Turkey summons Russian envoy over 'airspace violation'
Iran Press TV
Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:21PM
Turkey says it has summoned Russia's ambassador to Ankara in protest at alleged violation of Turkish airspace by Russian jets.
"A Su-34 plane belonging to the Russian Federation air force violated Turkish airspace at 11:46 local time yesterday (Friday)" despite radar warnings, the Turkish Foreign Ministry claimed in a statement on Saturday.
The statement added that following the incident Ankara summoned the Russian ambassador to "strongly protest and condemn" the violation. The ministry, however, did not specify where the incident took place.
The ministry accused Russia of escalating tensions between the two countries, saying Moscow would be held responsible for any dire consequences.
'We stress once again that all the responsibility for any unwanted grave consequences as a result of any such irresponsible behavior will belong entirely to the Russian Federation," it said.
Russia is yet to comment on Turkey's claim.
Erdogan warns of "consequences"
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday warned Russia of "consequences" if it continues to violate Turkish airspace.
"Russia will have to face consequences if it keeps on such violations against Turkey's sovereignty rights," Erdogan told reporters at an Istanbul airport before leaving for Latin America. "Such irresponsible steps do not benefit either the Russian Federation, or Russia-NATO relations, or regional and global peace," he added.
Erdogan also called for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the incident.
"I asked the deputy foreign minister to contact the Russian side, and inform that I want a personal conversation with President [Vladimir] Putin. Our ambassador informed that this information had been transmitted [to the Russian side], but so far we have not received any response," the Turkish president said.
NATO urges Russia to 'fully respect' alliance airspace
Also on Saturday, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), to which Turkey is a member, called on Moscow to "fully respect" alliance airspace.
"I call on Russia to act responsibly and to fully respect NATO airspace. Russia must take all necessary measures to ensure that such violations do not happen again," the head of the military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, said in a statement.
Moscow and Ankara have been locked in a war of words since November 24, 2015 when Turkey downed the Russian Su-24 fighter jet over Syria, claiming that it had entered Turkish airspace, an accusation strongly rejected by Moscow.
Of the two pilots aboard the warplane, one was rescued with the help of the Syrian army, but the other was wounded by militant fire while he was parachuting down and was killed on the ground.
Following the incident, Russia imposed an array of economic sanctions on Turkey while suspending all military agreements with Ankara over the attack.
Since the end of September last year, Russia has been carrying out airstrikes against militants in Syria, upon a request from the Damascus government.
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