Turkey reveals airspace violation by Russian jet

Ministry of Foreign Affairs says SU-34 fighter-bomber in Turkish airspace was repeatedly warned by air radar units

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

In this photo taken on Wednesday Dec. 16, 2015 and provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, bombs are ready for loading onto Russian Su-34 bombers at Hemeimeem air base in Syria.

Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that a Russian fighter jet violated Turkish airspace on Friday.

An official statement released on Saturday said that the Russian craft - 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.

Speaking to reporters at Istanbul Ataturk Airport before his departure for Chile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan 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.

Erdogan 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 Davutoglu said in a joint press conference with Jens Stoltenberg on Nov. 30 that Turkey should not be asked to apologise 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.