Turkey told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday it had shot down on an unidentified plane that violated Turkish airspace and defended its right to do so – the plane was Russian.
Russia has accused Turkey of shooting down one of its fighter jets inside neighboring Syria.
In a letter to the 15-member council and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Turkish U.N. Ambassador Halit Cevik said two planes approached Turkish airspace on Tuesday morning and were warned 10 times in five minutes to change direction.
Cevik said both planes then flew more than a mile into Turkey for 17 seconds. He said the nationality of the planes was unknown.
“Following the violation, plane 1 left Turkish national airspace. Plane 2 was fired at while in Turkish national airspace by Turkish F-16s performing air combat patrolling in the area,” Cevik wrote in the letter, seen by Reuters.
“Plane 2 crashed onto the Syria side of the Turkish-Syrian border,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the fighter jet had been attacked when it was nearly a mile inside Syria and warned of “serious consequences.”
When asked if Russia would raise the issue at the Security Council, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said: “I don’t know, maybe.”
Cevik said Turkey had written to the Security Council on six previous occasions, dating to 2012, regarding violations of Turkey’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and security.
He wrote that “Turkey will not hesitate to exercise its rights emanating from international law to protect the security of its citizens and borders in compliance with the established rules and regulations.”
A U.S.-led coalition has been bombing Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq for more than a year, while Russia began air strikes in Syria in September.