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Russian Aircraft Intercepted Over Turkey, ‘A Mistake’ Say Officials

Fighter jet.

The Saturday interception of a Russian jet over Turkish airspace comes as an uncomfortable surprise, given Russia’s tumultuous place in global politics.

After two Turkish F-16s encountered the jet over the Yayladagi region, the Russian aircraft entered Syrian airspace and claimed that the incident was an accident due to bad weather. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu agreed with those claims in a public statement on Monday. As KSPR reports, the Russian foreign minister announced that the mistake would not be repeated, and that Turkish borders would be respected going forward.

That being said, the violation of Turkish airspace has been met with suspicion and alarm, as Turkey and Russia have long disagreed over the subject of the Syrian civil war. The New York Times points out that Russia has already prepared to increase its intervention in Syria by sending in ‘volunteer’ ground forces and military planes. This would complicate already tense relations between Turkey and Russia, as Turkey seeks to establish a safe zone along its Syrian borders. Thus, the so-called mistaken jet strikes some as a deliberate incursion into Turkish airspace.

The apparently mistaken jet strikes some as a deliberate incursion into Turkish airspace, considering tensions between Turkey and Russia over Syrian intervention.

Russia’s opposition to ending the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad has already thrown a wrench in diplomatic relations between Syria and the rest of the developed world. While the Kremlin claims that current Russian airstrikes are targeting the Islamic State, America worries that Russian intervention will prolong an already brutal war and prove opportunistic in terms of Russia’s military occupation of the area. Fears also abound that Russian ground forces will endanger still more Syrian refugees as they attempt to find safe havens throughout the rest of Europe.

While Russia maintains that the planes intercepted over Turkey were not an attempt at intimidation tactics or subterfuge, international parties remain wary of the Kremlin’s growing involvement with Syria.

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