Russia suspends military co-operation with Turkey

2015-11-25 10:08
This frame grab from video by Haberturk TV, shows a Russian warplane on fire before crashing on a hill as seen from Hatay province, Turkey. (Haberturk TV via AP)

This frame grab from video by Haberturk TV, shows a Russian warplane on fire before crashing on a hill as seen from Hatay province, Turkey. (Haberturk TV via AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Russia's defence ministry has announced suspension of military cooperation with Turkey and Sergey Lavrov, foreign minister, has cancelled a planned trip to Turkey following the downing of a Russian warplane near the Turkey-Syria border on Tuesday.

The Russian Sukhoi Su-24 warplane was  shot down  for violating Turkish airspace, angering Russia's President Vladimir Putin, who compared the incident to being "stabbed in the back".

Russia also warned its citizens not to travel to Turkey, saying it was unsafe, and deployed a warship to the coastline near where the plane crashed.

The plane crashed in Syrian territory in Latakia's Yamadi village.

Russia has confirmed one of the pilots has died.

A Russian helicopter was also shot at as it took part in the search for the two pilots near the Turkish-Syrian border, opposition groups in Syria said.

Turkey, Russia and their respective allies have entered a war of words after the incident, raising tensions in a region struggling to cope with the ongoing Syrian conflict.

Putin sharply criticised Turkey for establishing contact with Nato to discuss the incident, prior to contacting Russia.

"Today's loss is linked to a stab in the back delivered to us by accomplices of terrorists. I cannot qualify what happened today as anything else," Putin said in televised comments.

"Our plane was shot down over the territory of Syria by an air-to-air missile from a Turkish F-16 jet. It fell in Syrian territory 4km from the border with Turkey. Our pilots and our plane did not in any way threaten Turkey.

"Instead of immediately establishing contacts with us, as far as we know Turkey turned to its Nato partners to discuss this incident, as if we had hit their plane and not the other way around," he said.

ANALYSIS: Downing of Russian jet hardly a surprise

Russia has been carrying out air strikes in Syria since September, saying it is targeting ISIS and al-Nusra Front.

The Syrian opposition and Western powers, however, say the Russian strikes have mainly targeted rebel groups fighting the Syrian government, an ally of Russia.

Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's prime minister, said Turkey had a duty to act against anyone violating its borders.

"Everyone must know that it is our international right and national duty to take any measure against whoever violates our air or land borders," he said in Ankara.

"Turkey will not hesitate to take all steps to protect the country's security."

While Nato called for the two nations to show restraint, Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance secretary-general, said: "We stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our Nato ally."

The US also backed Turkey's right to defend its territory.

President Barack Obama said while the US did not have enough information to form conclusions about the incident, similar confrontations could be avoided if Russia stopped attacking "moderate" Syrian rebels who are battling forces loyal to the government of President Bashar Assad.

"This points to an ongoing problem with the Russian operations in the sense that they are operating very close to a Turkish border and they are going after moderate opposition that are supported by not only Turkey but a wide range of countries," Obama said.

Meanwhile, the Syrian government backed its key ally Russia, with a military official telling the state SANA news agency that by shooting down the Russian plane, Turkey had committed "a gross violation of Syrian sovereignty".

"The desperate acts of aggression will only increase our determination to continue the war against the terrorist organisations with the support and help of Syria's friends, mainly Russia," the official said.

A major point of contention is whether the Russian jet crossed into Turkish airspace, with the two nations releasing their own satellite images showing conflicting views of the jet's final flight path. A Turkish military statement said the plane violated Turkish airspace in Hatay province and was warned "10 times in five minutes" before being shot down at 09:24 local time.

A US official told Al Jazeera that the penetration of Turkish airspace by the Russian jet lasted "only a matter of seconds" as it crossed a roughly 3km wide section of Turkey that took only 20 seconds to traverse. 

Russia, however, vehemently denied that its plane ever crossed into Turkish airspace.

Read more on:    un  |  nato  |  russia  |  turkey  |  security

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.