Statement by the North Atlantic Council on incursions into Turkey’s airspace by Russian aircraft
The North Atlantic Council met on Monday 5 October to hold consultations on the potential implications of the recent dangerous military actions of the Russian Federation in and around Syria.
Allies expressed their deep concern with regard to the Russian military build-up in Syria and especially the attacks by the Russian Air Force on Hama, Homs, and Idlib which led to civilian casualties and did not target Da’esh. Allies call on the Russian Federation to immediately cease its attacks on the Syrian opposition and civilians, to focus its efforts on fighting ISIL, and to promote a solution to the conflict through a political transition.
Russian military actions have reached a more dangerous level with the recent violations of Turkish airspace on 3 October and 4 October by Russian Air Force SU-30 and SU-24 aircraft in the Hatay region. The aircraft in question entered Turkish airspace despite Turkish authorities’ clear, timely and repeated warnings. 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. 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.
Allies call on the Russian side to take all necessary measures to ensure that such violations do not take place in the future.