Turkish F-16 fighter jet shoots down Armenian Su-25, Azerbaijan sees boasting
The report was prepared by the Armenian Defense Ministry as war with Azerbaijan in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region raged since last Sunday.
“The report claiming that the Armenian Sukhoi-25 was destroyed by an F-16 fighter plane is a lie,” said spokesman for the Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense Vagif Dargyakhly as quoted by the TASS news agency, Wednesday (30/9/2020).
The Armenian Ministry of Defense in a claim made by its spokesman, Shushan Stepanyan, on Facebook on September 29, 2020, said Turkish fighter jets were inside Azerbaijan’s airspace, providing support to Azerbaijani troops by firing on the Armenian city of Vardenis.
According to Stepanyan, the Armenian Su-25 pilot “died heroically” in the incident.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s senior aide, Fahrettin Altun, also considers the Armenian claim to be nonsense. “Armenia’s claim is false,” he told Bloomberg. The Turkish official denounced Armenian claims he described as “cheap propaganda stunts”.
The Armenian claim is very weak so far, because it has not provided any evidence. According to claims in the English version of the Turkish F-16 multi-functional fighter, according to the flight data recorder, entered Armenian territory 60 km from the border and flew at an altitude of 8200 meters.
However, it is unclear how the flight data recorder on the Su-25 was able to collect this information. The Su-25 Frogfoot lacks radar, which is the easiest method of recording the presence of other aircraft in the area.
Stepanyan’s Facebook post also said that Turkish F-16s were operating from Azerbaijan’s Ganja International Airport. Satellite images circulating on social media dated September 27, the day the conflict erupted, do not appear to show any activity related to the presence of fighter jets at the airport, but it remains possible that Turkey could deploy planes there once the fighting began.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a territory controlled by ethnic Armenians and has been independent from Azerbaijan since the 1990s or shortly after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan does not recognize this independence and still regards the territory as its own. However, Armenia defends Nagorno-Karabakh as an ally forged by ethnic ties.