Turkey has denied a Russian Open Skies observation flight over its territory because it was near the Syrian border

Another episode that further escalates the crisis between Turkey and Russia.

Turkey has barred a Russian Antonov An-30B spyplane, that was supposed to operate out of Eskisehir airfield, Turkey, on Feb. 1 to 5, from performing an Open Skies Treaty flight over its territory.

As told to Tass.ru by Sergey Ryzhkov, chief of the Russian Defense Ministry’s department for control of implementation of treaties, the Turkish military refused to allow the flight to take place after the flight route was discovered to include observation areas adjacent to the Syrian border and airfields where NATO aircraft are concentrated.

Ryzhkov added that, in this way “A dangerous precedent was created of an uncotrolled military activity of an Open Skies Treaty member state. We are not going to leave without proper attention and relevant reaction violations of the Open Skies Treaty on the part of the Turkish republic.”

The Open Skies Treaty was signed in 1992 and has 34 member states.

Its key tasks are to monitor the fulfillment of armament control agreements and expand capabilities to prevent crises in the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other international organizations. Surveillance flights are conducted over Russia, United States, Canada and European countries.

Noteworthy Turkey has halted Russian Open Skies flight few days after a RuAF Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback bomber allegedly violated Ankara’s airspace while performing a mission from Hmeymim airbase, near Latakia, in northwestern Syria.

An-30B Spyplane

File photo showing a Russian Open Skies An-30 escorted by two Danish F-16s (credit: OSCE). Top image credit: OSCE.



  1. Under the terms of the treaty any signatory country has the right to request a flight plan that is within 10km of the border of another nation, and over-fly air bases. So, neither reason given is a valid reason to deny the mission. We should be asking what is the *real* reason the Turks refused the overflight, and will they disclose the exact flight plan tabled by the Russians for the mission? By refusing the mission, for reasons that don’t make sense, Turkey is in contravention of the treaty, which makes us all less safe. Of note, Russia allowed 32 flights by Western nations over Russia, including the border area around Ukraine, last year. Turkey also allowed an Open Skies Treaty flight in December *after* they shot down the Russian bomber; making this refusal even more strange.

    • Dear Steffan have you ever read the treaty conditions? Turks or any other contributing nation didnt fly over disputed Ukrainian border, do you know why, because the territory is uncontrolled and anything may happen! Like the Syrian border! How ignorant and biased point of view is that? Do you know what is stranger than Turkish refusal, Russian provokation over such kinda issue.

      • Actually I have read the treaty, and there were flights by signatory states near the border of Ukraine in the past year, and those pictures are available to all signatory states including Turkey (they share imagery among all nations no matter who took them). The treaty allows for flights over all borders up to 10km from the next nation, even contested ones. There is no reason for Turkey to deny Russia’s request to fly over Turkish airspace as part of the treaty. It’s literally why there is an Open Skies Treaty; to allow such overflights to dispel any claims there are hostile forces massing at the border, or at Turkish airfields.

  2. They’re not asking for a tourist trip to Turkey or something frivolous; this is a request being made under a treaty based on mutual trust/distrust, that many nations are signatory to, and makes us all safer, because the other signatory nations use it ‘against’ Russia – routinely. It is the same treaty that’s been used to force Russia to allow other signatory nations to fly over the border of Ukraine. Turkey can’t just say “nah, we don’t feel like it” – that’s why there’s a Treaty, mandating that all nations signatory to the Treaty be allowed to overfly each others territory. Of course the Russians are playing it up in the media and using it for propaganda, but that’s the name of the game in international (and national) politics. Turkey has no reason to deny the overflight under the framework of the Open Skies Treaty; furthermore the reasons they gave don’t make any sense.

  3. You obviously do not understand the Treaty Turkey and NATO signed with Russia. The provocation is Turkey denying what is law! Turkey is the problem here with their support to ISIS terrorists they are trying to hide the truth…

  4. Russians are blindly following their new czar into a hole worse than Afghanistan. I hope when its over you can still have pride left to call yourself Russian.

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