Turkey have ordered Turkish Air Forces to be ready to shoot down any Russian aircraft on sight, following claims that a Russian Su-34 warplane violated Turkish airspace on Friday.
Turkey have raised the alert level for the Air Force to the “orange warning”, which authorises pilots to shoot down any aircraft they feel is causing an airspace violation. Another downing of a Russian airplane in the region could the military tension between the two nations escalate to dangerous levels.
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.