NATO asks Russia to stop violating Turkish airspace

NATO calls Russia to cease violation of Turkish airspace, says incursions are irresponsible

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

An image grabbed from footage released by Russia's Defence Ministry on Monday shows a Russian air force jet taxiing on the tarmac of Heymim air base in Syria

NATO called on Russia to stop its incursions into the airspace of the member country Turkey, following an emergency meeting in Brussels on Monday.

The alliances decision making body, the North Atlantic Council issued a statement, saying that "allies strongly protest these violations of Turkish sovereign airspace, and condemn these incursions into and violations of NATO airspace.’’

The NATO meeting came after Russian jets, conducting air strikes in Syria, violated Turkish airspace and were intercepted by Turkish fighter jets in Turkey’s south.

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday that “a Russian fighter jet violated Turkey’s airspace on October 3. Turkey’s two F-16 jets took off and intercepted it. Upon the mentioned violation, Russian ambassador was called to the ministry of foreign affairs office and the breach was strongly protested.”

The Russian ambassador to Turkey was called and issued a firm warning regarding the Oct. 3 border violation of the Russian fighter jet.

NATO also asked Russia to make an immediate explanation saying "allies also note the extreme danger of such irresponsible behaviour. They call on the Russian Federation to cease and desist, and immediately explain these violations."

Following the violation of the Russian jet, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that "whoever violates our airspace, our rules of engagement are clear."

In case of need, NATO members can also ask for military help from the alliance in the scope of Article 5, of the organization’s foundation treaty that considers attacks on a member of the organization as an attack on all the members.

NATO also called Russia to halt military attacks on Western-backed rebels in Syria. 

"Allies call on the Russian Federation to immediately cease its attacks on the Syrian opposition and civilians, to focus its efforts on fighting ISIL [ISIS], and to promote a solution to the conflict through a political transition,’’ the NATO statement said. 

Accordingly, the White House announced that the United States and its allies are seriously concerned on Russian jets violating Turkish airspace.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that Russia presents no indication on changing its strategy over focusing its military efforts in Syria on fighting ISIS

Russia's actions in Syria will only cause a delay in the political transition the United States has called for in Syria, he added.

He also stated that Russia told Turkey that the Russian jet’s violation of Turkish airspace was a "mistake."

Davutoglu warned that anything that violates Turkey’s rights would be intercepted.

"The Turkish armed forces are clearly instructed. Even if it's a flying bird, it will be intercepted," Davutoglu said.

By pointing that Russia's act had the "wrong attitude," Davutoglu said the Syrian crisis is not a Turkey-Russia issue.

"The Syrian issue is not a Turkey-Russia crisis," he said.

"Our channels with Russia remains open," he added hoping that Moscow would give up on their "wrong attitudes."

TRTWorld and agencies