Turkey closes airspace to Russian aircraft to Syria: FM
Turkey has closed its airspace to Russian civilian and military aircraft that carry troops to Syria, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on April 23.
Turkey and Russia have “agreed to suspend the use of the airspace for Russian military aircraft and even civilian aircraft carrying soldiers to Syria,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters aboard his flight to Uruguay.
Turkey had been giving permissions in three-month intervals, and the last note was until April, he said, adding that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had informed his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, and then the flights were suspended.
The minister emphasized that Ankara has been keeping dialogue channels open regarding the ongoing Ukrainian war and managing the issues such as the requirements of the Montreux Convention for the Black Sea through this dialogue process with relevant countries.
He recalled that Russia had permission to pass four warships through the Turkish straits before it staged war on Ukraine, but they complied with Turkey’s request to cancel the passage because the convention required so.
The passage of NATO warships for a pre-planned exercise in the region was also canceled over Turkey’s demand, Çavuşoğlu added.
Elaborating on Turkey’s ongoing talks to receive F-16 fighter jets from the U.S., the minister said, “There is definitely a constructive attitude in the administration regarding the F-16s. They want to solve this. Discussions on these modernization kits and the sale of new F-16s are also going well.”
Turkey had demanded to purchase 40 new F-16 jet fighters and around 80 modernization kits in a bid to keep its air fleet intact after it was excluded from the joint F-35 fifth-generation fighter jet program due to its deployment of Russian S-400 air defense systems.