Turkey has closed its airspace to Russian civilian and navy planes flying to Syria, International Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as saying Saturday by native media.
The announcement marks one of many strongest responses up to now by Turkey, which has cultivated shut ties with Moscow regardless of being a member of the NATO defence alliance, to Russia’s two-month navy assault on Ukraine.
“We closed the airspace to Russia’s navy planes — and even civilian ones — flying to Syria. That they had till April, and we requested in March,” Turkish media quoted Cavusoglu as saying.
Cavusoglu stated he conveyed the choice to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, who then relayed it to President Vladimir Putin.
“One or two days later, they stated: Putin has issued an order, we won’t fly anymore,” Cavusoglu was quoted as telling Turkish reporters aboard his airplane to Uruguay.
Cavusoglu added that the ban would keep in place for 3 months.
There was no speedy response to Turkey’s announcement from Russia, which along with Iran has been an important supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through the war-torn nation’s civil warfare.
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