Tensions between Ankara and Moscow over Russia’s stepped-up military involvement in the Syrian war escalated sharply on Monday when Turkey revealed two of its F-16 fighters intercepted a Russian jet that had crossed into Turkish airspace over the town of Yayladagi in the border province Hatay.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry has summoned Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov over an alleged violation of Turkish airspace by a Russian warplane, the ministry said in a statement Monday, RIA Novosti reports.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was given the same message in a telephone call from his Turkish counterpart Feridun Sinirlioglu, while Turkey’s North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners have also been consulted.
Any migrants picked up would be taken back to Turkey, where six new camps for up to two million people would be built, co-financed by the European Union , to relieve the huge pressure on Greece in particular.
But Turkey and other members of the US-led coalition in Syria say the principal target is in fact the Syrian opposition groups fighting President Assad.
Russia’s air operations to support Mr. Assad are introducing military risks to the hitherto diplomatic disagreement between Moscow and Ankara over how to resolve the conflict in Syria, now in its fifth year.
Turkey has maintained a buffer zone five miles inside Syria since June 2012, when a Syrian air defense missile shot down a Turkish fighter plane that had strayed into Syrian airspace during a training mission.
Moscow insists the strikes are targeting Daesh and affiliated terrorist groups, but Western countries and their Gulf allies believe moderate opponents of Assad and civilians are bearing the brunt of Russian bombing. “The necessary will be done even if it’s a bird that violates Turkey’s border…”
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday that Moscow had described its warplane’s violation of Turkey’s airspace as a “mistake”. “Because it will only inflame, as I used the phrase “pour gasoline” on the civil war of Syria“, Carter said. He also accused the West of fuelling terrorism with their airstrikes.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan criticised Russia’s air strikes in Syria as a “grave mistake” that is unacceptable to Ankara, Hurriyet newspaper reported on Sunday.
Last week, the Pentagon and the Kremlin began conversations as to how to avoid potential missteps as both nations conducted