President Obama wants Turkey and Russia to deescalate the situation in the ongoing fight in Syria, after Turkish forces shot down a Russian fighter jet which was reportedly in Turkish airspace.
Obama made his remarks during a press conference at the White House this afternoon with French President Francois Hollande and asserted that Turkey had a right to defend itself.
“Turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and it’s airspace,” Obama said.
He said that he was still getting details of what happened, but that both leaders should be talking with each other after the incident. He did not remind the world that Turkey was a NATO ally and that the United States would defend them if Russia chose to respond.
“I think it is very important for us to right now for us to make sure that both the Russians, and the Turks are talking to each other, find out exactly what happened, and take measures to discourage any kind of escalation,” Obama said.
Obama also cited Russia’s military operations in Syria as problematic, as they continued to prop up Assad.
“If Russia is directing its energies towards Daesh and Isil, some of those conflicts or the potentials for mistakes or escalation are less likely to occur,” he suggested.
Obama criticizes Russia for isolating themselves from the world coalition against ISIS by focusing his efforts on supporting Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad.
“Russia right now is a coalition of two: Iran and Russia, supporting Assad,” he said.