Turkey shot down a Russian fighter plane Tuesday sparking a long-feared crisis in Syria’s civil war and it was apparently the first time a NATO member has downed a Russian plane in a half-century.
The White House released a statement today saying:
U.S. president Barack Obama spoke today by phone with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to discuss Turkey’s downing of a Russian aircraft. The President expressed U.S. and NATO support for Turkey’s right to defend its sovereignty. The leaders agreed on the importance of deescalating the situation and pursuing arrangements to ensure that such incidents do not happen again. They reiterated their shared commitment to efforts to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday branded the downing by Turkey of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border a “stab in the back” committed by “accomplices of terrorists”. Putin made the comments at a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II. “I cannot call what happened today anything else.” #RussiaTurkey #RussianPlane
Posted by CCTV America on Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin called Turkey’s action a “stab in the back by the terrorists’ accomplices” and warned of “significant consequences.” At Turkey’s request, NATO’s governing body called an emergency meeting.
Peter Bechtold on the downed Russian war plane
CCTV America’s Mike Walter spoke to Peter Bechtold. He is a professor at Portland State University and once served for the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State as the director of Near East and North Africa studies.
Peter Bechtold on the downed Russian war planeCCTV America's Mike Walter spoke to Peter Bechtold. He is a professor at Portland State University and once served for the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State as the director of Near East and North Africa studies.
Russian warplane shot down by Turkey on the Syria-Turkey border
CCTV’s Natalie Carney reports from Yayladag, on the Turkey-Syria border.
Russian warplane shot down by Turkey on the Syria-Turkey borderCCTV's Natalie Carney reports from Yayladag, on the Turkey-Syria border.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu insisted his country has the right to take “all kinds of measures” against border violations, and called on the international community to work toward “extinguishing the fire that is burning in Syria.”
Moscow condemns Turkey for downing warplane
Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet as Ankara says it violated Turkey’s airspace along the Syrian border. Moscow insists the plane had not strayed into Turkish airspace. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called it a “stab in the back” and warned of consequences of the incident.
CCTV America’s Julia Lyubova reports from Moscow.
Moscow condemns Turkey for downing warplaneTurkey shot down a Russian fighter jet as Ankara says it violated Turkey's airspace along the Syrian border. Moscow insists the plane had not strayed into Turkish airspace. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called it a "stab in the back" and warned of consequences of the incident. CCTV America's Julia Lyubova reports from Moscow.
Turkey said the Su-24 ignored several warnings that it was nearing, then intruding, into Turkish airspace. Russia insisted the plane stayed over Syria, where it was supporting ground action against rebels.
“We will never tolerate such atrocities as happened today and we hope that the international community will find the strength to join forces and fight this evil,” Putin said.
— CCTV America (@CCTV_America) November 24, 2015
Syria’s Information Minister says the shooting down of a Russian warplane is a “new crime” that will be added to the record of insurgent groups and the countries that finance and arm them.
Rebels said they fired at the two parachuting pilots as they descended, and that one had died. A rebel spokesman said they would consider releasing the body in exchange for prisoners held by Syria. The fate of the second pilot was not immediately known.
Despite harsh words, some analysts believe that Russia and Turkey have reasons not to let the incident escalate.
“Relations have been very strained between Russia and Turkey of late so Moscow will be trying its utmost to contain the damage this might cause,” said Natasha Kuhrt, lecturer in International Peace and Security at King’s College London.
“It’s a serious incident in anybody’s book,” added Ian Kearns, director of the European Leadership Network, a London think-tank.
But Kearns said the Russian-Turkish economic relationship, including in the energy field, is important to Moscow. And Russia and the West appeared to be moving toward an understanding of their common strategic interest in eradicating the Islamic State group following the bombing of a Russian airliner over Sinai and the attacks in Paris.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry invited diplomats from the five U.N. Security Council member countries for a meeting to brief them about the incident. Separately, the Russian charge d’affaires was also invited for a meeting during which Turkey “conveyed its sensitivities” over border violations.
Turkey has complained repeatedly that Russian planes supporting Syrian President Basher Assad were straying across the border — a complaint repeated to the Russian ambassador only last Friday.
The Russian plane was supporting Syrian troops which have been on the offensive in an area controlled by several insurgent groups including al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, the Nusra Front, and the 2nd Coastal Division and the 10th Coast Division that includes local Turkmen fighters.
Jahed Ahmad, a spokesman the 10th Coast Division, said its forces fired at the Russian pilots as they descended. One died, Ahmad told The Associated Press.
A Turkish military statement said the plane entered Turkish airspace over the town of Yayladagi, in Hatay province.
Turkish officials released what they said was the radar image of the path the Russian plane took, showing it flying across a stretch of Turkish territory in Turkey’s southern-most tip, in the region of Yayladag, in Hatay province.
Three Russian journalists working in Syria suffered minor injuries when a missile landed near their car on Monday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said. They were being treated in a military hospital.
Last month, Turkish jets shot down an unidentified drone that it said had violated Turkey’s airspace.
Turkey changed its rules of engagement a few years ago after Syria shot down a Turkish plane. According to the new rules, Turkey said it would consider all “elements” approaching from Syria an enemy threat and would act accordingly.
Following earlier accusations of Russian intrusion into Turkish airspace, the U.S. European Command on Nov. 6 deployed six U.S. Air Force F-15 fighters from their base in Britain to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to help the NATO-member country secure its skies.
Sarah Lain, an analyst at the Royal United Services Institute, said the last time she could remember a NATO member country (the U.S.) shooting down a Russian/ Soviet plane was in the 1950s, “but the Soviets appear to have shot down more U.S. planes amid the Cold War” Lain added.