Tensions between Russia and Turkey have spiked once more after Ankara accused Moscow of violating its airspace again. Furthermore, Turkey also warned Russia that it will “face consequences” should it continue to breach its airspace, reigniting concerns about a military confrontation between the two nations. NATO and the United States affirmed that there was violation but insisted that proofs remained classified.
Tensions continue to brew between Moscow and Ankara over airspace violations. The two countries already clashed in November last year after Turkey shot down Russia’s warplane. This time, Turkey is claiming that Russia repeated the same violation despite several warnings.
“We summoned the [Russian] Ambassador [to Ankara, Andrei Karlov] to our ministry and protested the act. We clearly told him, ‘If there are similar violations again you will have to face the consequences,’ because we previously communicated our rules of engagement to Russia,” Hurriyet Daily News quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu during a joint press conference with Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Riyadh.
According to Turkey, Russia’s war fighter breached the country’s airspace last January 29 even with multiple warnings issued. The United States and NATO confirmed the breach but images of the said violation have not been released because they are considered “classified.” Russia denied the claims and accused NATO and U.S. of a cover-up. “It is no coincidence that Turkey, after its loud outbursts towards Russia, is so persistent in involving NATO in this murky story. It’s absolutely clear to us that the information has been ‘classified’ not from us, but from the public and media, particularly those from Western countries and the US, which have been manipulated by their Turkish partners,” RT quoted Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov.
Turkey however countered the allegations and instead accused Russia of manipulation. “Russia can’t cover up the airspace violation,” Bloomberg quoted Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu from the same conference. “We are warning Russia once again that damage it is inflicting on moderate Syrian opposition elements and its threatening stance toward Turkish airspace are not in its favor,” added the minister.
Nonetheless, this has not stopped Russia from sending more fighter jets to Syria. TASS reported that Moscow sent at least Sukhoi Su-35S fighter jets in the region to bolster its military efforts. “Starting from last week, super-maneuverable Su-35S fighter jets started performing combat missions at Khmeimim airbase,” explained Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.