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Russia observation flights over Turkey fail to go ahead

February 4, 2016 at 10:37 am

Observation flights by Russian aircraft over Turkey on Feb. 2-5 did not take place, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said on Thursday.

“Observation flights are performed when the observing party and the observed party reach agreement on the mission plan. In the case of the observation flight requested by the Russian Federation for 2-5 Feb. agreement could not be reached on the mission plan and the flight has thus not been conducted,” said Bilgic in a written statement.

Read: Russia to carry out observation flights over Turkey

Bilgic said the 1992 Treaty on Open Skies establishes a regime that permits nation state parties to conduct aerial observation flights over the territories of other states parties in accordance with distributed quotas.

Turkey became one of the 34 state parties to the treaty after signing it in 1994.

In another written statement Thursday, Bilgic reiterated a call on the Russian government to relieve tensions following the downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkish Air Force on Nov. 24 after it breached Turkish airspace.

Bilgic said Ankara has preserved its calm stance despite a smear campaign and provocations carried out by Moscow in the wake of the incident.

Also read: Russia asks NATO not to interfere to resolve its violation of Turkish airspace

The ministry accused Russia of denying a truth recognized by the international community and pointed to dialogue for the de-escalation of the issue.

“We reiterate once more our call to solve the current tension through dialogue,” Bilgic said.

The spokesperson said that repeated airspace violations by Russia would have consequences and that Ankara would hold Moscow fully responsible.

On Nov. 24, Turkish F-16 fighters on aerial patrol intercepted and shot down a Russian SU-24 after it ignored warnings and crossed into Turkish airspace, leading to heightened tension between Moscow and Ankara.