The Armenian Ministry of Defense reported that an Armenian jet was shot down by a Turkish warplane.
According to the Armenian Ministry of Defense, an Armenian Sukhoi Su-25 was shot down by a Turkish F-16 that took off from the Ganja Airbase in Azerbaijan.
The Armenian Unified Infocenter, managed by the Armenian government, said in a statement that an F-16 fighter jet belonging to the Turkish military took off from Ganja Airbase in Azerbaijan at 10:30am local time.
Turkey’s F-16 fighter jet bombed settlements and ground troops of the Armenian Armed Forces around the area of Vardenis between Lake Sevan and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
An air battle ensued involving the Armenian air force and anti-air units against the Turkish warplane, but the latter successfully targeted and hit the Armenian jet.
“Unfortunately, the pilot died heroically,” the Armenian Unified Infocenter said.
“The Turkish F16 was around 60km deep into Armenian territory and flying at an altitude of 8200 meters,” the Infocenter added.
The official Twitter account of Armenia also wrote:
“Armenian Su-25 was shot down by a Turkish F-16 that took off from the Ganja airbase in Azerbaijan.”
— Government of Armenia (@armgov) September 29, 2020
The spokesperson of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, İbrahim Kalın, denied that a Turkish F-16 fighter jet engaged with Armenian forces. The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry also denied Armenia’s announcement.
It is known that Turkish F-16 jets were deployed to Ganja Airbase in July/August under the pretext of joint exercises, but remained there. A week ago they were seen flying over Ganja city by locals.
Yerevan has not yet activated the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), but the topic is being discussed on the back of reports that a Turkish F-16 shot down an Armenian Su-25, said Armenian Ambassador to Russia Vardan Toghonyan.
The CSTO is a Russian-led alliance that is similar to NATO in the sense that there is a collective defense agreement.
Along with Armenia and Russia, the CSTO also comprises of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
By Armenia activating CSTO, Russia could be dragged into the conflict and face off against NATO-member Turkey.
On September 27, Azerbaijan announced an intensive shelling against Armenian forces in Artsakh. The Armenian authorities imposed martial law, announced the mobilization of reservists, and also restricted the departure of men outside the republic. Azerbaijan also decided to introduce martial law throughout the country.
Azerbaijan launched on Sunday an aggression to drive out Armenians from the region of Artsakh, which although is internationally recognized as belonging to Azerbaijan, has a de facto independence after a successful military campaign that ended in 1994.
Artsakh has been an Armenian-majority region since about 500BC but was gifted to Azerbaijan by former Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin in the early 1920’s despite the indigenous population demanding to be a part of Armenia.