NATO Chief: NATO Ready to Back Turkey against Threats

NATO Chief: NATO Ready to Back Turkey against Threats
Thu Oct 8, 2015 14:52:29

NATO says it is prepared to defend its member state Turkey against “threats” on its southern border, where Russian jets mistakenly entered Turkish airspace last weekend.

“NATO is ready and able to defend all allies, including Turkey, against any threats,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg announced Thursday prior to a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, which is expected to focus on the Syrian crisis.

“NATO has already responded by increasing our capacity, our ability, our preparedness to deploy forces including to the south, including in Turkey,” the alliance’s chief said, adding that Russia’s air and cruise missile strikes were “reasons for concern.”

Stoltenberg also complained that there had been a “troubling escalation” in Russian military operations in Syria, following the recent expansion of Moscow’s aerial campaign against foreign-backed terrorist elements engaged in a battle to overthrow the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.

“In Syria, we have seen a troubling escalation of Russian military activities. We will assess the latest developments and their implications for the security of the alliance,” he added before joining the NATO defense ministers meeting.

The US-led NATO slammed Moscow in a Monday statement for what it referred to as violating Turkish airspace at its border with Syria, as NATO envoys demanded a halt to such incursions.'


Claims of Airspace Violations

According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the Turkish military scrambled two F-16 war planes on Saturday after a Russian jet fighter crossed into its airspace near the southern province of Hatay.

In a second incident on Sunday, not confirmed by Russia, Ankara said a MiG-29 combat aircraft had harassed two of its F-16s by locking its radar on them as they patrolled the border; Press TV reported.

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