Talking to Turkmen fighter who shot at Russian pilot

We only found him because we were asking for people in Yayladagi who had recently arrived from Syria and it took quite bit of work to get him to talk on camera

Photo by: TRTWorld
Photo by: TRTWorld

There’s been more fighting recently just across the border - and about 2,000 refugees have turned up in the past few weeks.

That’s on top of last week’s international incident when Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet on the border with Syria.

But now we had the chance to talk to someone who saw it all happen.

Translating the interview with the fighter [TRTWorld]

It then took about an hour of of negotiations - first with relatives and then with the man himself - for him to open up.

The reason we managed it was because of the skills of persuasion of producer Sare Ozturk. We had to answer all his questions about how we would not reveal his identity on screen.

He called his friends - and he called his military commanders inside Syria to make sure he wouldn’t be punished.

Eventually he agreed - but then he couldn’t wait to finish. We were able to talk to him on camera for about 15 minutes at the most, using a relative as a translator.

Yayladagi district is located on Turkey's Syrian border [TRTWorld]

And then we had to get the interview translated. We had to find someone else who had the time to sit with us to work through all of the recording.

Although the fighter is a Turkmen, he spoke only Arabic. Inside Syria, the Turkish language is not taught in schools - although the language is handed down within Turkmen families.

Luckily we are able to get the help of a local Turkmen leader - and the report that you see on this page is the result of that process.

Author: Andrew Hopkins