Original by warfiles.ru; translation and analysis by J.Hawk
Turkish Air Force instituted Orange Alert. This news was conveyed on Sunday, January 31, by Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu Agency.
Military sources told the agency that the raised alert level at Turkey’s airbases means “full readiness for anything,” and gives the pilots authority to react to threats without having to ask clearance from higher headquarters. The Milliyet newspaper noted that the Turkish Air Force’s heightened vigilance was thus “semi-officially communicated to the entire world”.
Turkey’s armed forces, Milliyet notes, use three main alert levels: White (low probability of attack), Yellow (probability of attack) and Red (high probability of armed clashes or war). But the air force has an additional, Orange level which formally means that “an armed clash could occur at any moment, and that forces must be ready to attack and defend.”
Red Alert for the Air Force would mean the beginning of combat operations or the need to react to adversaries’ actions, according to TASS.
On Saturday, Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a statement on its website that a Russian Su-34 bomber invaded Turkey’s airspace after a multitude of warnings in Turkish and Russian languages. Turkey’s president declared his willingness to discuss the airplane incident personally with the president of Russia.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense replied that the Russian aircraft did not enter Turkey’s airspace.
J.Hawk’s Comment: I suppose the good news is that it’s a very public raising of the alert level, which indicates that Turkey’s leaders are hoping to shape Russia’s actions simply by saber rattling, rather than through military action. Nevertheless, if the alert level was genuinely raised (because one has to consider the possibility that Turkish pilots are still operating under very restrictive rules of engagement to prevent incidents, contrary to Anadolu’s reporting), it would greatly increase the possibility of an incident in the skies above Syria. Fighter pilots are known for their aggressiveness, and giving them the ability to engage without seeking clearance is recipe for trouble.