ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A drone shot down by Turkish warplanes in Turkish air space near Syria on Friday was Russian-made, but Moscow has told Ankara the unmanned aircraft did not belong to Russia, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday.
The drone was downed on Friday after it continued on its flight path despite three warnings, the Turkish military said. Earlier this month, Russian jets violated Turkish air space on two occasions and Ankara warned it would respond if such incursions recurred.
“The downed drone is Russian-made but Russia has told us in a friendly manner that it doesn’t belong to them,” Davutoglu said in an interview with Turkish broadcaster AHaber.
A U.S. official said Washington believed the drone was of Russian origin. Davutoglu said it could have belonged to Syrian government forces, whose biggest arms supplier is Russia, or to the Syrian Kurdish PYD militia or other elements.
The incident highlighted the risks to NATO member Turkey as Syrian, Russian and U.S. coalition aircraft target various insurgent groups inside Syria often close to Turkish borders.
Davutoglu said the downing of the drone proved Turkey is determined to react against any air space incursions. “This incident...has shown that Turkey both has the capacity and the political will to put an end to such violations,” he said.
“I hope Russia, whose friendship and neighborliness we value, will adopt a more careful stance and Turkish-Russian relations will not be negatively affected.”
Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Mark Heinrich