A Russian Su-34 warplane allegedly violated Turkish airspace on Friday, further raising tensions that were already running high along Turkey's border with Syria.
Turkey strongly condemned the incident as a concrete indication of escalating hostilities between the two nations. Turkey summoned a Russian envoy discuss the matter, and the country's Foreign Ministry urged Moscow to be more careful about not violating Turkish and NATO airspace.
"These irresponsible actions of Russians may cause new unfortunate developments between Russia and Turkey," the Turkish statement said. "They will be held responsible for this."
The statement also called on the Russian Ministry of Defense to condemn the actions of its own air force.
Russia disputed the allegations.
"There were no violations of Turkish airspace by aircraft of the Russian air group," Major General Igor Konashenkov told Russian media outlets on Saturday. "Turkish authorities' statements of an alleged violations of Turkish airspace by a Russian Su-34 jet are naked propaganda.
"None of these radars are able to establish the type and affiliation of an aircraft — whether it belongs to Russia or to the so-called US-led anti-ISIL coalition," Konashenkov added, using an alternate acronym for the Islamic State.
In November, a Russian Su-24, a two-seater twin-engine fighter-bomber, was shot down after allegedly crossing into Turkish airspace. Turkey said the Russian pilot repeatedly disregarded warnings and orders to turn around before it was downed by Turkish F-16s.
It was the first time a NATO member's armed forces downed a Russian or Soviet aircraft since the 1950s. The incident ramped up hostilities between the two nations, and quickly escalated into a war of words between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Putin said Turkey's action would have "significant consequences," and describing it as "a stab in the back carried out by accomplices of terrorists." Erdogan condemned Putin's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying it equated to sponsorship of state terrorism.
Russian airstrikes, which have incurred heavy civilian casualties, have been a source of controversy, particularly as Putin continues to disregard the US-led coalition's strategy against the Islamic State by targeting coalition-backed rebels in addition to Islamic State targets.
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