Dr. Abdul Ruff in New Delhi
West Asia is in perpetual crisis because of Israel pursuing, with US backing, fascist terrorist policies in order to prolong illegal occupation of Palestine, threaten Iran with terror attacks, and intermittent terror attacks in the region to cater for its domestic politics. Arab world is in a state of destabilization because of energy security issues facing USA and Europe. Israel wants USA to terrorize Mideast so that it could continue occupational crimes against humanity as part of western agenda.
Turkey, a prominent NATO member and an ally of USA for decades, has shot down on November 24 a Russian war plane that allegedly violated airspace of Turkey on the Syrian border and Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was an act that would have serious consequences for ties between two key protagonists in the Syria war.
The fighter jet exploded in mid-air, crashing in a fireball onto a mountain on the Syrian side of the border, television pictures showed. Video footage of the incident showed a warplane crashing onto a hill and two crew members apparently parachuting safely. “A Russian Su-24 plane was downed under the rules of engagement because it violated Turkish airspace despite the warnings,” the Turkish presidency said. Turkey has summoned the Russian envoy to Ankara over the incident, which comes on the eve of a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the country.
Russia confirmed that one of its planes had been downed at an altitude of 6,000 metres but said it appeared to have been shot down from the ground. Russian news agencies quoted the defence ministry as saying. “It is a very serious incident,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
The Turkish army said the Russian plane was shot down by two F-16s after violating Turkish airspace 10 times within a five- minute period, but Russia challenged the Turkish account saying it was flying over Syria. The downing took place over the Yayladagi district of Turkey’s Hatay province on the border with Syria.
Turkish television pictures showed the jet exploding and crashing in a ball of flames into a Syrian mountain. Turkish media said one pilot had been captured by rebel forces in Syria after both ejected by parachute while Syrian opposition sources said one was dead and another missing. Reports said two pilots had ejected from the plane and Turkish television pictures showed two white parachutes descending to the ground. Their fate was not certain. CNN-Turk said Syrian Turkmen forces fighting the Russian-backed regime of President Bashar al-Assad had captured one pilot. Syrian opposition sources meanwhile told AFP one pilot was dead, the second missing.
Putin & NATO’s reactions
Reacting to Turkey shooting down a Russian plane, President Vladimir Putin said that “Turkey is behaving as if Russia shot down the plane”, adding that the action would have serious consequences for Russia-Turkey relations. He claimed that large amounts of oil from militants in Syria go to Turkey and that neither Russian pilots nor their jets threatened the territory of Turkey. Putin says Turkey is trying to get NATO to back ISIS and accuses Erdogan of supporting the group.
With a major diplomatic crisis looming between two states on opposing sides in the Syria conflict, Russia angrily insisted its jet never had entered Turkish airspace. Putin said the plane fell in Syrian territory four kilometres from the border with Turkey and “did not in any way threaten Turkey”. The shooting down of the plane was “a stab in the back committed by accomplices of terrorists,” Putin said at a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Moscow. “Today’s tragic event will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations,” he warned.
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in Ankara, the world should know that Turkey would do “whatever is necessary” to guarantee the country’s security. “Everyone must know that it is our international right and national duty to take any measure against whoever violates our air or land borders,” he added.
With a major diplomatic crisis looming between two states on opposing sides in the Syria conflict, Russia insisted the jet was all the time inside Syrian airspace. At Ankara’s request, NATO allies will hold an “extraordinary” meeting to discuss the incident, an alliance official said. “NATO is monitoring the situation closely. We are in contact with Turkish authorities.”
The Turkomen Mountains region has been subjected to a government offensive over the past days under the cover of Russian airstrikes.
Historic Russo-Turkish rivalry
According to a 2013 BBC World Service poll, 30% of Turks view Russia’s influence positively, with 46% expressing a negative view. Starting in 1568, the Ottoman Empire’s support for smaller Turkic and Islamic vassal states in modern Russia brought the two empires into conflict. These increasingly went in Russia’s favour. By nineteenth century, Russia was helping Turkey’s Slavic and Christian minorities to revolt against Ottoman rule. The two empires fought each other for the last time during the First World War. However, by the end of the war both monarchies had been either overthrown, or defeated. The Soviet government headed by Vladimir Lenin, who emerged victorious from the Russian Civil War by 1921, viewed the Turkish revolutionary (national) movement under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal as friendly.
Later, Turkey feared Soviet invasion and sought aid from the United States and joined NATO in 1952. The USSR and Turkey were in different camps during the Korean War and throughout the Cold War. On the 24th of November 2015, Turkish F-16 combat aircraft shot down a Russian Su-24 during an airspace dispute close to the Turkish-Syrian border. Russian President Vladimir Putin described the incident as “a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists” and will have significant consequences including for relations between Russia and Turkey.
Following immediately after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, relations between the two nations dramatically and strongly improved; on May 25, 1992, a visit to Moscow by Turkish Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel saw the signing of a Russian-Turkish treaty on the foundations of their relations. Russia is somewhat sceptical of Turkey’s admission into the European Union which has the potential of damaging its relations with Turkey, but both countries are key strategic partners in the Transcaucasian region.
Ties made & unmade
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an flew to Sochi, Russia for a 16 May 2009 working visit with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at which he stated, “Turkey and Russia have responsibilities in the region. We have to take steps for the peace and well being of the region. Despite the disagreements of the past, relations between Turkey and Russia have improved and become exceptional under Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. In May 2010, a high level visit by the Russian President to Turkey saw the signing of numerous deals such as the lifting of visa requirements. Both countries have found a mutual interest in shoring up large investments between the two states, especially in the energy sector, where Russia has shown significant interest. Turkey and Russia also signed a $multi-billion nuclear deal which will be built by Russian company Atomstroyexport.
Finally, on the 24th of November 2015, shooting down of a Russian Su-24 by Turkish F-16 combat aircraft accelerated the bilateral tensions.
It appeared to be the first time a NATO member’s armed forces have downed a Russian or Soviet warplane since the 1950s.
NATO has called an emergency meeting over the incident, the first of its kind since Russia launched air strikes in Syria in September, to the consternation of the West. The presence of military aircraft from Russia, the USA, France, Turkey and a clutch of Gulf States in Syrian skies had long raised fears of an incident that could quickly escalate into a major diplomatic and military crisis.
It appears Turkey, former Ottoman Empire, is suspicious of Russian war in Syria and doubts if Moscow tries to weaken Turkey.
There is at least one country - more than the USA - that would feel happy about the looming Russo-Turkish tensions: that is obviously Israel.
The writer is an independent analyst contributing articles to many newspapers and journals on world politics; also the Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA); former university teacher; author of e-books and editor, foreign policy issues: Palestine Times. website: http://abdulruff.wordpress.com/emails email@example.com &firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: 91-8129081217