Turkey Warns Russia Over “Airspace Violation”

Turkey Warns Russia Over “Airspace Violation”Turkey Warns Russia Over “Airspace Violation”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Moscow on Saturday over a Turkish airspace violation, which has been denied by Russia.

NATO-member Turkey said another Russian warplane violated its airspace on Friday despite several warnings, two months after Turkey’s military shot down a Russian jet for crossing over its territory.

The past incident seriously strained the previously close ties between the two countries, damaging a strong economic partnership, AP reports.

“We regard this infringement which came despite all our warnings in Russian and in English as an effort by Russia to escalate the crisis in the region,” Erdogan told reporters before departing on a Latin American tour.

“If Russia continues the violations of Turkey’s sovereign rights, it will be forced to endure the consequences.”

Erdogan said he attempted to reach Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the issue but that the Russian leader did not respond.

“These irresponsible steps do not help the Russian Federation, NATO-Russia relations or regional and global peace,” Erdogan said. “On the contrary, they are detrimental.”

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said the Russian SU-34 crossed into Turkish airspace on Friday, ignoring several warnings in Russian and in English by Turkish radar units. It said Ankara summoned the Russian ambassador to the ministry on Friday evening to “strongly protest” the violation. It was not clear where exactly the new infringement had occurred.

  Ignorant Propagandists

Moscow has denied Turkey’s accusation that a Russian Su-34 bomber violated its airspace on Friday. The Russian Ministry of Defense said Ankara could not have determined which country the jet belonged to under the circumstances they described, according to Russia Today.

“There have been no Turkish airspace violations by the aircraft of the Russian airborne tactical formation [acting] in the Syrian Arab Republic. The statements from the Turkish side concerning the alleged air incursion by a Russian Su-34 are proof-less propaganda,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Major General Iror Konashenkov, said in a statement on Saturday.

He stressed that the airspace controlling radar stations that Turkey has can only determine the altitude, flight line and speed of an aerial vehicle, but not its type or state affiliation.

“To determine which country owns the jet requires visual contact from another aircraft,” Konashenkov emphasized, adding that no visual contact had been reported.

He denounced the claim that Russian pilots had been warned “in English and Russian” via radar as a story made up by “ignorant propagandists who watched too many Hollywood action movies”.

Konashenkov also stressed that neither Russia’s air defense systems in Syria, nor Syria’s airspace controlling radar stations, had recorded any violations of the air border between Syria and Turkey.

  NATO Backs Turkey

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also called on Russia “to act responsibly and to fully respect NATO airspace” but also urged “calm and de-escalation” of tensions between Moscow and Ankara.

“Russia must take all necessary measures to ensure that such violations do not happen again,” he said in a statement. “NATO stands in solidarity with Turkey and supports the territorial integrity of our ally, Turkey.”

In November, Turkey shot down a Russian plane that violated its airspace near Syria.

Russia insists the plane never entered Turkish airspace. One pilot and a Russian marine of the rescue party were killed in the incident.