Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told President Obama on Tuesday that he is committed to peace in the region, despite ordering the downing of a Russian fighter jet last week that Ankara said veered into Turkish airspace.
"Of course, we are always willing to resort to the diplomatic language … because we don't want to invest in tensions; we want to avoid the tensions," Erdogan said while appearing with Obama in Paris after the two met privately at the U.S. embassy there. "We don't want to get hurt and we don't want [anyone] to get hurt because if a tension arises in the region, all of the parties involved get damaged at the end," he said through an interpreter. "We want peace to prevail at all costs."
Obama reiterated his comment made immediately after the Russian fighter plane went down Nov. 22 that the U.S. supports Turkey's right to defend itself. On Monday, the Obama administration said it had independent evidence that the Russian plane did cross into Turkish airspace.