Turkey closed its airspace to Russian jets flying to Syria, a policy shift aimed at increasing the cost of the war in Ukraine for President Vladimir Putin. Turkey has banned the Russian plane, including all civilian flights carrying troops, from its airspace for the first time since Russia intervened in the Syrian civil war in 2015 in support of President Bashar al-Assad. The move increases pressure on Moscow to end the conflict in Ukraine, which is now in its third month. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Putin about his decision in a telephone conversation, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by state broadcaster TRT. He did not specify when the conversation took place.
Most Russian flights to Syria go through Turkish airspace, although the number of troops transferred to the country is not made public. The restrictions are unlikely to stop the movement of soldiers and weapons from Russia to Syria, according to a Turkish official familiar with the matter, who said Moscow is now likely to divert flights through Iranian airspace. Rather, the main aim has been to show solidarity with fellow NATO members, many of whom are sending weapons to Ukraine to support the fight against Russia, the official said. Turkey already has limited access through the Bosphorus for Russian naval vessels.