A Russian warplane has gone down near the Turkish-Syrian border after an apparent attack. Turkish and Russian sources have given conflicting reports about the incident, which has the potential to escalate the tension between Russia and NATO member Turkey.
24 November 2015
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will chair a security meeting later on Tuesday to discuss the incident involving the downed Russian Su-24 bomber. The meeting will also be attended by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the head of the armed forces General Hulusi Akar, the head of the MIT national intelligence agency Hakan Fidan and some ministers, Reuters reports citing presidential sources.
The Turkish foreign minister has summoned the representatives of the five UN Security Council permanent members – China, France, Germany, Russia and the US – to brief them on the incident involving the downed Russian Su-24 bomber.
The Russian Su-24 was downed while returning to the Khmeimim airbase, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported.
“A Russian Su-24 was downed by a Turkish F-16 fighter over the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic while returning to the Khmeimim airbase. Objective monitoring data showed that there was no violation of Syrian airspace,” the statement from the ministry said.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says Turkey has a right to respond to violations of its airspace and it came in spite of repeated warnings. He also added Turkey would do “whatever is necessary” to ensure its security.
Turkey backstabbed Russia by downing the Russian warplane and acted as accomplices of the terrorists, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
The plane was hit by a Turkish warplane as it was travelling 1 km away from the Turkish border, Putin said. The plane posed no threat to Turkish national security, he stressed.
Putin said the plane was targeting terrorist targets in the Latakia province of Syria, many of whom came from Russia.
Russia noticed of the flow of oil from Syrian territory under the control of terrorists to Turkey, Putin said.
Apparently, IS now not only receives revenue from the smuggling of oil, but also has the protection of a nation’s military, Putin said. This may explain why the terrorist group is so bold in taking acts of terrorism across the world, he added.
The incident will have grave consequences for Russia’s relations with Turkey, Putin warned.
The fact that Turkey did not try to contact Russia in the wake of the incident and rushed to call a NATO meeting instead is worrisome, Putin said. It appears that Turkey want NATO to serve the interests of IS, he added.
Putin said Russia respects the regional interests of other nations, but warned the atrocity committed by Turkey would not go without an answer.
Putin was speaking at a meeting with King of Jordan Abdullah II in Sochi, who expressed his condolences to the Russian leader over the loss of a Russian pilot in Tuesday’s incident, as well as the deaths of Russians in the Islamic State bombing of a passenger plane in Egypt.
The two leaders discussed the anti-terrorist effort in Syria and Iraq and the diplomatic effort to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict.
Several protesters have showed up in front of the Turkish Embassy in Moscow to protest the downing of the Russian bomber. “Turkey, are you for or against ISIS?” one of the banners said in Russian.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has criticized Turkey for downing the Russian warplane.
“Sometimes one may suspect that Turkey has informal contacts with Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL]. Considering that the Russian Air Forces are fighting IS, the attack appears to be too radical a measure,” he said, as cited by Itar-Tass.