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15:36 20 July
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Turkomen have right to self-defense - State Department

Mark Toner: “The U.S. stood by Turkey as a NATO ally”

Baku – APA. Turkey and the rebels it backs northern Syria had the right to defend themselves against Russian airstrikes, State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters, RT reported.

 

When asked if the State Department considered the rebels who reportedly killed the Russian pilots "moderates," Toner replied:

 

"We’ve seen conflicting reports. One pilot may not have been killed. If these ‘Turkomen’ were actually being attacked by Russian strikes, they have every right to defend themselves.”

 

Toner repeated several times that Washington stood by Turkey as a NATO ally, and its "right to protect its sovereign airspace”, while refusing to comment on the specifics of downing of a Russian jet because, by his admission, he had no details yet.

 

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said NATO ally Turkey has told the U.S. that the Russian jet did, in fact, “violate their air space.”

 

“Turkey has a right to defend its air space,” Mr. Cook told Pentagon reporters. He said the U.S. has not concluded “definitively” that Russia crossed the line. He added, “There were previous Russian incursions.”

 

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