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Turkish jets ‘intercept Russian plane’


Turkish jet intercepted Russian fighter plane which violated Turkish air space around Syrian border. The Russian plane was forced to turn back.

In a statement, the Turkish foreign ministry said that Turkey called the Russian Foreign ministry and “strongly protested” that violation.

It warned that if “such violation is repeated”,” Russia will be held responsible for any unwelcome incident that may occur.

The Russian aircraft infringed Turkish airspace at 0908 GMT (12.08 pm) on Saturday.   According to the foreign ministry, the violation took place in Turkey’s southern Hatay province.

“The Russian jet exited Turkish airspace and headed to Syria after it was interrupted by two F-16s from the Turkish Air Force. These two jets were conducting patrols in the area,” it added.

Feridum Sinirlioglu, Turkish Foreign Minister summoned his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov to discuss Turkish discomfort. He also called his counterparts from France, the United States, Germany and Italy to discuss the situation.

Turkey and Russia have been at odd over the war in Syria, with Moscow supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Ankara urging his ouster to fight on and overthrow the government, which it believes is the source of the conflict.

In 2012, Turkey grounded a Syrian aircraft at Ankara which was flying from Moscow to Damascus. The Turkey claimed that the aircraft was carrying Russian military equipment destined to Syria.

In the past, Turkey has described Russian bombarding campaign in Syria as “unacceptable”. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish president warned that Russia was making a “grave mistake.

British’s ambassador told Ankara Richard Moore that Russian’s intrusion into Turkish airspace was “worrying and reckless.” He also wrote on Twitter that UK and its NATO Allies stand with Turkey.

Western and other countries such as Turkey and Arabia jointly on Friday expressed “deep concern” over Moscow military build-up in Syria, an indication that they are not comfortable with Russian military operation in Syria.