Turkey and Russia have released competing maps showing where a Russian warplane violated — or steered clear of, depending on the point of view — Turkish airspace before it was shot down early Tuesday.
Shortly after the jet was downed, the Turkish military published a radar map demonstrating the reported flight path of the jet it shot down, which Ankara is using as proof that the pilots violated the country’s airspace:
The blue line is the Turkish border, and the red arrow is pointing to the spot at which the warplane reportedly entered Turkish airspace.
Turkey says it warned the pilots at least 10 times to turn around as the plane was approaching Turkish airspace, but the pilots ignored the warning and crossed the border anyway. The plane was in Turkish airspace for roughly 17 seconds before it was shot down, according to a statement provided by the Turkish ambassador to the United Nations.
Russia denies that its warplane ever violated Turkish airspace. In a statement from Sochi today, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the plane was attacked by a Turkish missile while flying in Syrian airspace, roughly a mile from the Turkish border. Putin claims the plane crashed 2 1/2 miles inside Syria.
Russia has since countered the Turkish radar picture with a flight map that appears to show no airspace violation:
Putin harshly rebuked Turkey for downing the plane on Tuesday, calling the act “a stab in our back” by “accomplices of the terrorists.”
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu defended Turkey’s decision to down the plane, saying on Tuesday that it was Turkey’s “national duty” to protect the country’s security.
Russian warplanes have been conducting airstrikes over Syria since late September, sometimes causing tension with Turkey when its planes come too close to the Turkish border.
Last week, Turkey summoned Russian ambassador Andrey G. Karlov and called for an immediate end to Russia’s military operation close to the Turkish border. Turkey accused Russia of bombing villages in northern Syria inhabited by Syrian Turkmen.
The incident is sure to further complicate an already-muddled situation in Syria, adding layers of unpredictability to the scene.
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