions. However, we still have not received an explanation for the second incident, which occurred on October 4th.”

Tanju Bilgic also touched upon the problem of Syrian refugees. He said that Turkey expects a new wave of refugees from Syria following the Russian airstrikes against ISIL.

“We are aware of the concerns that this is causing among the local population. We certainly are taking the necessary steps to prevent possible incidents of a new wave of immigrants. Meanwhile, such a threat is always there,” the spokesman concluded.

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