Turkey summoned the Russian ambassador to protest the violation of its airspace by a Russian warplane near the border with Syria over the weekend, and demanded that Moscow avoid future infringements, the Foreign Ministry said Monday. The Russian plane violated Turkey's airspace on Saturday, prompting Turkey to scramble two F-16 jets which intercepted the Russian aircraft and forced it to fly back into Syrian airspace, according to a statement from the ministry, which says that in the meeting with the ambassador, Turkish officials demanded that Russia avoid such violations again and warned that Russia would be held "responsible for any undesired incident."
The incident comes as Turkey has expressed concerns over Russian airstrikes in Syria that have targeted some foreign-backed insurgents. On Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Russian airstrikes were unacceptable and a grave mistake that could alienate Moscow in the region. Turkey is a NATO member, and the UK's ambassador to Turkey says the allies will stand "shoulder-to-shoulder" with the country after Russia's "reckless and worrying " incursion, reports Reuters. It's not clear what the Russian strikes have achieved on the ground but analysts say the impact in Russia is clear: They prove to Russians that their country is showing up the US and reclaiming its rightful place as a global power. (President Bashar Assad says the region will be destroyed if Russia fails.)