Satellite Images Show Turkey’s F-16s in Ganja Airport in Azerbaijan

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Satellite images show Turkey’s F-16s in Ganja Airport in Azerbaijan (New York Times photo of Planet Labs sattelite)

Satellite images show Turkey’s F-16s in Ganja Airport in Azerbaijan (New York Times photo of Planet Labs sattelite)

Satellite images analyzed by New York Times reporters reveal the presence of at least two F-16 fighter jets at the Ganja International Airport in Azerbaijan.

Last week, Armenia’s Defense Ministry announced that an F-16 bomber downed an Armenian SU-25 fighter jet, killing its pilot, Valeri Danel, in Armenia’s airspace over the Vardenis region. Ankara denied the report.

Artsakh Armed Forces dealt a blow to Azerbaijan on Sunday when they stuck the airport in Ganja, from where long range missile attacks were being launched against civilian and military targets in Artsakh.

Artsakh President Arayik Hauryunyan ordered the hit on Ganja, with government officials confirming that the airbase was taken out. Later on Sunday night (local time) Harutyunyan announced that he had ordered Artsakh forces to halt fire on Ganja in order to prevent civilian casualties on the Azerbaijani side of the border.

Ganja is the ancient Armenian city of Gandzak, which during the Soviet era was renamed Kirovabad. In 1989, the city, which boasted an Armenian population of more than 50,000, was cleared of all its Armenian inhabitants because of Azerbaijan’s brutal pogroms.

Christiaan Triebert, who is part of the New York Times Visual Investigations team, in a series of Tweets on Wednesday, explained his analysis of Planet Labs satellite images, saying that his team compared measurements and characteristics of aircraft at Ganja airport and concluded the F-16s were a “close match.”

“There are at least two F-16s at Ganja International Airport in Azerbaijan, our analysis of an Oct. 3 Planet Labs satellite image shows. The fighter jets are likely operated by the Turkish Air Force, alongside a possible CN-235 cargo aircraft,” said Triebert on Twitter.

“We compared the approximate measurements and visual characteristics (canard wings, color, etc.) with a variety of aircraft, including those operated by the Azerbaijani Air Force (MiG-21, MiG-29, Su-25, L-39). The Turkish-operated F-16 is the closest match,” explained Triebert

“There’s also a larger aircraft on the Ganja apron, which we think is likely to be a CASA/IPTN CN-235 transport aircraft, also used by the Turkish Air Force. (It does resemble an Alenia C-27 too, but less likely to be in Azerbaijan due to its operators),” added the New York Times journalist.

“The F-16s may signal increased involvement of a bigger power, Turkey, into the renewed fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries are already fighting alongside Azerbaijani troops,” Triebert said, referencing a recent New York Times report on the escalation of the Karabakh conflict.

Citing a report by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry Triebert said, “In late July, Turkey deployed several F-16s to Azerbaijan for the joint TurAz Qartalı-2020 military exercises. Back then, at least five Turkish Air Force F-16s were filmed at the same location at Ganja International Airport.”

According to the New York Times, its Visual Investigations team “combines traditional reporting with digital sleuthing and the forensic analysis of visual evidence to find truth, hold the powerful to account and deconstruct important news events.”


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  1. Mike Avedisian said:

    How come a journalist has access to a satellite data/image, and Armenian government or military establishment does not ?