Letter explains jet violated Turkish airspace before being shot down
NEW YORK – Turkey has submitted a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon explaining the downing of a Russian jet early Tuesday after it violated Turkish airspace.
The letter that was also sent to the Security Council and obtained by Anadolu Agency, said two SU-24 warplanes approached Turkish airspace in the Yayladagi region before Turkish authorities warned the planes via “emergency” channel and asked them to immediately change their headings.
Ten warnings were used during a 5-minute period.
“Disregarding these warnings, both planes, at an altitude of 19,000 feet, violated Turkish national airspace to a depth of 1.36 miles and 1.15 miles in length for 17 seconds,” read the letter, adding that one of the planes left Turkish airspace after the violation.
The other plane “was fired at while in Turkish national airspace by Turkish F-16s performing air combat patrolling in that area in accordance with the rules of engagement ” and “crashed onto the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border”.
“Our rules of engagement are well known and reiterated to all parties on numerous occasions. Turkey will not hesitate to exercise its rights emanating from international law to protect the security of its citizens and borders in compliance with the established rules and regulations,” it added.
Russian warplanes previously violated Turkish airspace twice in October. The incidents occurred within a few days of the start of Russia’s air campaign in Syria on Sept. 30 and led to international condemnation.