Turkish F-16 fighter jets were scrambled after a Russian warplane violated Turkey’s air space on Saturday, the foreign ministry said.
“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”. The military said the incident occurred while 10 F-16s were patrolling the Turkish-Syrian border.
Turkey summoned the Russian ambassador and demanded that Russia avoid future infringements, the Foreign Ministry statement said. Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu contacted his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, warning him not to repeat similar incidents.
Last week, Turkey expressed concerns over Russian airstrikes in Syria that have targeted a few foreign-backed insurgents.
“Bilateral relations with Turkey are quite comprehensive, and they are solidly based on mutual benefits”, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that Moscow was looking into the incursion.
“U.K., and its other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Allies, stand shoulder to shoulder with Turkey”.
Secretary of State John Kerry, in Chile for an ocean environmental conference, said the incident could have led to Turkey shooting down the Russian plane.
“It must succeed; otherwise the whole region, not only one or two countries, will be destroyed”, al-Assad said. The MIG-29 is a Russian-made jet fighter that the Syrian air force possesses, and Turkey said the nationality of the jet involved couldn’t be identified.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the incursions “unacceptable violations of Turkish airspace”.
The Russian air campaign began on Wednesday, with Moscow saying it was targeting IS positions and those of other extremists.
Davutoglu told Haber Turk television that Russian Federation assured Turkey that the airspace would not be violated again.
On Friday, Turkey and its allies issued a joint statement asking Moscow to cease attacks on the Syrian opposition and to focus on fighting IS.
Russia’s bombing campaign in Syria is a “grave mistake” and its support for the regime will be judged by history, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned today.
The United States is leading a coalition that is carrying out airstrikes in Syria, as well as Iraq, against Islamic State militants.