Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Russian embassy admits Russian warplane violates Turkish airspace

The Russian embassy on Monday admitted that a Russian warplane, apparently operating inside Syria, violated Turkish airspace over the weekend. “Such an incident took place,” the embassy said, according to the Interfax news agency. The Turkish military identified the plane as a MiG-29 fighter jet and said the aircraft locked radar and harassed two Turkish F-16 fighter jets that were patrolling the border with Syria. It was not immediately clear why Russia would be using a fighter jet, primarily designed for air-to-air combat, in Syria. Russia’s Defence Ministry has said it is using Sukhoi aircraft on bombing missions against the terrorist group Islamic State. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Russia admitted it “mistakenly” violated Turkey’s airspace, and he issued a sharp warning that the country has clear rules of engagement on its border. Davutoglu stressed that lines of communication with Russia, a “friend,” are open and that the airspace violation would not cause tensions in the relations between Ankara and Moscow. Turkey earlier summoned the Russian ambassador and warned that if there were any future violations, Moscow “will be responsible for any undesired incident that may occur,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu contacted his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, to protest the incident.



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