Turkey warns Russia after alleging new airspace breach

Russian SU-34 jet reportedly flew into Turkish airspace despite radar warnings, prompting Ankara to summon ambassador.

    Ankara said the Russian Su-34 fighter jet crossed into Turkey's airspace on Friday [File:Sergei Chirikov/EPA]
    Ankara said the Russian Su-34 fighter jet crossed into Turkey's airspace on Friday [File:Sergei Chirikov/EPA]

    Turkey has warned Moscow of "consequences" after saying that a Russian warplane ignored several radar warnings not to violate Turkish airspace, in the latest spat between the two countries.

    Two months after Turkey's army shot down a Russian jet for allegedly crossing over its territory, Ankara said on Saturday that it had summoned the Russian ambassador after a Russian SU-34 jet crossed into Turkish airspace.

    The Russian defence ministry denied that there was any violation and dismissed the Turkish accusations as "baseless propaganda".

    "There has not been a single violation of Turkish airspace by Russia air force planes in Syria," ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Russian news agencies.

    He added that Turkish radar installations were not capable of identifying a particular aircraft or its type or nationality, and that no verbal warning had been issued.

    Rising tensions

    Relations between the two countries are at their lowest point in decades, prompted by the November 24 downing of the Russian jet by Turkish forces.

    Moscow imposed a series of economic sanctions against Ankara after the incident, sparking the biggest crisis between the two countries since the Cold War.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Friday's incident was a sign that Russia wanted issues between the two countries to deteriorate.

    "We regard this infringement which came despite all our warnings in Russian and in English as an effort by Russia to escalate the crisis in the region," Erdogan said on Saturday.

    "If Russia continues the violations of Turkey's sovereign rights, it will be forced to endure the consequences," he added, saying he wanted to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin after the incident.

    READ MORE: Russians pay the price of new anti-Turkish measures

    "I told our foreign ministry to convey my desire to meet Mr Putin personally. There has been no answer on this yet."

    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia to "act responsibly" and "take all necessary measures" to ensure the bloc's airspace was not violated again.

    "A Russian combat aircraft violated Turkish airspace yesterday, despite repeated warnings by the Turkish authorities. Previous incidents have shown how dangerous such behaviour is," Stoltenberg said in a statement on Saturday.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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