Turkey denies Russian commander’s claims over violation of Turkish airspace
REUTERS photoTurkish security forces have refuted claims by Russian Air Force Commander Viktor Bondarev that a Russian aircraft had violated Turkey’s airspace on Oct. 3 for a short while, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
Bondarev said in an interview with Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda on Nov. 5 that a Russian aircraft had violated Turkish airspace for a short while trying to avoid being hit by a defense system which was locked on the aircraft.
“Our aircraft had finalized its duty flight in Syria’s north. The weather was quite cloudy. As the aircraft was flying near Turkish airspace, radar determined that an air defense system was trying to place a lock on the aircraft. The pilot therefore needed to make an escape maneuver and violated Turkish airspace for a short time,” Bondarev was quoted as saying in the interview. “And we openly accepted this,” he added.
Turkish security forces, according to Anadolu Agency, denied a breach of its airspace, adding that a fighter jet, whose country of origin could not be identified, had flown around 10 kilometers away from the Turkish border, inside Syrian territories.
Turkish sources also denied a lock had been placed on a Russian aircraft.
The issue of the violation of Turkish airspace by a Russian aircraft on Oct. 3 had put the two countries against each other.
“The Russian aircraft exited Turkish airspace into Syria after it was intercepted by two F-16s from the Turkish Air Force, which were conducting patrols in the region,” a written statement by the Foreign Ministry said Oct. 5.
The ministry summoned Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov and strongly protested the violation, according to the statement.
It told Karlov that any such violation must not be repeated and in the case of another violation Russia would be responsible for any undesired incident.
The U.S. and its NATO allies had denounced Russia for the Oct. 3 incursion and Ankara threatened to respond if provoked again, raising the prospect of direct confrontation between the Cold War enemies.