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. Even an AWACS can’t determine the type, and especially the nationality of some plane.
    BTW, an A50U is also around since December (other claim even earlier).

  2. That still remains to be determined…
    Restraint is not equal to fear. What “invading aircraft”?
    I will always agree with, and support the truth – nato (yanks) proved time, and again that their “truth” bends to tightly fit their momentary interests.

    • Once again, you failed to realize how Russia keeps provoking everyone. Forgot Crimea? Georgia? Forgot how many times Russia invades the territorial waters and airspace from NATO countries?

      • Russia stopped a war that Georgia started, with American backing, in 2008. The people of Crimea voted to return to Russia. They did not want to be attacked by a neofascist coup regime in Kiev that wages war on its own people.

        • You have no clue what you’re talking about. The US didn’t “back” Georgia.

          We’d been doing FID with them for roughly two decades before the conflict. I would know. I was one of the grunts doing that FID mission with their “Commandos”. We do the exact same thing in roughly a hundred other countries. Aside from that we gave them some HMMWVs and kit for their troops (mainly uniforms, magazine pouches, etc.). When we “back” it looks like Afghanistan in the 1980s.

          I know you guys have a MASSIVE inferiority complex and are so scared of NATO that you imagine we’re under every rock, influencing everything. All to pick on poor poor Russia. The truth is we don’t give two shits what you folks do. We don’t think about you in the first place, much less continually orchestrating things to hurt them. The current state of relations is solely because of Putin, and the moronic Russians that actually believe state sponsored propaganda. Russia has been doing it forever. It blows my mind that it’s IDENTICAL to the same conditioning the Soviet Union used to use on it’s people, and you STILL can’t see it for what it is. Instead of being upset about the heinous lies you’re fed, you gobble it up and ask for seconds.

          Just remember, those horrible Americans spent tens of millions after the wall came down trying to help. Those horrible Americans sent hundreds of our best engineers trying to help rebuild infrastructure. Those same Americans freely donated tens of thousands of tons for grain because your leaders put you in bread lines.Those same Americans (and NATO) bent over backwards trying to save your sailors on the Kursk. As usual, because of that inferiority complex and gigantic amounts of paranoia, you let those sailors die. Better that than accept any help from NATO…even when it’s freely given.

          Keep drinking that Kool-Aid comrade. You’re gonna need it.

      • Russia stopped a war that Georgia started, with American backing, in 2008. The people of Crimea voted to rejoin Russia in a referendum.

  3. The Turkish/Nato position is that it’s good for them to violate the airspace of other states (Greece & Syria), just not if other states do it. Double standards.

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