Saturday, January 30, 2016 10:52 pm
Turkish Air Forces are ready to shoot down any aircraft out of order after Ankara claimed that a Russian SU-34 war plane violated Turkey’s airspace on Friday, local daily Hurriyet reported on Saturday.
Turkish Air Forces have reportedly raised the alert level at air bases to “orange warning” and authorized pilots to shot down any aircraft out of order in case of airspace violation, said the report.
Many F-16 jets are dispatched to an air base in Diyarbakir province in southeastern Turkey, according to the report.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday warned Russia of “consequences” if it continues to violate Turkish airspace.
“If Russia continues to violate Turkey’s sovereignty, it will have to face the consequences,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul before leaving for a visit to Chile.
He blamed Russia for acting “irresponsibly” and escalating the tension in the region, while emphasizing that the issue was closely followed by NATO.
“These kinds of irresponsible acts not only damage NATO-Russian relations but also the regional and global peace,” the president stressed, as his country is a NATO member.
Erdogan said that he hoped to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin but to no avail.
Earlier, Turkish foreign ministry said it summoned Russian ambassador to Ankara late Friday after it claimed that Russia’s SU-34 violated Turkey’s airspace.
In a written statement, the ministry said Turkish air force warned the Russian aircraft several times on Friday in Russian and English, adding that the violation is also a new and concrete indicator of Moscow’s actions which aims at “accelerating problems despite open warnings by our country and by NATO.”
The ministry has urged Russia “not to violate Turkish airspace, which is NATO airspace. We underline that such actions could lead to serious consequence,” said the statement.
“We once more underline that unwanted serious developments as outcome of this kind of irresponsible acts will be on Russian Federation’s liability,” added the statement.
The ministry said all these arguments were conveyed to the Russian ambassador.
In Moscow on Saturday, Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov dismissed Turkey’s accusations as “baseless propaganda,” saying that there has not been a single violation of Turkish airspace by Russia air force planes in Syria.
Turkish air force shot down the Russian jet on Nov. 24 claiming it has violated Turkish airspace, whereas Moscow insisted the Su-24 stayed over Syria during its flight.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded an apology from the Turkish leadership and a compensation for the damage. Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered economic sanctions against Turkey.