Turkey Claims Russian Warplane Violated Its Airspace
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Turkey claimed Monday its F-16 jets had at the weekend intercepted a Russian fighter plane which violated Turkish air space near the Syrian border, forcing the aircraft to turn back.
Turkey summoned the Russian ambassador in Ankara to the foreign ministry and "strongly protested" the purported violation, the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.
It demanded that "any such violation not be repeated," otherwise Russia "will be responsible for any undesired incident that may occur," AFP reported.
The Russian jet infringed Turkish airspace at 12:08 pm (0908 GMT) Saturday south of the Yayladagi region in Turkey's southern Hatay province, according to the allegations made by the foreign ministry.
"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," it added.
Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu called his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov to convey Ankara's unease, the statement said.
He also made telephone conversations with counterparts from NATO allies, as well as NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, the ministry said.
Russia and Turkey have long been at odds over the crisis in Syria, with Moscow emerging as Syrian President Bashar Assad's key international backer and Ankara urging his ouster as the only solution to the conflict.
Turkey has labelled Russia's bombing campaign in Syria as "unacceptable" with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warning that Moscow was making a "grave mistake."
Ankara has been backing militant factions in Syria since the start of civil war in the Middle East country.