Tag Archives: Diyarbakir

The Turkish Air Force suspends flights over Syria amid crisis with Russia over Su-24 downing

The Turkish Air Force is no longer supporting the air war on ISIS.

According to  Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, the Turkish Air Force has suspended the missions over Syria of its aircraft supporting the international air campaign against ISIS.

This is the effect of the unprecedented diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Moscow sparked by the downing of the Russian Su-24 Fencer bomber by a TuAF F-16 after the alleged and controversial violation of the Turkish airspace on Nov. 24.

According to the Turkish authorities, the Su-24 violated Ankara’s airspace (for 17 seconds) and did not respond to 10 warnings in 5 minutes, radioed by a TuAF GCI (Ground Controlled Intercept) station while the aircraft, along with another one of the same type approached the border. Russian authorities deny this report and claim no warning was issued by the Turkish and no violation occurred at all.

Following the incident, the TuAF said that the warnings, on a dedicated mutually agreed radio channel and the international Guard (emergency) channel (243.0/121.5 MHz), were not answered by the Russian plane that continued to fly towards the Turkish airspace, leading the Turkish Air Force to believe the intruding aircraft was not Russian but Syrian.

One of the Su-24 pilots was killed by fire from the ground after successfully ejecting from the plane in flames whereas the second pilot was rescued in a 12-hour-long operation

Actually, according to the Turkish media outlet, the decision was mutual and aimed at preventing the repetition of the incident along the border: on one side, TuAF jets will no longer take part in the air war on Islamic State, on the other one, the Russians will halt their raids near the Syria-Turkey border.

In the meanwhile, Moscow has deployed the S-400 air defense system at Latakia air base as the following video shows.


These are the Turkish Air Force jets pounding PKK and ISIS in Turkey, Syria and Iraq

Turkish Air Force has been training for real operations like those in Iraq and Syria for 15 years.

On Jul. 24, Turkey launched “Operation Martyr Yalcin” against ISIS positions in Syria and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in Northern Iraq.

The air strikes actually began in the early morning on Jul. 24, a day after Islamic State militants attacked a Turkish border patrol in the town of Elbeyli in Kilis Province, killing one soldier and injuring two others. The operation was named after the Turkish soldier killed in the initial attack, Yalçın Nane.

07-1007 F-16C-50-CF 161 Filo

At around 3:40 LT three F-16s from 181 Filo took off from Diyarbakir airbase and bombed 3 ISIS positions  in northern Syria dropping GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided bombs. The Turkish jets did not violate the Syrian airspace but dropped their bombs from inside the Turkish airspace.

Post strike analysis assessed 35 ISIS militants were killed by the first wave of raids that was followed later on the same day (starting around 22:30 LT) by a larger air strike against PKK positions in northern Iraq. The mission is said to have involved 20 F-16s from 181 Filo that according to witnesses and initial reports violated the Syrian and Iraqi air space.

07-1006 F-16C-50-CF 161 Filo

The air strikes in Iraq allegedly killed the PKK commander Murat Karayılan among the others.

On Jul. 25, a third wave of air strikes was launched against PKK: it was divided into three sub-waves, the first and second of those involved 70 F-16s that conducted their mission, returned to Dyarbakir were re-armed and re-launched, and by a third wave reportedly conducted by 25 F-4E-2020 Phantoms from Eskisehir, temporarily deployed to Erhac.

77-0285. F-4E-2020. 111Filo

77-0288. F-4E-2020. 111 Filo

In the subsequent days, F-16s (from 181 Filo with support from 161 Filo) from Dyarbakir, mainly focused on PKK positions in both in northern Iraq and inside Turkey, as well as on ISIS targets in northern Syria.

07-1014 F-16C-50-CF 161 Filo

07-1015 F-16D-50-CF 161 Filo

The Turkish Air Force has been preparing to conduct a similar air campaign for about 15 years through Anatolian Eagle (AE) series of exercises.

Held three times a year at Konya airbase, in the Central Anatolia region, AE is a medium-scale air exercise inspired by the U.S. Red Flag and Maple Flag series, the aim of which is to train fighter pilots for the first few days of a modern conflict.

The first such drills took place in 2001, then, throughout the years, AE has become more complex and effective in preparing Turkish (and allied) aircrews to war.

07-1021 F-16C-50-CF 181 Filo

07-1013 F-16C-50-CF 181 Filo

All the images in this post were taken by The Aviationist’s contributor Tony Lovelock, during the most recent class of AE, held at Konya in June.

H/T to Arda Mevlutoglu and ACIG forum for providing useful information for this article.


Turkish airbase has just raised its alert status for a possible attack from Syria

Diyarbakir airbase, one of the most important airbases in Turkey, located in the southeastern part of the country, is on alert status today for a possible Syrian attack.

Tolga Ozbek, aviation editor of Hurriyet Newspaper, informed us that on Aug. 30, the alert status was increased to “orange”, a level used when threat of attack is “high”.

It is not clear whether the Turkish authorities were informed of an imminent U.S. strike on Syria or the heightened alert status is caused by intelligence data suggesting Damascus is preparing to attack Ankara.

“Today is a holiday in Turkey but F-16s still on exercise,” Ozbek told us. “Also two squadrons from Merzifon Air Force Base (151-152nd both operating with Block 50 F-16s) and 171 Squadron from Malatya (operating F-4E 2020 Terminators) came to Diyarbakır.”

Some images taken recently at the base can be found here.

Diyarbakir is a large airbase hosting  181 and 182th Filo (Squadrons) and their F-16s since 1994. Base’s aircraft have been used in combat to attack PKK positions, to force a suspect Syrian airliner crossing the Turkish airspace to land, and were scrambled to intercept Syrian aircraft near the border.

Diyarbakir is also main comand center of Turkish Air Force’s 2nd Air Force Commands which controls the easth side of Turkey.

Image credit: via Kokpit.aero


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Turkey scrambles two fighter jets as Syrian Helicopter bombs Syrian border town

News agencies have reported that Turkey has scrambled two fighter jets (most probably F-16s based at Diyarbakir) to the border region with Syria, near the town of Hacipasa, after loud speakers were heard asking for rebel fighters to surrender as an air raid was imminent.

The Syrian helicopter then appeared and started to bomb the Syrian town of Azmarin. The helicopter would have been very very close to the Turkish airspace, therefore the Turks decided to launch the fighters as a response.

Details are very sparse but the Hurriyet News website doesn’t mention if the jets engaged the helicopter; therefore it must be assumed they did not engage it because too far or, since it didn’t violate the Turkish airspace.

Further details will be forthcoming once details have come out of the area.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Turkish Air Force F-16s fighter planes force Syrian civilian plane to land at Ankara airport for investigation

Syrian Air Flight 442 (RB442), an Airbus A320 registered YK-AKE suspected of carrying weapons from Moscow to Damascus was forced to land at Ankara Esenboğa Airport on Oct. 10, 2012.

The civil liner, with 35 passengers on board, was intercepted by the Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jets as it entered the eastern part of the Turkish airspace and it is currently being inspected.

25 Turkish F-16s were moved to Diyarbakir airbase on Monday following the border crisis with Syria.

Noteworthy, the flight from Moscow can be tracked until it reached Ukraina using ADS-B.

Turkish planes have been banned from flying in the Syrian airspace: flights carrying pilgrims to Jeddah landed in Adana, due to the closure of Syria’s airspace.

Image credit: TuAF