In which Turkey loses its mind
Posted by Charles II on November 25, 2015
Kareem Shaheen et al., The Guardian:
Vladimir Putin has called Turkey “accomplices of terrorists” and warned of “serious consequences” after a Turkish F-16 jet shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday morning, the first time a Nato country and Moscow have exchanged direct fire over the crisis in Syria.
Ankara and the Kremlin gave conflicting accounts of the incident, which appears to have occurred in an area near the Turkish-Syrian border straddling Iskenderun and Latakia.
The Turkish military said it scrambled two F-16 fighter jets after a plane entered Turkish airspace in the province of Hatay at 9.20am on Tuesday, warning it to leave 10 times in five minutes before shooting it down.
Russia’s defence ministry, in a series of tweets, confirmed that a Russian Su-24 had been shot down, but insisted the plane had never left Syrian airspace and claimed that fire from the ground was responsible.
Richard Engel of MSNBC said on Rachel that Turkey’s story did not make a lot of sense. He did clarify that the Turks are backing up anti-Assad Turkmen fighters. The US said that the aircraft were in “Turkish airspace for a matter of seconds.” What Turkey did may (or may not) have been technically legal, but it’s the kind of thing that only nations that are at the brink of war do to one another. The US has trespassed into Russian and Chinese airspace and there have been very few instances where they took such extreme measures against us.
When Vladimir Putin used the phrase, “accomplices of terrorists,” he posed the question that should be on the minds of US policy makers: is Turkey our ally, or is it so focused on dumpling Assad that it’s willing to put ISIS in power.
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