Sunrise, Canberra - interview with David Koch and Smantha Armytage

  • Transcript, E&OE
26 November 2015

DAVID KOCH World leaders are calling for calm but Russian President Vladimir Putin is warning Turkey there will be serious consequences. Turkey claim the Russian bomber violated its air space and ignored ten warnings before being fired at by two F16 fighter jets. Today it seems more likely the plane was shot down inside Syrian air space. Turkish officials have been summoned to NATO headquarters in Belgium to explain.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE Now we are joined by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Minister, good morning to you.

JULIE BISHOP Good morning Sam.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE Now Malcolm Turnbull is among world leaders calling for calm at the moment but Keith Suter told us yesterday this is how wars start, you know between Turkey and Russia here, we've got a real danger that this could escalate very quickly and very seriously.

JULIE BISHOP This is indeed a very serious situation. There are claims and counterclaims as to what actually happened. Turkey claims that the Russian bomber violated its air space, and despite repeated warnings it continued to do so, so it shot it down. Russia claims it was Syrian airspace and that it received no warnings. One of the pilots is now back home in Russia and has given a press conference. So these claims and counterclaims will have to be tested. There will have to be a competent and credible independent investigation.

I've spoken to our Ambassadors in Moscow and in Ankara overnight. They both say that there are signs that the parties will come together to talk. Both the Foreign Minister of Russia and the Foreign Minister of Turkey have agreed to meet in coming days so there are positive signs that there will be a de-escalation of tensions and that they will meet to talk this through.

However, that doesn't mean that there won't be consequences. Indeed, Russia has already suspended military cooperation with Turkey and there have been some economic sanctions and Russian tourists have been warned not to travel to Turkey and the like. But I hope, that having referred it to the Security Council, both parties will now take the time to investigate this properly, deal with the varying versions of what went on, and then come together to attack the enemy in all of this, the enemy in Syria and Iraq which is ISIL – Da'esh, the terrorist organisation.

DAVID KOCH Minister, what is your advice to Australian travellers travelling to Turkey at the moment? A popular destination, of course, Gallipoli is in Turkey. Lots of Australians travel through there.

JULIE BISHOP We have always advised our Australian travellers to the Middle East to exercise a high degree of caution. That would include travelling to Turkey. We encourage people to log on to our Smartraveller website to get the latest information that is provided to us by our security and intelligence agencies. Of course, in relation to Syria and Iraq, our advice is 'do not travel'. Indeed, it can be an offence against Australian criminal law if you are in parts of Syria and Iraq which are held by the terrorist organisation. It's a very dangerous and volatile situation but we do urge calm and restraint on all sides.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE Yes, okay. Well, I think the rest of the world needs to get its act together to fight ISIL here.

Julie Bishop, thank you very much for your time this morning.


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