When Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 after sending warnings for more than 5 minutes, they were quick to say that Russia violated its airspace and acted accordingly. NATO backed its allied country while calling for a quick de-escalation of the situation. NATO stated that both Ankara and Moscow have already established contact over the situation.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told CNN he would not apologize.
“I think if there is a party that needs to apologize, it is not us,” he said from the Turkish capital. “Those who violated our airspace are the ones who need to apologize. Our pilots and our armed forces, they simply fulfilled their duties, which consisted of responding to … violations of the rules of engagement. I think this is the essence.”
That said, Turkey seems to forget that last year, its air force violated the Hellenic National (Greece) airspace more than 2,244 times. Both Turkey and Grecce joined NATO in 1952.
For example, on September 24 2014, 1 formation (4 Turkish fighter aircraft) and 5 CN-235, committed 6 infringements of the Air Traffic Regulations (ICAO) and 6 violations of the Hellenic National Airspace. 2 of the Turkish aircraft were armed. All violating aircraft were intercepted and identified, according to the relevant international rules and procedures.
The CN-235 is a twin-engined transport aircraft that can carry surveillance operations.
So far in 2015, Turkey violated Greece’s airspace more than 1,443 times. On October 7 2015, 39 aircraft violated the Greek airspace in a single day.
Forbes reported that “interestingly, the issue of airspace violations has been a near-constant flashpoint between Turkey and another NATO member, Greece, for years. This is due to a dispute over the sovereignty of islands in the Aegean, as well as other factors such as the delimitation of territorial waters and national airspace. The latter has resulted in frequent confrontations between the air forces of both countries. These have been known to turn aggressive, resulting in casualties on both sides.”
Turkey have violated Greece’s airspace for years with numerous aircraft; situations where Greek pilots sent numerous warning before escorting them out; a normal procedure in the escalation of force.
If the Turkish version is right, the Russian Su-24 flew inside Turkish airspace for 17 seconds, not giving enough time to conduct an escalation of force. Yet, the Russian Su-24 was destroyed, killing one of its pilot.