Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced on Saturday that his country would deny passage to Russian flights bound for Syria. Though Turkey is a member of NATO, it has not sanctioned Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, and is discussing airspace rights with Moscow as part of wider negotiations on Black Sea maritime rights.
“We closed airspace to Russia’s military planes and even to civilian planes going to Syria and carrying soldiers,” Cavusoglu told reporters before departing for Uruguay. The minister added that permission to fly its troops through Turkish airspace had been granted to Russia in three-month blocks, with the most recent running out this month.
“Henceforth the flights have stopped,” Cavusoglu added, telling journalists that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had already informed his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, of the decision.