The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced on Saturday, “An Su-34 plane belonging to the Russian Federation air force violated Turkish airspace at 11:46 local time yesterday (Friday)”. The statement also said the pilot had been warned in Russian and English before crossing from Syrian airspace into Turkey.
The Russian ambassador to Turkey was summoned to the Foreign Ministry to “strongly protest and condemn” the violation.
“This violation is a concrete indication of Russia’s acts aiming to escalate problems, despite the clear warning by our country and by NATO,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said.
“We openly and clearly call on Russia to act responsibly so that the Turkish air space, which is a NATO airspace, is not violated. We stress once again that all the responsibility for any unwanted grave consequences as a result of any such irresponsible behavior will belong entirely to the Russian Federation,” the statement said.
A similar violation November 24th led to 2 Turkish F-16’s shooting down a Russian SU-24 jet. A pilot and a Russian marine in the rescue party were killed in the incident. Russia responded with an estimated $10 billion of sanctions against Turkey.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged Russia on Saturday to “take all necessary measures to ensure that such violations do not happen again”.
The recent encounter emphasizes the volatile situation in the skies over Syria as many nations become involved in the conflict. Russia has had a strong presence in Syria since September, fighting to support President Bashar al-Asad, while Turkey, a NATO member, supports the rebels who oppose Assad.