NATO warns Russia to 'fully respect' airspace

Erdogan: 'Russia will have to face consequences if it keeps on such violations against Turkey's sovereignty rights.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Russian Sukhoi Su-25 j fighter jet (file)
Russian Sukhoi Su-25 j fighter jet (file)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday warned Russia it will "face consequences" after Ankara accused Moscow of a new violation of its 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 on a Latin America tour. "Such irresponsible steps do not benefit either the Russian Federation, or Russia-NATO relations, or regional and global peace."

"A Su-34 plane belonging to the Russian Federation air force violated Turkish airspace at 11:46 (0946 GMT) local time yesterday (Friday)," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The allegation comes just over two months after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border on November 24, saying it had violated Turkish airspace.

Ankara on Friday summoned the Russian ambassador to the Foreign Ministry to "strongly protest and condemn" the latest alleged violation, the Ministry added, without specifying where it took place.

Ankara called on Russia to "act responsibly" and warned: "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."

NATO head Jens Stoltenberg on Saturday has also warned Russia it must "fully respect" alliance airspace as key member Turkey blasted Moscow for "irresponsible behavior."

"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," Stoltenberg said in a statement.

Russia, however, has dismissed the claims as "baseless propaganda." A Defense Ministry spokesperson told Russian news agencies, "The Turkish declarations concerning the alleged violation of its airspace by a Russian Su-34 are baseless propaganda."

Moscow and Ankara are currently experiencing their worst relations since the end of the Cold War.

In addition to the November 24 incident which sparked a bitter diplomatic row, the two countries back opposing sides in Syria's almost five-year civil war, with Russia the key supporter of the Damascus regime while Turkey argues that the ouster of Assad is essential to solving the Syrian crisis.

AFP contributed to this report