Russian jet violated Turkish airspace: Foreign Ministry

Russian jet violated Turkish airspace: Foreign Ministry

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Russian jet violated Turkish airspace: Foreign Ministry

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has said that a Russian fighter jet violated Turkish airspace on Jan. 29, months after a downing that caused a big row between Ankara and Moscow. 

An official statement released on Jan. 30 said the Russian jet -a SU-34 fighter-bomber- was repeatedly warned by Turkish air radar units in Russian and English.

"A Russian SU-34 fighter jet violated Turkish airspace yesterday (Jan. 29, 2016) at 11.46 a.m. local time in Turkey [0946 GMT]," the statement read.

The Russian Ambassador to Ankara Andrei Karlov was also summoned over the incident, it added.

Speaking to reporters at Istanbul Atatürk Airport before his departure for Chile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the violation of Turkish airspace, which he also described as NATO airspace, was a result of Russian attempts to escalate existing tension in the region.

"Russia will have to bear the consequences if the violations continue," he said.

NATO has confirmed the airspace violation: "I call on Russia to act responsibly and to fully respect NATO airspace," Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

"Russia must take all necessary measures to ensure that such violations do not happen again," he added.

However, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Jan. 30 that no Russian aircraft had violated Turkish airspace.

"There were no violations of Turkish airspace by aircraft of the Russian air group in the Syrian Arab Republic. Turkish authorities' statements of an alleged violation of Turkish airspace by a Russian Su-34 jet are naked propaganda," spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov was quoted as saying by Russia's Sputnik news agency.

Erdoğan said the Turkish Foreign Ministry had made contact with Russia to arrange a meeting with President Vladimir Putin to discuss the incident, but added that Ankara had yet to receive a response.

In late November, two Turkish F-16 fighter jets on an aerial patrol intercepted a Russian military plane within the rules of engagement when it intruded into Turkish airspace on the Turkey-Syria border.

The intruding jet was warned about the violation 10 times within five minutes before it was shot down.

After the incident Russia imposed a range of unilateral economic sanctions against Turkey including a ban on food imports.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said in a joint press conference with Jens Stoltenberg on Nov. 30 that Turkey should not be asked to apologize for doing its duty in protecting its borders and airspace.

Moscow had demanded an apology for the shooting down of the SU-24 over southern Turkey.