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Classified papers: Turkey was prepared shooting down a second Russian fighter (photos)

ANKARA, (BM) – Classified documents have revealed how the Turkish military was prepared for the shooting down of any Russian fighter jet violating Turkish airspace in the aftermath of another incident that took place in November 2015, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Nordic Monitor.

Turkish classified paper – page 1

Turkish classified paper – page 2

According to the classified minutes of a military consultation meeting held on June 3, 2016 in Ankara, Hulusi Akar, the then-chief of general staff and current defense minister, underlined the fact that another Russian aircraft could have been attacked by the Turkish armed forces in the event of an airspace violation due to the rules of engagement.

On November 24, 2015 a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M was struck by Turkish F-16 fighter jets near the border with Syria, close to where Turkey’s Hatay and Syria’s Latakia provinces meet in mountainous terrain. The downing of the Russian jet caused a diplomatic row between the two countries, with Russian President Vladimir Putin calling it “a stab in the back,” until Moscow and Ankara agreed to restore relations in June 2016.

Akar put forward at the meeting that Turkish borders were closely monitored by the air force in accordance with the rules of engagement that were declared after the downing of a Turkish jet in 2012, and Turkey was prepared to shoot down another Russian jet if one happened to violate Turkish airspace, the minutes revealed. However, the rules were changed following a Russian-Turkish agreement in line with NATO’s “intention” principle, Akar stated. It is not clear when exactly Turkey changed its rules of engagement.

The NATO Rules of Engagement ensure that “any military actions or dispositions would be fully in consonance with the aims and intentions of the Alliance” and that the principles “should be applicable to all situations ranging from peacetime operations through increasing tensions to hostilities short of major aggression.”

Following the agreement on rapprochement between Moscow and Ankara, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members started claiming that the government did not order the Turkish air force to down the Russian jet but rather maintained that the pilots acted on their own. The two pilots were accused of shooting down the Russian jet on their own initiative and were arrested in the wake of a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 on dubious coup plotting and terrorism charges.

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