NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Saturday that a Russian combat aircraft violated Turkish airspace on Friday, despite repeated warnings by the Turkish authorities. Previous incidents have shown how dangerous such behaviour is, he said.
“I call on Russia to act responsibly and to fully respect NATO airspace. Russia must take all necessary measures to ensure that such violations do not happen again,” Stoltenberg said. “I welcome the direct contacts between Ankara and Moscow, and I call for calm and de-escalation.”
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In November last year also, Turkish officials had said that the Russian plane Su-24 had violated Turkish airspace and ignored their warning.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, argued that Su-24 was flying over the Syrian territory when it was hit by air-to-air missiles fired by Turkish F-16s.
NATO says it stands in solidarity with Turkey and supports the territorial integrity of its Ally, Turkey.
“Allies agreed in December to increase the presence of AWACS early warning aircraft over Turkey, as we continue to augment Turkey’s air defences. This decision precedes Friday’s incident,” Stoltenberg stated.
Photo courtesy: NATO