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LISTEN: Turkey Releases Audio Warnings to Russian Jet Before Blast; Moscow to Rethink Ties with Ankara

F-16 | flickr.com/photos/63590594@N05

The Turkish military has released an audio recording of what it says were warnings to a Russian warplane before it was shot down on the Syrian border, reported BBC.

“Change your heading south immediately,” a voice is heard saying in English. Turkey said it had tried to rescue the SU-24 bomber’s two pilots.

One of them was killed by gunfire as he parachuted from the burning plane.

The other pilot was rescued. He was quoted by Russian agencies as saying the crew “knew the region like the back of their hand”, that they did not fly over Turkish air space, and that there were no visual or radio warnings from Turkey.

The plane crashed into a mountainside on Syrian soil after being hit by a missile from a Turkish F-16 fighter jet on Tuesday.

Tensions have escalated between the two countries over the incident, with Russian President Vladimir Putin describing it as a “stab in the back” and warning of “serious consequences”.

Moscow later broke off military contacts with Ankara and said it would deploy its most advanced anti-aircraft missile system in Syria to destroy any target that may threaten its warplanes.

It also said fighter jets would now escort its bombers during air strikes over Syria.

According to ABC, the downing of the jet on Tuesday was one of the most serious publicly acknowledged clashes between a NATO member and Russia for half a century, and further complicated international efforts to battle Islamic State militants in Syria.

Turkey said the jet had encroached on Turkish air space and was warned repeatedly to change course, but Russian officials have said the plane was at no time over Turkey.

A Russian marine sent to recover the crew was also killed in an attack by rebels.

President Tayyip Erdogan made no apology, saying his nation had simply been defending its own security and the “rights of our brothers in Syria”.

He made clear Turkish policy would not change.

Russian officials expressed fury over Turkey’s action and spoke of retaliatory measures that were likely to include curbing travel by Russian tourists to Turkish resorts and some restrictions on trade.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov described it as a “planned act” and said it would impact efforts towards a political solution in Syria.

Moscow would “seriously reconsider” its relations with Ankara, he said.

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