Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Embassy Announcement

Press Release On Violation Of The Turkish Airspace , 25.11.2015

On 24 November, Turkish radars detected two SU-24 type aircraft of unidentified nationality flying very close to Turkish border near Yayladağı region of Hatay Province.

The two aircraft were warned 10 times by our radar over a period of 5 minutes, via emergency “Guard” channel to change their heading south immediately so as not to violate the Turkish national airspace.

Both aircraft, flying at an altitude of 19.000 feet and following each other with a distance of 5 miles, violated Turkish airspace from east to west by 1,15 miles depth and 1,36 miles length for 17 seconds starting from 09.24¢.05² (9 hours, 24 minutes, 5 seconds).

The radar track records indicating the flight pattern and violated air space have been shared with Allies at the North Atlantic Council meeting. 

Upon continued warnings, one of the aircraft left the Turkish airspace. However, the second aircraft continued to violate the Turkish airspace
and was shot down by the Turkish F-16’s conducting air patrolling in the area. The intruder was still in Turkish airspace when hit and then crashed into the adjacent territory in Syria. 

We have repeatedly communicated and explained in very clear terms our rules of engagement for all unidentified aircraft approaching from Syria in violation of Turkish airspace to all concerned parties, including Russia.

Therefore, the incident is essentially an implementation of our existing rules of engagement towards an aircraft of unidentified nationality, which violated Turkish airspace in spite of repeated warnings.

We have informed the P-5 countries through their Embassies in Ankara. We have also circulated a letter at the UN and informed the UN Secretary General and the Security Council. 

Upon our request, NATO Council met on 24 November. We have informed our Allies about the incident at that meeting. All Allies expressed their strong solidarity with Turkey.

The violated airspace is also NATO airspace. As Secretary General Stoltenberg underlined at the press conference he held following the Council meeting, we appreciate and value the solidarity our Allies have been displaying. 

We would like to stress that we have no intention whatsoever to escalate the situation. Our contacts with the Russian authorities are ongoing to this end.