Turkey shoots down Russian warplane over Turkish airspace

Turkey claims Russian warplane was violating its national airspace; Putin claims event was “stab in back”; NATO calls emergency meeting at Turkey’s request

66547250992999640360no.jpg

Downed Russian warplane (EPA)

Turkish jets shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 warplane along the Syrian border Tuesday morning, Turkey claiming the warplane violated its national airspace and “rules of engagement”. Turkey claims that it warned the aircraft 10 times over a period of five minutes to leave its airspace or it would be shot down.

The Turkish Army claimed at the time of the incident that it did not know the nationality of the plane.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the incident was a “stab in the back committed by accomplices of terrorists” in a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II, warning of “significant consequences” in relations between Turkey and Russia. The Russian Defense Ministry released the statement: We are looking into the circumstances of the crash of the Russian jet. The Ministry of Defense would like to stress that the plane was over the Syrian territory throughout the flight.

Turkey responded that the incident was not “an action against any specific country” but that its “F-16s took the necessary steps to defend Turkey’s sovereign territory.”

NATO called an emergency meeting in Brussels following the incident at the request of Turkey.

There have been mixed reports on the two pilots of the aircraft. Reports claim that Turkmen rebels captured one of the pilots and the second pilot was killed. An investigation is underway.