“We are not going to leave this violation of the treaty by Turkey without proper attention and adequate response,” said Sergei Ryzhkov, head of the ministry’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center.
According to Ryzhkov, Russian inspectors, together with Turkish specialists, were scheduled to perform an observation flight over the Turkish territory within the framework of the Open Skies Treaty from Feb. 1-5.
“No preliminary conditions or restrictions for Russia’s surveillance flight were voiced by the Turkish side,” Ryzhkov was quoted by Tass news agency as saying.
“However, after the arrival of the Russian mission in Turkey and the announcement of the desired flight plan, the Turkish military officials refused to allow the inspection flight, citing an order from the Turkish Foreign Ministry.”
Ryzhkov said earlier that the agreed flight route would cover observation areas adjacent to the Syrian-Turkish border, as well as airfields where NATO warplanes were deployed.
He added that the Turkish specialists on board will control the use of surveillance equipment and observation of treaty provisions.
“As a result of violations of requirements of the Treaty and unconstructive actions on the Turkish side, a dangerous precedent was created of an uncontrolled military activity carried out by a member of the Open Skies Treaty,” Ryzhkov said.
The Treaty on Open Skies, which took effect in January 2002, is aimed at promoting transparency of military forces and activities. It establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 34 member states, including Russia and Turkey.
The “war of words” between Russia and Turkey again flared up, with Ankara on Saturday accusing Russian aircraft of violating its airspace, after the Turkish air forces shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber aircraft under the allegation of the plane violating Turkey’s airspace in November 2015, which Moscow has vehemently denied.
Russia has continued its airstrike mission against terrorist targets in Syria, while enhancing self-protection by deploying missile defense system and fighter escort.