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Russian lawmaker: Turkey’s denial of observation flight hinders efforts to overcome crisis

February 04, 9:11 UTC+3 JERUSALEM
Turkey has denied the Russian Federation an observation flight over its territory that was to be held within the framework of the Open Skies Treaty
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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

JERUSALEM, February 3. /TASS/. Turkey’s denial of an opportunity to conduct an observation flight for Russia within the framework of the Open Skies Treaty not only violates its international commitments but hinders efforts to overcome the Russian-Turkish crisis, a senior member of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, said Wednesday.

The Federation Council’s international affairs committee chairman Konstantin Kosachev, while commenting on relevant decisions of the Turkish side, told journalists that the situation is "sad and does not contribute to overcoming the crisis the Russian-Turkish relations have found themselves in now."

"This is an evident violation by Turkey of its international commitments on the Open Skies Treaty," Kosachev said.

He said the Treaty’s member states are not entitled to deny holding inspections "in case all regulations are observed." Kosachev added that the denial followed coordination of exact flight dates.

"This means that the decision was made at the last moment at the political level and reflects the attitude of the current Turkish authorities toward Russia and possible cooperation with it," the senator said.

A senior Russian Defense Ministry official said Wednesday Turkey has denied the Russian Federation an observation flight over its territory that was to be held within the framework of the Open Skies Treaty.

Sergey Ryzhkov, chief of the ministry’s department for control of implementation of treaties, recalled that the flight was to be held above Turkey on February 1-5, 2016 on board an An-30B aircraft and "no preliminary conditions or restrictions for Russia’s surveillance flight were voiced by the Turkish side."

"The route supposed, among other things, observation of areas adjacent to the Syrian border and airfields where NATO aircraft are concentrated. But after the arrival of the Russian mission in Turkey and the announcement of the planned route of the observation flight, the Turkish military denied the opportunity to conduct it citing an instruction from Turkey’s Foreign Ministry," Ryzhkov said.

"In this way, as a result of violations of the requirements of the Treaty and unconstructive actions on the part of Turkey, a dangerous precedent was created of an uncontrolled military activity of an Open Skies Treaty member state," he said.

"We are not going to leave without proper attention and relevant reaction violations of the Open Skies Treaty on the part of the Turkish Republic," Ryzhkov said.

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