Turkey says Russian warplane violates its airspace near Syrian border

Updated: 2015-10-05 18:17


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ANKARA/ISTANBUL -- Turkey said on Monday that a Russian warplane violated its airspace on Saturday in the southern Yayladagi town of Hatay province near the Syrian border.

"The Russian aircraft exited Turkish airspace into Syria after it was intercepted by two F-16s from the Turkish Air Force, which were conducting patrols in the region," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry summoned the Russian ambassador in Turkey and "strongly protested this violation," the statement said.

The ministry "demanded that any such violation not be repeated and affirmed that, otherwise, Russia will be responsible for any undesired incident that may occur," the statement added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu had called his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, and conveyed the protest, the statement said.

The Turkish foreign minister also had telephone conversations with his US, French, Italian and British counterparts over the incident and plans to consult with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier as well, said the statement.

Tension has been running high along Turkey's border Syria.

In May, Turkey shot down a Syrian aircraft, saying it violated Turkish airspace.

In 2013, Turkish warplanes shot down a Syrian helicopter at the border region after the helicopter allegedly violated Turkish airspace.

In June 2012, Syria shot down a Turkish fighter jet under similar circumstances.

Russia started airstrikes on targets of Syrian rebels, including the extremist Islamic State (IS) group, in Syria last week, saying it was helping Damascus fight terrorism.

Ankara has made it clear that the Turkish government is uncomfortable with Russia's ongoing intervention in the Syrian conflict.

"Unfortunately, Russia is now in a serious mistake and I was under the impression that this step will be a sign which will lead it (Russia) to isolation in the region," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday before leaving for France.