A Russian Su-34 Fullback bomber has violated the Turkish airspace yesterday

It looks like it has happened again….

Turkey has summoned the Russian envoy after a Russian Air Force Su-34 Fullback bomber allegedly violated the Turkish airspace during a mission from Hmeymim airbase, near Latakia, in northwestern Syria.

The incident, took place on Friday Jan. 29, and according to Ankara, several warnings in Russian and in English were radioed to aircraft: in other words, something similar to what happened little more than 2 month ago, on Nov. 24, 2015, when a Su-24 Fencer was shot down by a Turkish Air Force F-16 near the border with Syria.

However, unlike the last violation, that eventually led to the downing of the Fencer (and the death of one of the two crew members) this time, the Russian Su-34 was not shot down (even though we don’t really know if the Turkish Air Force attempted to…)

In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said: “We are making a clear call to the Russian Federation not to violate Turkish airspace, which is also NATO airspace.”

Perhaps, the Turkish authorities don’t want to further escalate the crisis with Russia caused by the Su-24 incident: following the Fencer shootdown, Russia equipped its planes flying in Syria with air-to-air missiles for self-defense, escorted the bombers with Su-30 Flankers, sent a S-400 missile system to Hmeymin airbase and moved the S-300F-equipped Moskva guided-missile destroyer off Latakia, enforcing a MEZ (Missile Engagement Zone) over Syria.

Anyway, what’s worth noticing is that the Russian planes continue to breach into the Turkish airspace every now and then, in spite of the warnings, onboard navigation systems and the risk of being engaged by the TuAF: it all started on Oct. 3 and 4, when a Russian Air Force Su-30SM and Su-24 aircraft reportedly violated the Turkish sovereign airspace in the Hatay region causing the NATO to protest. TuAF F-16s in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) were scrambled to identify the intruders and according to Turkish sources a Russian Su-30SM maintained a radar lock on one or both the F-16s for a full 5 minutes and 40 seconds!

Following the incident Ankara said it would shot down any aircraft violating their sovereign airspace as done in the past with the Syrian Mig-23 and Mi-17 maintaining the promise on Nov. 24, 2015, when the doomed Su-24 entered its sovereign airspace for 17 seconds.

Image credit: Russia MoD


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. LOL… its too late to worry about that now. Just be happy it didn’t drop any bombs.
    Turkey just needs to make sure it doesn’t violate the S-400 airspace :)

    • haha yeah, no sign of Turkish F-16s in the sky now. They just start crying on their NATO phoneline.

      • And when Turkey shoots down another red-fighter will Putin bark again as usual? Turkey is being nice by warning russia again. And that S-400 is well within range of Turkish SOM Cruise Missiles which are land launch capable.

        • What pleb-tier Chinese missile is this Turkish missile a copy of? Should be a good laugh to watch these skyrockets fall from the sky.

    • Oh they learned and now it’s time to educate Erdogan. The S-400 system covers an area so deep into Turkey that now Turkey has to ask Russia for takeoff permission.

      The S-400’s fastest missile, the 48n6, flies at mach 6.8 that means it reaches its 250 km range in just over one minute. That covers its most important air base, Incirlik and almost covers another four bases. Tell me who should feel threatened now?

      • Permission? Where did you get that info, considering coalition forces use incirlik air base for awhile now, and continue to do so.
        Guess Russia doesn’t like being embarrassed by Turkey destroying multiple Russian built aircraft.

      • What if we did the same thing with Russia with SAM bases around Russian borders, and demanded them to ask permission to take off?
        Would that world too?

          • I’m quite sure there aren’t NATO bases in Somalia, Kazakhstan, and among other of those countries there.

            False information, lies and propaganda is unbecoming.

      • is it really an advantage going that fast? high speed means high inertia which should make them easier to dodge.

      • I get your point, but I don’t see the true interest of the Russians in that case.
        Since they now have a safe no-fly zone over the area, why patronizing the Turks like this ? Educate Erdogan ? Come on, this kind of revenge is childish, this is geopolitics with lives (and the threat of awar) on the line, and people make it look like a schoolyard statement…

        The Turks were obviously wrong shooting down the Fencer for this few-seconds’ “violation”, the Russinas took strong measures to avoid another situation like this and i fully understand it. And they won the game, like you said, the range of their SAMs can prevent any further interception. Yet, knowing that they can operate safely thanks to the SAM coverage of the area, why do they keep sending their bombers cross the border ? Mere provocation ? IMO acting like this is stupid and pointless, hence Erdogan will obviously rely on NATO and rise tensions again.

        Both sides should chill out and stop provocating the other. It will only lead to an escalation…

        • I would agree with you completely, but first I’d really want to see prove that Russian aircraft did violate Turkish airspace.. Not just words.. so far I have seen only Russian evidence that Turkey is indeed trading ISIS oil, which turns to be truth, that Turkey violates other country sovereignty and deploys troops at will (Iraq), that Turkey shells Syrian territory targeting Syrian army, etc..

          • My purpose is to be taken as an “if”, since we’re discussing an event that “allegedly” happened, like so many on the internet by the way ;) . ‘Cause the whole story here is about propaganda : Fullback crossed the border VS it didn’t.

            Can we, at our level, prove something and gather evidence about this particular situation ? I don’t think so.
            Besides, the so-called military evidence is nowadays released mostly by official sources : strike footage for instance showing “fuel trucks near the turkish border” has been released by the russian MoD in order to serve russian interests, let’s not be blind. Seems to me that it’s true though, but not certifiable. So in a way, by discussing these “alleged” facts, we’re pouring oil on the fire too !

            That being said I have to agree with your comments though, the facts are by far against the Turks in that ISIS situation.
            Are the Russians angels nevertheless ? I don’t think so ;)
            So my conclusion still stands : both shall chill out :)

          • The Russian plane and the pilot landed over a mile in Syria. That is an undisputed fact. It is questionable if the Russian plane ever was in Turkish air space and if it were it certainly would have been headed out within a few seconds. Add that to the destruction of recovery hilicoptor inside Syria and the murder of the pilot and a member of the recovery team all in direct violation of international law speaks very poorly for Turkey and NAYO both. Russians couldn’t even get an expression of compassion from Obama! We are our worse enemy.

        • Sorry, lots of comments to reply to and it takes awhile to get a comment up.
          Look at the area were the Russians are operating. It is extremely small. US Navy for example doesn’t like to operate more the two carriers in the Arabian Gulf because they are too close, so one operates at night and the other during the day. So is it possible that Su-34 crossed the border, sure, but that doesn’t mean that it poses a threat or that it is an intentional challenge. I doubt they are flying on autopilot so a small deviation from a flight path and that enough.

          People make mistakes. Look at what Israel did, they actualy programed Russian IFF as friendly to avoid any accidents. Israel isn’t the most passive country when it comes to defence.

          My point is that even countries that are in a confrontation elsewhere in the world,like US and Russia, take many steps to avoid direct conflict.
          I personally believe that Turkey should be getting rid of these rebel/terrorist/whatever groups. I believe its in there interest. Erdogan does not. I think Erdogan is doing what Pakistan was doing in the 1970s-2010 and to some degree now. They want to develop terrorist groups like the Mujahidin and Taliban and use them against their enemies in the region. Pakistan had India in mind. Erdogan is doing that in Syria.

          For Russia, Turkey would make a good ally if it would just stop supporting all the terrorist in the region. Russia believes that the region has as many as 60-70k terrorist with 1/2 to 2/3rd in ISIS. around 15k speak Russian and are a direct threat.

          Why does NATO apparently support Erdogan? NATO leadership is extremely anti-Russian, so any chance it has it takes. However that doesn’t mean that it would start WW3 over Turkey.

      • careful there… ground based SAMs are easily countered by ground based ARMs. The sword and the shield story. The border is not that far and the concept worked successfully for Israel in 1973.
        Now you tell me, modern SAMs are not what they were in 1973… and I will tell you modern ARMs are not what they were in 1973 either…

        I see rather political needs not to escalate the thing further, than any real threat posed by that isolated base.

  2. Seems to me the Russians are trying to provoke the Turks. I wonder how far they are willing to go to get a response….

    • Sure they do CharleyA, we have an idiom in Turkish that says: “Barking dog never bites” they are just barking in front of our borders for a show off. Lets give them Some time to masturbate around syria with their big SAMs and super manouvarable toys. They will bark again when they lose another aircraft, i am just sorry about the pilots for risking their lives for such kinda silly issues, supporting Assad!

  3. ou veulent en venir les Turques avec la chasse Russe!!!!!! cherche le déséquilibre!!!!! tout cela est bien flou!!!!!!

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