NATO Blasts Russian Fighter Jet Incursions into Turkey

A Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet (RIA Novosti/Lesya Polyakova)A Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet (RIA Novosti/Lesya Polyakova)

NATO on Monday criticized Russian fighter jet incursions into Turkish airspace over the weekend, calling the move irresponsible and dangerous.

Russian Sukhoi Su-30 Flanker attack aircraft entered Turkish airspace on Saturday and Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer multi-role fighter aircraft did the same on Sunday. The planes flew over the Hatay region, located in the southern part of the country on the Mediterranean Sea and bordering Syria, according to NATO.

“The aircraft in question entered Turkish airspace despite Turkish authorities’ clear, timely and repeated warnings,” it said in a statement. “In accordance with NATO practice, Turkish fighter aircraft responded to these incursions by closing to identify the intruder, after which the Russian planes departed Turkish airspace.

“Allies strongly protest these violations of Turkish sovereign airspace, and condemn these incursions into and violations of NATO airspace,” according to the statement. “Allies also note the extreme danger of such irresponsible behaviour. They call on the Russian Federation to cease and desist, and immediately explain these violations.

NATO also called on Russia to “immediately cease” its attacks on the Syrian opposition and instead urged for the federation to focus on attacking militants affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq in Syria, known as ISIS or ISIL. Ankara also issued a formal warning.

CNN in Turkey reported that a pair of MiG-29 planes had Turkish F-16 aircraft under radar lock for more than five minutes. The MiG-29s were presumed to belong to the Syrian air force.

The twin-engine Su-30 is Russia’s newer multi-role fighter and capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground operations. The older Su-24 is also a twin-engine aircraft designed in part to conduct long-range strike missions.

Recently released commercial satellite imagery showed Su-30SM and Su-24 fighter jets (partially covered in nets), Il-76 transport aircraft, Mi-24 Hind helicopters (also partially covered), T-90 tanks and BTR-80 armored personnel carriers at Bassel al-Assad International Airport.

The imagery also showed Mi-17 Hip helicopters and probable Ka-27/28 Helix helicopters, in addition to a fuel storage facility, at the Istamo Weapon Storage Facility.

A broadcast last week from the Russian television network RT shows some of the military’s more than 50 jets and helicopters now operating in Syria, including the Sukhoi Su-25UB Frogfoot attack planes and Su-34 Fullback advanced strike fighters conducting airstrikes from a base in Latakia.

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Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • Lance

    And with the idiot CinC in charge picking on American Gun Owners instead of fighting Russian aggression. Putin has little to fear.

    Russian wont be serious on the ground till the T-80s and BMP-3 get moved in country.

  • Seve

    Just more talk and complaints.. NATO and Obama will never start a nuclear war with Russia, especially over a place like Syria!

    • blight_asdfljk

      We’d never start a world war over Serbia…

    • anomyous coward

      Is it worth nuking the world over a place like Syria?
      That’s just M.A.D.

    • nmi

      No one that is SANE will start a nuclear war with Syria

  • putinreloaded

    Notice that its NATO making a big deal about this and not Turkey itself.

    • davec0121

      Re-read the article. You appear to have missed the part about Turkey’s response

  • Ksikkihkini

    The Russians are fighting Obamas ISIS, we have found the enemy and they are….do you know the rest?

    • DawgNayShun

      in the white house??

    • nmi

      Obama’s ISIS? Talk about conspiracy theory bull.

  • andrewnyewood

    Russia’s strategy is to break-up the EU / Nato via an immigration / terrorist crisis. Three million ISIS-laden refugees pushing into Europe. The response to the first wave was mild compared to what will come in subsequent waves. First we’ll see bad treatment of the immigrants, next terrorist attacks will be timed to add flames to the fire. Resources will be pulled inward allowing Russia greater freedom to push in Ukraine, Syria, Estonia, and elsewhere.

  • Beef Stick

    No news about Russian soldiers joining up with Syrian fighters? It’s all over twitter right now.

  • CidBob

    This is DefenseTech, correct?

    The SU-24 was designed PRIMARILY as a long-range strike and interdiction platform like the F-111. Can we please get the details right?

  • d. kellogg

    Yes, because twitter is part of the Internet and everything on the net is true, the internet said so.

    Gave up twitter ages ago because 80% was more opinionated BS and skewed perspectives than anything of worthwhile value. Little more than an overrated gossip column anymore with cheesy gifs and 20 thousand #facebook links, NOT a credible news source unless it’s firsthand witnesses (the other 20%).

  • Highguard

    Russian planners are obviously lightweights in Security Cooperation. I’m surprised we haven’t heard an announcement from Ankara yet about the Bosphorous being closed to all Russian flag vessel transit UFN. Maybe by the time I get home.

  • ShamWowed

    I think it is safe to say the Syrian regime is less dangerous to the region than what ISIS brings to the table; the recent Israeli bombing of the reactor not withstanding. If we are so caught up in opposing Russia why not start supplying Ukraine with heavy weapons? We would essentially be opening up a second front that has required a fairly small contingent of forces from Russia at this point. Let them bleed in the Middle East and lose ground in Ukraine. With their economy in recession, this will do more to contain the evils of Russian aggression. Just a thought.

  • Navyjag907

    I still think keeping Assad in power is much better for the region than what might replace him. That being so, I support the Russian deployment of forces as described (never thought I would write words like that). I do think we to avoid ANY fighting between Russian and Western Air Forces; there’s no benefit to it and Putin might react with attacks. I believe the Russians have as great a need to destroy ISIS as we in the West do. Their problems with their Muslim factions, especially the Chechens, are worse than any problems we have.