Turkey, Azerbaijan Deny Turkish F-16 Fighter Jet Shot Down Armenian SU-25 Plane

September 29, 2020 Updated: September 29, 2020

Turkey’s Defense Ministry has denied that one of its F-16 fighter planes shot down an Armenian SU-25 fighter after the Armenian Defense Ministry made the assertion.

“At about 10:30 on Tuesday Turkish F-16 fighters took from the airbase in Gyandzha to provide support for Azderbaijani forces’ strikes against the city of Vardenis and the villages of Mets Masrik and Sotk. A Turkish F-16 shot down a Sukhoi-25 of the Armenian Air Force, which was on a combat mission. The Turkish fighter was 60 kilometers (40 miles) inside Azerbaijan’s air space at an altitude of 8,200 meters (5 miles),” the Armenian Defense Ministry said in a news release on Monday night.

But a spokesperson for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, denied the allegation.

Armenia should withdraw from territories under its occupation instead of resorting to these cheap propaganda tricks,” the Turkish presidency’s office said in a statement to news outlets.

Tensions escalated over the Nagorno-Karabakh region starting on Sept. 27, with military clashes ensuing over the disputed territory. Both Azerbaijan and Armenia have implemented martial law and declared mobilization of forces.

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry also denied that a Turkish F-16 jet has shot down an Armenian warplane, reported Reuters.

An ethnic Armenian soldier fires an artillery piece 2
An ethnic Armenian soldier fires an artillery piece during fighting with Azerbaijan’s forces in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in this handout picture released on Sept. 29, 2020. (Defense Ministry of Armenia/Handout via Reuters)

Defense Ministry spokesperson Colonel Vagif Dargahli said that Azerbaijan has no F-16 planes in its arsenal.

“The information of the Armenian side that the F-16 fighter belonging to the Azerbaijani Air Force was allegedly shot down is a lie and is provocative in nature. We declare that there are no F-16 fighters in the arsenal of the Azerbaijan Air Force, and we remind the Armenian side that it is impossible to destroy what doesn’t exist,” Dargahli said, according to the Azer News.

He also denied claims that Azerbaijan lost some of its territories.

“The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense states that no land of the liberated territories has been lost. Currently, the Azerbaijani army is conducting an operation to suppress the resistance of Armenia,” said Dargahli.

According to officials in the predominantly Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, 58 servicemen on their side have been killed so far. The territory’s Defense Ministry on Sunday also reported two civilian deaths—a woman and her grandchild.

About 200 troops have been wounded, but many were only slightly hurt and have returned to action, the Armenian Defense Ministry said. Azerbaijani authorities said nine civilians were killed and 32 wounded on their side. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said Sunday there were losses among Baku’s forces, too, but he didn’t elaborate.

The heavy fighting broke out Sunday in the region that lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by the Yerevan government since 1994 at the end of a separatist war.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.