(CNN)Turkey will not apologize for downing a Russian fighter jet it says violated Turkish airspace near the Syrian border, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an exclusive CNN interview Thursday in Ankara.
"I think if there is a party that needs to apologize, it is not us," he said from the Turkish capital. "Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize. Our pilots and our armed forces, they simply fulfilled their duties, which consisted of responding to ... violations of the rules of engagement. I think this is the essence."
In a meeting with community leaders in Ankara, Erdogan said, "If the same violation occurs today, Turkey has to react the same way."