MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Turkey changed its air incident response rules entrusting pilots with decision-making in November 2015, prior to the downing of a Russian Su-24 jet near the Syrian border, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said Tuesday.
“The response rules were changed because Syrian planes were downing Turkey’s planes. According to the modified rules, a decision on whether or not to shoot down a plane was delegated to pilots,” Simsek told reporters in Moscow.
Relations between Russia and Turkey deteriorated when a Russian Su-24 attack aircraft was shot down on November 24, 2015, by a Turkish fighter near the Turkish border in Syria. Following the incident, Moscow imposed a number of restrictive measures on Turkey.
By apologizing for the incident, Ankara fulfilled Moscow’s condition for restoring the long-term partnership between the two countries. It was also noted in the letter that a legal case has been opened against a Turkish citizen suspected of involvement in the death of the downed plane’s pilot, which was another precondition for the normalization of relations.