Armenia Charges Turkey Shot Down One of Its Jets, Killing Pilot

Armenian flag. Credit: px fuel

Armenian authorities charged on Tuesday that the nation of Turkey is responsible for the shooting down of one of its fighter jets, killing the pilot.

If true, this would be a major provocation and an escalation of the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which has flared up in recent weeks.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry stated that the pilot of the Soviet-constructed SU-15 aircraft died after being shot down — within Armenian airspace — by a Turkish F-16.

Turkey is denying the claim, according to current reports, although Azerbaijan has stated repeatedly that it does not have any F-16s and Turkey does have such aircraft.

As of Tuesday, almost 100 individuals have lost their lives in the conflict, which involves an ethnic dispute over the land whose inhabitants are majority Armenian.

The blame, or responsibility, for the outbreak of hostilities has been traded back and forth by both Azerbaijani and Armenian authorities and experts fear that the hostilities may spill over into additional areas and even into other countries.

The nation of Russia, which has a military base in Armenia, has called for a ceasefire. Turkey has lent its support to Azerbaijan.

Inhabited by Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks, the area in the Caucasus has been a hotbed of strife since ancient times. When it was within the Soviet sphere of power, it was named an autonomous region within Azerbaijan, but its ethnic makeup is predominantly Armenian.

The internecine war which took place there between 1988-1994 displaced an estimated one million people and killed approximately 30,000. Since then the area had been relatively peaceful.